Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Subvertisers in London 2019
2. Cristina Lina / Contorno Urbano Foundation / 12+1 Project / Barcelona
3. Keith Haring: 4 Minute Mini Documentary.
BSA Special Feature: “Subvertisers in London 2019”
Sorry, nothing to sell here. Not what it’s about.
Few have demonstrated or practiced subvertising/culture jamming with such endurance as the folks profiled in this new mini-doc. The ever more popular street art activist practice of reclaiming public space from commercial interests is built on the premise that a consumer mindset is blind to the necessary fundamentals of civic life, or life. When you hear these nuanced discussions of legal and moral aspects of hi-jacking commercial signage you admit that it sadly reductivist to turn everything, including art, into merely a product for buying and selling.
“I always felt it as an aggression, as a violence. The fact that it is a visual violence does not make it less of a violence, because it imposes a certain idea of reality which I don’t feel is my own. When I realized that we could make something of our own, it gave me an idea of liberation” says a commentator as the video presents a blinking series of billboards, signs, and bus stops all around the city in constant succession.
Advertising itself is not the issue – everyone agrees that it has its place. The issue is when it wants to be in every place, public and private. At all times. More threatening, and more contemporary, is the consolidation of media/news companies, the re-writing of regulations, and the blunt force of capital that now uses these commandeered public spaces to “educate” the populace about policy – a thoroughly different form of “selling”. Do we all see where we are going with this?
Cristina Lina / Contorno Urbano Foundation / 12+1 Project / Barcelona
“This Spanish cat named Tommy looks like he could have belonged to Matisse, due to the overlapping abstract collage method, but British artist Christina Lina says he was her grandmother’s cat – so we guessed wrong,” we said the day we featured this new public mural she did with Contorno Urbano in Barcelona.
Keith Haring: 4 Minute
Giving a concise history that nonetheless mispronounces the name of the town the subject was born in, the narration has an affected sage tone that shoots for earnest profundity but settles for deadpan vocal fry. Delivery aside, it’s a quick primer of the career climb and cultural significance of the Street Artist Keith Haring that firmly addresses the significance of his role as an openly gay man and AIDS activist – especially at time when even most graffiti/Street Art peers and would-be fans were still homophobic and AIDS hysteria was at its peak .