Following a post around graffiti, I was lucky enough to gain contact with the artist and understand their feelings in relation to street art.Read More
One of the more obscure sights in Berlin, the Carillon is not just an obelisk in the midst of the Tiergarten, but one of the world's largest instruments.Read More
Now known as Rocket Tower Konferenz, the building was previously home to GSW, a company with deep roots in the reconstruction of the city following WWIIRead More
For almost 80 years the city of Berlin was been cast over by shadows, not living to its full potential. New buildings has brought growth to the city again.Read More
A surviving relic, starting with a piece of land being claimed by a Turkish immigrant led to a community landmark, lives on after 40 years.Read More
Most communist leaders or figures remain in a grey area around their memories. Ernst Thälmann, however, still features as a role model for some.Read More
Peter Fechter was the youngest known victim of the Berlin Wall. At the age of 18, his death is commemorated on Zimmerstrasse, Berlin.Read More
John Runnings was one of many whose actions sped up the falling of the Berlin Wall. He has been embodied in this sculpture by Stephan BalkenholRead More
In order to keep the rising tension between capitalism and communism equal during the Cold War, the Allied forces constructed West Berlin as the epitome of capitalist advancement and a stark contrast to countries in the Eastern Block. Isolated in the middle of East Germany, massive amounts of supplies were needed to keep the city vibrant with culture. A massive financial and human effort formed to provide an isolated city with new fashion, enough food and frequent transport links; the so-called Berliner Luftbrücke (Berlin Airlift). Bernar Venet’s sculpture immortalises this effort.
A seemingly solely artistic piece of work, but in reality shows a long standing political link between two neighbouring countries. The Arc de 124.5° was commissioned by the French government as a gift to Berlin on the city’s 750th anniversary, which fell in 1987, towards the end of the Berlin Wall being in effect. The reason for an arc being chosen is to represent the struggles the city had prevailed through at the time, as well as the arc of the flights used to provide for the city.
What is now referred to as the Berlin Airlift was the only way for the West side of the city to survive through the various East German blockades and notorious Berlin Wall, patrolled by the border guard of East Germany. The arc of the monument commemorates the prevailing forces of the West Berliners and the Allied forces protecting and supplying for the isolated half of the capital.
The sculpture stands towards the heart of what once was West Berlin, near the famous Kaufhaus Des Westens (KaDeWe), which was one of the many department stores that sold fashion and goods only found in West Berlin to bring exclusivity to the city. Peering into the area the sculpture not only brings with it curiosity but also a majestic feeling following the events the city has seen.
The mysteriousness of Bernar Venet’s piece brings curiosity in why it even exists, prompting those to research, learn and eventually feel proud of the efforts and eventual results of the Berlin Airlift. Although the sculpture is slowly being shrouded out by the surrounding trees and developing urban landscape, this only adds to the mystery of it and the lack of visual explanation.
In reference to last week’s post, the discussion will go further into what counts as vandalism, and what isn’t. The subject featured is one of Lincoln’s more prominent graffiti taggers, Juice. This artist has been the subject of many articles in the media and many incidents of vandalism. Police forces have gone as far as to ask for information in regard to this artist after larger stunts have taken place, in aid of finding them.
The scale of this artist’s graffiti is only shown in this post in its quainter form, however, some pieces have caused a serious dent in the taxpayer’s purse in their removal. Not only costly in a financial sense, but also in a serious aesthetic damage, with there have been some instances of the artist tagging noticeboards within one of Lincoln’s green areas; Hartsholme Park.
First of all, it should be said that this post is not condoning vandalism of public property, simply discussing the line between society’s idea of ‘art’ and ‘vandalism’, as the two are completely different things. The difference between the two can be hard to judge, with some likely to agree that all forms of graffiti on public property are vandalistic acts, whereas others might not have any problem to artwork being emblazoned on state owned, or even private, properties.
Juice seems to be an artist that either has little concept of private property, nor respect for it, or th opinion that their artwork takes a stronger priority over the cost of removing it. Street art, like any creative medium, has no rules, however, unlike others, it merges a canvas that has strong rules of ownership; property. It can be difficult to find out who owns what in ever growing cities, in particular when there are a multitude of owners; government, council, private owners or even letting agents.
Some are clearer than others, these being in smaller or simpler areas, such as the above. A pipeline crossing of a river, that is cordoned off and presumably only accessible by the local gas or water companies. In built up areas, it may be difficult to know if a park fence or wall is privately owned or state owned.
Why is this an issue though? Some artists, as seen in a previous post, may have preference to abandoned areas for ease of creating, or having respect for active properties. The above photography is within a privately owned car park, or the alleyway to a back entrance of it at least. Could this be argued to be in need of renovation or brightening up to avoid antisocial activity being prevalent? Or would artwork perform this renovating act?
Examples of artwork having a positive effect can be seen in the graffiti of Banksy, arguably the most prominent graffiti artist of recent times. His pieces have brought many to see the area, and rejuvenated the area. Another example being that of the Berlin Wall’s East Side Gallery. The area previously being a remnant of the divided city, and now attracting a large music venue, hotels and many office buildings in the last two decades.
Is there a correct place for graffiti in our society without adding more areas specifically for artists? Or is there a need for a state run division to clear up graffiti and vandalism? A lot of questions are being raised, and returning to the example used throughout this post, Juice is one of the many taggers breaching the gap of tagging both public and private property. Due to this, the artist has been dubbed as ‘notorious’ and a ‘culprit’, nothing that would be deemed as positive when reading further into media attention around them.
As stated before, some of this artist’s pieces cannot be condoned. Costing thousands to the taxpayer and causing damage to property is not something that anyone would like to experience in their lives. Contrasting this, some areas like the piece below can be seen alongside many other tags, bringing the question of; when does graffiti cross the line?
This question is individual to everyone, please feel free to express your opinion below in the comments. The government’s and council’s stance is quite clear in not allowing graffiti of any kind without the property owner’s opinion. From a more logical perspective though, if it is not causing physical harm to anyone or damage to functional property, then is it an issue?