Archive for the 'Stickin' it to the Man' Category

Proposal accepted

My proposal to give a paper at the international Arts in Society conference in Berlin in May 2011 was accepted.  Here ’tis. Other accepted proposals are here.

Backwoods in northern NY

Driving through some backwoods territory in northern NY this fall, I got a little lost and drove through Onchiota, where the Iroquois Six Nations Indian Museum is located (but unfortunately wasn’t open at the time).

Pretty tree near Onchiota

The six Iroquois nations include the Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Tuscarora.  I thought (mistakenly) that Mohawks made up the Haudenosaunee, but I learned in fact that Haudenosanee represents all six nations.  Now that I think about it, duh, Akwesasne is the term for what used to be called the St. Regis Mohawks near where I live.

There were a bunch of political signs along the road there, as well as this White House for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Bill and Hillary outhouse

Sometimes/all the time

“Sometimes the pencil is stronger than I am” is my favorite quote right now from an Inuit artist, Suvinai Ashoona.  I can kind of relate.  Sometimes stickers and street art have such a strong presence and force, stronger than me.  Well, not sometimes. All the time. I hope that’s not too weird.  I love the creativity, the hope, the commitment, the optimism.  That people will notice.  That people will care.

It’s a (Tea) Party

I’m heading to Boston today to visit sis #2 for a couple of days.  While there, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for anti-Tea Party stickers along what was then Griffin’s Wharf (now Independence Wharf at 470 Atlantic Avenue), the site of the historical Boston Tea Party.  Here is what it looks like now.

One could write a thesis on the irony of this.  Talk about taxation without representation.  Who paid for that?

On a related note, I found a great sticker in NYC last year with a picture of Sarah Palin and the phrase “Trojan Horse,” which will be scanned and posted soon.  Arianna Huffington described Palin as a “Trojan Moose Concealing Four More Years of Bush (September 8, 2008).


On the street and on FB.

“a healthy opposition to ideologies” (I miss my Dad today)

A link from Infoshop leads to a Web site called Little Black Cart, which is a combination blog and shopping cart for books, mags, ‘zines, etc.  Reading topics include: anarchism, communism, culture, green anarchy, situationist, insurrection, anarchy, autonomism, and surrealism.  Here is what they write about Situationists.

The Situationists (or Sits) were artists from various countries who formed a group in the 1950s called The Situationist Internationale. They critiqued modern society in its various economic, social, and political aspects. They wanted to bring Marxism up to date, to construct a theory of what was going on in society that was preventing people from being able to live fully and act freely. The result was a critique that centered around everyday life, rather than on abstract economic forces. The idea of the “Spectacle” (the empty roles and values and passive rituals that modern life both perpetuates and relies upon) was at the heart of this.

The Situationists were characterized by a healthy opposition to ideologies (if you think of ideologies as sets of ideas that people pledge allegiance to, stop thinking critically about, and only defend). As part of that opposition the Sits denied that there was such a thing as Situationism, doing their best to fight off the stultifying, paralyzing effects of dogma and the party line.

I think I got “a healthy opposition to ideologies” from my Dad, a Congregational minister who left the church to become a professor at a community college and a maximum security prison.  I remember him talking about why he left the church, in that he felt the church as an institution in general was heading in the wrong direction.  This was in the early 1970s during the height of the Vietnam War and civil rights movements.  He said that he felt he would be a better minister working with those from a disadvantaged working class and others who deserve equal opportunities in life.

Shepard Fairey, a RISD grad, quotes the Situationists as an influence in his own work as a street and sticker artist.  His Obey Giant campaign “manufactures quality dissent since 1989.”

I have come across a number of German stickers in the past five years that reflect Situationist perspectives, which will be the subject of one of my text panels for the upcoming exhibition at SLU, “Contemporary Street Art in Berlin as Cultural Expression and Political Protest.”  Quiet mornings are helping me formulate the exhibition in my mind, and I realized today that the subject headings in my sticker database will form a perfect framework for these text panels.

In the context of German street art, I’d say that anarchy is not about lawless chaos.  Rather, according the Oxford English Dictionary (via Wikipedia), it refers to “A social state in which there is no governing person or group of people, but each individual has absolute liberty (without the implication of disorder.)  But is bound by a social code.”

2010 World Cup

In the last week, der Spiegel has featured a couple of articles regarding the multicultural diversity represented in the German football team as it moves into the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup.  Eleven of the 23 team members are of immigrant descent.  The Turkish-born German Mesut Özil scored a winning goal in the recent match against Ghana, which is said to have caused a great deal of controversy for many in Germany.

Immigrants Defend the Flag while Left-Wing Germans Tear it Down (June 29)

An Inspiring New Face for Germany’s National Team (July 2)

Neo-Nazis Spurn Germany’s Diverse New National Team (July 2)

During my last two trips to Berlin, I’ve seen scores of stickers related to football ultras, i.e., hardcore fan clubs that express strong political stances left and right.  I’ve also included below a shot of handwritten graffiti “Freedom for Ultras” and “A.C.A.B.” (all cops are bastards).  Apparently A.C.A.B. is a popular punk chant at some football matches.  More reading for SK.



Flickr Photos

June 2020