i usually limit my public political commentary to nodding along to marty mars, scott hamilton and will de cleene. i tend to feel i do not know enough to comment just yet. however the attack on non-sponsored street art in auckland has gotten me pissed off enough to speak up.
for background, the new mayor of auckland has ‘declared war’ on graffiti, which if taken in the context of image 1 seems understandable. i can also understand the general dislike of ‘tagging’, writing one’s name with permanent marker on walls and windows, or any surface that will hold it. what i cannot understand is how a reasonable person could replace the awesome piece at poynton terrace (image 2) with the ugly characterless green of image 3, and call that an improvement. this really does take bureaucratic idiocy to a new level. while i guess it is too much to expect them to see the beauty of bus-seat tags, is it possible that they cannot appreciate the skill and artistry of pieces that give so much character to auckland?
but when i think again, this is not about graffiti at all, nor is it about cleaning up for the rugby world cup. it is about authority. it is about telling the city that there is a new alpha dog in town, and no one else can mark territory. sometime ago, during an argument at work, i was told “i don’t care what is fair or not, just do what i tell you to!”. and that’s how it is with authority and those that would wield it…nothing else matters. not fairness, not beauty, not reason, not imagination and definitely not individuality or a departure from the dictated norm.
bugger all that.
but i have much hope in guerilla warfare. while i do not have the skills to make this city’s streets look better than len brown’s destructive territory-marking, i know there are those that do (like the good people at street arse where i heard of this story and got image 3 from). and much power to them. in good darwinian tradition, when the conditions become hard to handle, evolve.
UPDATE: the poynton terrace piece seems to have gotten a lot of people pissed! this write was all over twitter, and mayor len brown has responded saying he will look into it. apparently askew had permisson to do this.
no luck i guess for the guys who did the piece in the onehunga library/community centre parking lot. covered with ugly grey-green paint too. though good, that was probably not ‘sanctioned’, and is unlikely to get any apology from the mayor. ah well.