Playing with Swords in the Streets

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

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Public art is a way of deepening that space.

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Jena, Germany

Artists are sly, though, either in graffiti …

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Graffiti Screening, Tagging its Tagging, Weimar, Germany

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

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

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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.

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

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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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