Friday, April 25, 2014

Failed Management Plans

The Melbourne City Council's Graffiti Management Plan has been working really well. So much has changed. And of course it needed to because they conducted research and "community consultation": "which revealed that most people do not like graffiti ‘tagging’ (person writing their graffiti name or ‘tag’ on a wall with marker or paint). However, many people appreciate ‘street art’ such as larger, more artistic pieces, or murals placed in appropriate locations with the required permission.".  

For decades bright ideas for the management of the public blight that is graffiti have tried and failed world over. For sure, there is a cultural bleaching going on. But it is due to 1: the mainstreaming of graffiti and 2: the gentrification of previously undesired inner suburbs. Orange oil and policy have not assisted this bleaching at all.  

When Yarra Council began re-shaping it's own management plans  in 2012  Images To Live By aptly raised concerns for the area's vitality. I liked one comment by a reader that the reason "aesthetic cleanliness" is an issue for some people is that it "challenges their idea of ownership".  

There is bloody good reason to fear the desire for management, cultural uniformity and nice stuff. If you want a great opinion on the slow death of graffiti in New York, the birthplace of the old school, I encourage you to read the Vice article KOMP-LAINTDEPT.WHY. I HATE. GRAFFITI. 

Assuming, as I hope, that graffiti never dies, if there ever is actual consultation with artists and locals (in any graffiti hub in the world) I would like to think that it would reveal "that when conservatives from suburbia visit the cool places they like looking at mediocre reflections of their limited notions of art".

Do we need to get vocal about the constant desire of those with no clue to white wash anything that is diverse and interesting? Personally I don't think we should keep telling these morons that the ones doing the nice stuff also tag, and do the illegal stuff, and some of the commissioned work is actually really shit, trite, unimaginative and unrepresentative of the who is shaping this avant-garde street zeitgeist. It is getting boring.

Besides, luckily, at least for now, it seems to me that the taggers are just giving the haters the Bird anyway.