Williamsburg Graffiti War Rages On; Dadaist Manifesto as Rationale for Destruction
The ongoing battle of street artists for presence on North 6th Street between Wythe and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg took a peculiar turn Tuesday night. You might recall an earlier post about a locally-celebrated Banksy work being rolled over, then replaced with a pair of classic Faile stencils.
Wednesday, neighbors awoke to find that virtually all the block's 'wall art' - including a commercially-commissioned Dewars Scotch ad - had been attacked by methodiacally splashed-on purple and teal paint.
The rather comprehensive Jackson Pollack treatment is explained in a pair of typewritten manifestos, prominently wheatpasted to a bright-green wall that regularly hosts a rotating gallery of Faile pasteups:
ART: THE EXCREMENT OF ACTION
A Dadaist once smashed a clock, dipped the pieces in ink, pressed the ink-soaked pieces against a sheet of paper and had it framed. His purpose was to criticize the modernist idealization of efficiency. Rather than inspiring the widespread smashing of clocks and the reevaluation of time in society, the piece of paper has become a sought-after commodity. The production of a representative organ (the ink-imprinted paper) for the action (the smashing of the clock) guaranteed this outcome. Like an idealistic politician, the piece of paper, despite its creator’s intent, can only represent, and it is for this reason that it instantly became a fetishized object segregated from the action. Only in a culture obsessed with its own excrement are the by-products of action elevated above action itself.
Representation is the most elemental form of alienation. Art as representation is no exception. It is just another means by which our perceptions and desires are mediated. Art is the politician of our senses: it creates actors and an audience, agents and a mass. True creativity is the joyful destruction of this hierarchy; it is the unmediated actualization of desires. The passion for destruction is a creative passion. We are all capable of manifesting our desires directly, free of representation and commodification. We will continue manifesting ours by euthanizing your bourgeois fad.
WARNING: THE REMOVAL OF THIS DOCUMENT COULD RESULT IN INJURY, AS WE HAVE MIXED THE WHEATPASTE WITH SHARDS OF GLASS.
Take that, Tommy Dewar...
Being an edutainment blog, imnotsayin did some research - so you can save time and focus on what's really important: the pictures!
Here's our best analysis: the Dadaists are an anti-art, anti-culture movement that originated in WWI Switzerland. That classic image of the Mona Lisa with a moustache and goattee penciled in? You guessed it: Dadaist. Their deal? They mock the status-quo and live in the moment.
The Manifesto appears inspired by an essay penned by contemporary British novelist Jeannette Winterson. Her Product is the Excrement of Action rails against the societal infatuation with productivity - our modern compulsion to consider the physical output and tangible results/rewards of all our actions in life, rather than just "living our dreams". She specifically references art and artists in the piece:
Artists suffer from this tendency most of all; for their vocation itself depends on making products out of the raw material of real-life experience.Are the Williamsburg Dadaists, in paint-splashing Faile's comparitively formulaic and commoditized pasteups and stencils acting for actions' sake and 'living in the moment', railing against their contemporaries' need for physical evidence of their achievement?
Or are they guilty of leaving behind their own excrement?
Dadaism: Flickr Photoset
Previous 'Graffiti War' Post
Dadaists: Wikipedia entry
CrimethInc. - post-punk face of the Dadaists
Jeannette Winterson: Product is the Excrement of Action