visual communication practice
Description of idea
Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the
Tag Clouds principle is to replace the all-over of graffiti calligraphy by readable translations like the clouds of keywords which can be found on the Internet.
It shows the analogy between physical tag and virtual tag, both in the form (tagged walls compositions look the same as tag clouds), and in substance (like keywords which are markers of net surfing, graffiti are markers of urban drifting).
Since I was a teenager in 1996, and read Norman's Mailer theory and investigation about "the Faith of graffiti", I was always convinced that writing nicknames was more interesting to learn about how unhabitants are living in the city and making it alive – like wild grass.
The power of users, their expertise about territory talks about freedom – urbanity, when the power of city council and expertise of architects projects is about control – urbanism.
All the idea of Tag Clouds came from the envy not to be focused on the decorative part of graffiti – saying like neophyte and authority that simple signatures are visual pollution, and complex colored letters are artistic expressions.
As if tagging the city was about freedom, and drawing decorative letters about control. I wanted to find a project that will turn "ugly tags" into something "beautifull", but conserving the subersive part of langage distorsion.
What kind of communication approach do you use?
This is viral / mimetic communication inspired by graffiti practice. It's related to idea of turning traces of passage from graffiti writers community into something poetic and understandable by everyone.
Graffiti writers conserve their presence in a way of pure ego. But the form goes typographic and lose all its alterity – so writers can figure that it's like a kind of institutionalisation of their subersive gesture where their visual noise is rejected by common people – even by me as a kind of cultural smuggler. They could understand this translation gesture as a refusal, as if handmade expression where not allowed to be here, in the city.
And in the same time, I'm acting like any graffiti writer, creating something coherent from chaos, as if I was making some kind of artwork with spray cans ordered by the owner who can stand those tags upon his wall. But Tags Clouds is not so decorative, in fact it makes graffiti more intrusive. Ego noises filter directly to readers brain. Like annoying sounds that you hear by walking, it's meaningless in itself, but contextually speaking about city experience and territory reading.
What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of
Tag Clouds also give access to the content of graffiti nicknames, sometimes meaningless, sometimes poetic. The benefits is about future appreciation of graffiti writing. "Street Art" term seems to have been appropriated by Mass Media in order to tolerate and recognize graphic forms acting like viral marketing. In deed so called "Street Art" is a way for Power to condamned all none artistically recognisable forms of discours in the city. Spontaneous graffiti writing became the ugly duck of art in the city. With Tag Clouds the idea is to make a tribute to spontaneous writing, in order that unhabitants accepts its visual presence by reading it.
What did you personally learn from creating your submitted
The funny part of this action is that people generally do not take time to really look to those calligraphy because most of them are influenced by the vision of mass media or city council against graffiti writing. During the translation I realize that people could find interest in reading graffiti calligraphies ; they were curious that someone who didn't look like the image they had of a graffiti writer could read it, pay attention and make them appreciate this urban phenomenon.
I was surprised that they didn't see this operation as something more intrusive or agressive than the real calligraphy, because they were facing to pure ego of writers without artistical part of calligraphy.
But the most interesting reaction is the one from the writers themselves.
On one hand, some of them really appreciate the idea because they didn't felt offensed by my action. They liked the idea that after covering all the hall of fame, people could read still and easily their name instead of the classical decoration graffiti fresco covering those kind of vandal tags.
On the other hand, some of them wrote as if the nicknames translated were not real writers name. They didn't show respect about the basic rules of graffiti practice : don't write over another writer's name.
Why is your work, GOOD communication
Because it make citizen think and question about a practice which is condamned by society. As anti-graffiti posters said in the early 80's in USA. "Make your mark in society. Not on society."
Tag clouds does both. Make marks ON society appreciate IN society.
Where and how do you intent do implement your
Tag Clouds is only meaning something in context.
I just have to find a wall covered with graffiti writing.
Them sometimes I ask the autorisation to the owner, sometimes not.
Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe
the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change
other media with your work-
Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›
Turning graffiti hall of fame into tag clouds
Concept author year(s) of birth
Concept author(s) contribution
Author of concept and realisation, as graffiti writer and as artist.
visual communication practice
I'm acting in urban spaces most of the time. Murals, installations, hijackings which depends to the context. When I have to exhibit it most of times I use polaroids and videos â€“ sometimes hijacked object / tools for themselves. Here is a small text from my portfolio Â« Mathieu Tremblin implements graphic processes of intervention inspired by anonymous, autonomous and spontaneous practices and expressions in urban space in order to question the systems of legislation, representation and symbolization of the city. Â»