artists projects

Street Writing Observatory

By Mute All Stars, 22 February 2012
Image: Fuck May 68 Fight Now

A collective photo project by the Mute Allstars


Image: Anonymous Hackney Council Election Poster*, May 2006. Note that market-'social' housing 'rent convergence' was already established Labour policy. 'A cleaner greener Hackney = no more dirty poor people' was reused, e.g. when serving a giant ASBO on Jules Pipe and Ken Livingstone at the opening of the regenerated Gillett Square as 'Dalston's Covent Garden'.
*The hanged fat bellies are the Hackney council symbol.



Image: Anonymous, 'Creative Hackney, Great Place to Live-Work and GET SHOT,. The 'Get Shot' phrase comes from a police gun amnesty campaign, the rest is generic for Hackney c.2004-6. Real estate spokesthings were complaining that 'fear of crime' was the one thing keeping the young and aspirational out (or less overwhelmingly than they already were). Much of the resulting attempt to play on this fear was scrawled directly on to walls: 'Luxury Apartments for Crime Victims Opening Soon' etc, plus simple & accurate predictions of the near future: 'Debtors Prison Opening Soon' on high-end developments.



Image: 'I am not paying' Syntagma Square. 2011. The images of Greek graffiti in this article and in issue 2 volume 3 of Mute Magazine were assembled and in some cases photographed by Natasha Fragkou for her 2011 MA dissertation on the spatial politics of street writing in Exarchia, Athens.



Image: "I wish you a successful career, unemployable graduate!" written on a placard placed on the plinth of a statue of W.E. Gladstone, benefactor of Greece, University of Athens 2007.



Image: "Don't think about it. Occupation forever". Athens



Image: Eine, London Riot, Grafitti on Hackney Road London



Image: For a while, Shoot the Freak was a weird Coney Island landmark. Located in a vacant lot on the boardwalk, near the now defunct Astroland amusement park, anyone could pay $5 and shoot paintballs at a live human being. Sadly, this metaphor for so much in New York lost its license late in 2010.



Image: Like so many other cities, Copenhagen has been subject to the logic of capital through an immense campaign of privatisation, gentrification and normalisation. The symbolic epicentre of these conflicts has been the empty lot where the Youth House, an autonomous squat, stood prior to its eviction and demolition in March 2007. 



Image: Defaced vacant-lot mural after it had been defaced by paint bombs on the night of its completion.



Image: In July 2011, the Copenhagen Municipality commissioned a commercial street artist (no name mentioned) to paint the wall facing the lot, in an attempt to rebrand the site an cover up another injustice. On the night of its completion, the painting was defaced and days later the artist was beaten up. Both the destruction of the mural and the act of violence was widely condemned. But how can direct action take form under the regime of capital? From an aesthetic point of view, one must admit that there is a certain resemblance between a mural destroyed by paint bombs, a battered eye on a hipster and a broken storefront window.



Image: Anonymous, 'Merry Crisis and a Happy New Fear', Exarchia, Athens, 2010



Image: Anonymous, "Rob Me", written on the shutter of a bank, Athens, 2011



Image: Anonymous, 'We Will Eat the Bourgeoisie Boiled', Slogan wrritten outside the luxurious hotel Grande Bretagne in Parliament Square, Athens, 2009.



Image: Anonymous, 'Fuck May 68, Fight Now' Exarchia, Athens



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