Bedridden as I’ve been with pain, I’m stuck with a view of my cluttered room to my right and apartment buildings directly in front and to the right. The buildings to the right, however, have been augmented with graffiti. Most of it is written in white spray paint: initials, names, the bubble- and jagged-letter signatures of writers who somehow managed to reach these heights or write upside down. The building owners probably think of it as an eyesore, but I think it’s a gorgeous way. The writing, the positioning, and the size and style reveal aesthetic and political choices. Why these buildings? Why these locations? Why predominantly names?
Is it enough of an answer to say that my neighborhood has been a prime location for gentrification? That young people actively resent the closing of local mom-and-pop shops and what they perceive as the irrevocable alteration of quintessential Harlem? That the chosen placement of the tags heightens their visibility?
tl;dr, ITT I attempt to forge my scattered brain cells into a single unit capable of cogent thought, thereby relate graffiti and graffiti-writing practices as a metaphor for online defacement, and consider the ramifications of such an analogy.Continue reading