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Street & Gallery

On BSA Film Friday

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The punk rock connection to graffiti is as strong as any subculture’s — or of any people who feel marginalized in effect or practice by the dominant culture preventing their voice. The narrative the graffiti belonging exclusively to Hip Hop has been posited and disproved over time although as Jesus said, “Graffitti belongs to everyone.”

Modern French academics and intellectuals have celebrated graffiti and Street Art by way of political protest at least since the late 1960s and early 70s, first with the Situationists and later with the aesthetics and artistry of people like Ernest Pignon-Ernest and Gérard Zlotykamien.

In “Street & Gallery” we see that the need for expression, illegal and otherwise, is as urgent as ever in the Street Art scene in Rome today and for many it is a means to express opinions and philosophies that they hope will in turn push greater society forward in some way. For others it is simply to fight the stagnation.

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Billed as an “unofficial video” by Dioniso Punk, the short documentary takes you into the kitchen and studio and gallery and street as a variety of artists, academics, vegetable vendors and philosophers narrate the pragmatic and the existential. Call it activism, call it a yearning for freedom, call it being generally pissed off at instititutional inertia — the spirit of graffiti and its multiple urban art corollaries will not die. Either will arena rock and roll, despite early punk’s best wishes.

Interesting to note that the globalization of capital has not globalized all banks accounts and has thrust the xenophobia of the Italian middle class into a harsh light here, as it has elsewhere in so-called developed countries. Here we see a modern Italy struggling with ideological self-beliefs about justice and equality and wondering how they apply to a new immigrant class who has no interest in their cogitations. Moving from the educated class studio environment, the trained artist suddenly finds a social/political role, and for the first time perhaps contemplates it. Meanwhile, many in the street have never seen the inside of a studio and have a slightly different take on the state of things. Let the conversation continue.

Thanks to Brooklyn Street Art

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