Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Belmont Tunnel May Be Tagged as a Landmark

The Los Angeles times reports that an Old Tunnel May Be Tagged as a Landmark. This dovetails nicely with my interest in abandoned urban architecture and relics of public transportation.

The article reminds me of a great documentary I saw once: Style Wars. Style Wars examines the problematic nature of graffiti. Is it tagging, painting, or vandalism? The question of tagging vs. bombing also comes up. There was one "artist" who did nothing but paint over the works of others. I think he was known as "Seen." He was in direct contrast to the "bombers" who would spend hours painting over an entire subway car, creating a work that used the whole canvas of stainless steel.

That New York is gone now. The best the young punks can come up with these days is "scratchitti," were they scratch their tags into the plexiglass windows of the subway cars. The subway system developed a coating for the cars that made painting them impossible.

From IMDB.com

User Comments:

(jorel845@hotmail.com)
nyc

Date: 31 January 2001
Summary: Amazing Documentary

This documentary on subway graffiti in New York City in the early 1980s had it all: it was beautifully shot, had a great soundtrack, and captured the essence of what was going on in the city after the 70s and under the regime of Mayor Kotch. The best thing about this documentary is how it can be studied on so many levels- it makes you realize why "bombing" is done and what it accomplishes. It helps you understand the psychological reasoning behind it, and how it plays on human character traits such as territorial rights, pursuit and the need for recognition. It shows how graffiti had a strong impact on society, and how it tore some homes apart. A must see- plus a great representation of early hip hop music and style. Love those TWAs! (Teeny Weeny Afros!) 9 out of 10.
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