Video of the Week XIV: Free Avone

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…


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