Playing with Swords in the Streets

Graffiti is a way of opposing the affront of buildings closing off the open space of the street.


Public art is a way of deepening that space.


Jena, Germany

Artists are sly, though, either in graffiti …


Graffiti Screening, Tagging its Tagging, Weimar, Germany

… or in public art. Look at the resistance in this girl’s face.


The explosion of graffiti in the former East Germany didn’t come from nowhere. Here’s some in Riesa.


That’s the earth on a pedestal, the anchor for a scale model of the solar system spreading through the stalinist apartment blocks of soviet-era Riesa, once a garden city on the Elbe River. The beer in the back is the sly quote. Here’s Weimar again.


The holes in this screen (to protect tourists from unsettling images) show graffiti’s nature as an extension of the human arm and will:


Sword cuts. It’s not as violent as it appears. If the screen were removed completely, the art, and the real message of belonging, which it carries, unworded, would be lost.

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