28 January 2008

Reverse Graffiti

I originally found this video via a bizarre (and random) trivia blog. So, check that out, too.

Reverse graffiti is basically cleaning dirt and grime off of a surface in such a way to create a picture. Like all those people that write "clean me" on dirty car windows, except for imagery. The genius of it is that it's not really vandalism -- the artist is selectively cleaning a surface that the local government otherwise has neglected. Suddenly, authority types are forced to do their jobs and take care of public spaces, but are they doing it to suppress art or are they doing it to be responsible and clean up their mess?

This video is clever. I found it oddly provocative and moving, too. It helps that it's shot and edited well and has cool music. It brings up all sorts of issues about not only art, but the use of public spaces, and the relationships between neighborhoods, their inhabitants, and their governments. On a separate note, comedy has certainly found a home in online video like YouTube, etc... will more dramatic stuff ever find a footing? Or are videos like this just one-off novelties, the rare non-comedy to gain a viral audience?

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