Graffiti as culture jamming
For some reason, society accepts corporations print marketing on a massive scale all over it’s cities. It would seem if you have money you can not only put up your own visual ideas but do it in neon, put up floodlights, cameras, build parking lots, saturate television, print, web anything you want.
Go to any city street anywhere and you are instantly greated with a sea of brand x and brand y’s visual print media marketing campaigns, everyone of them employing psychological techniques specifically intended to play on human emotions so as to increase company sales. The streets are a wash with impact colors action slogans, power messages, neon lights, leds, digital signage and all manor of visual noise.
And it seems there isn’t really much of a gap between what the advertiser’s wants to say and the collective society, sure there are organizations in place to supposedly police the nature of the content but they would be faced with multi-million dollar advertising spends not to mention the amount of information that they would have to shift through.
An example of a society backlash against the mass marketing machine was in early 2000’s when people discovered that the Ipod came with a nonuser replaceable battery and the only way to replace it was to buy a whole new device. There was a massive public reaction. I remember seeing defaced posters as it was the publics way of getting a message back to the corporation (or other people in the community) via the companies own marketing material. As the company itself was far away people reacted against the only thing that was available– the posters.
What interests me about the potential for the next wave of digital graffiti and culture jamming is that the argument of “defacing” a public space will be removed… Digital tools – projectors, laptops lcd screens are all transient and not designed to be permanent so it will become a question of who has the right to put what message where, and why. Technology will enable people to speak there own message (or affect others) on a mass digital scale. Graffiti will no longer be limited to just paint.