Video of the Week XIV: Free Avone

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Here is a concept, as presented by Graffiti Research Lab, that I quite enjoy. Of course, it isn’t exactly original, and Wellington architecture has seen its fair share of projected imagery, from the poppies on parliament by our own RSA to  body moving at Te Papa. Thus, I guess it must be the ever so slight frisson of illicitness that makes this seem more enticing – and, perhaps, the real-time spontaneity and the awareness that for your audience, this is a also a spontaneous urban intervention – not one that is scheduled in your summer city calendar between the Teddy Bear’s Picnic and the Beat Girls performing at the Dell. There is potential here to really say/achieve something however, and that is the motive behind GRI, who want to provide graffiti artists with the tools that would allow them to compete with corporate advertisers to get their message across. Somehow I think the bicycle mounted virtual spray can won’t replace the real bomb anytime soon…

The blurb that accompanies this video is an attempt to raise money to free Avone – a conventional graffiti artist, whose more indelible traces have seen him at risk of incarceration. It isn’t perhaps the most sensational of the GRL interventions, so I recommend browsing their site for other works, but this is a good example of their set-up in action.

But one question that this raises, especially in light (no pun) of Avone’s predicament, is the value of temporary graffiti – is it selling out to ‘the man’ – the law-abiders’ antidisestablishmentarianism? In its lack of indelible effacement does it miss the opportunity to really leave a mark (so to speak)?

I’d be keen for a system that could burn its projected image onto the facade of the building – in the right hands this could dress up some of the blandness that presents itself to our streets…

m-d


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