Monday, February 23, 2009

GRAFFITI

the masque graffiti
I. Various graffiti found throughout L.A. punk club The Masque (1977-79):

KILL GOD!
The Doomed
The Metro Squad Stole From Arthur J.
Fuck a Dog—Statutory Rape
Eraserhead — ALRIGHT!
I love bondage by Marcy
I don't care if C. Loves Bruce, if you're happy, do it
White Dopes on Punk
Masque Confussion!
Punish or be Damned
Monitor—art rock
"The only way to escape horror is to bury yourself in it." Jean Genet
The Fucked
Rock Bottom's a faggot
Jerrys suck
Not all fags are wimps
DIE, NAZIS! Nope; not so simple.
Remember the Plungers
Crickets make tasty snacks for reptiles
The Germs are microscopics
Darby is microscopic
SHOCK
The Germs steal stuff
I Knew This Would Happen
Anarchy = Peace
Freedom is Loss
Let All the Poison that Lurks in the Mud pass out
Brainless Sten Guns in Bel Air
Blow God
Suicide Pole — Hit head here 50 MPH
Fear has only one homosexual — me, Derf Scratch
Punks Rule — fuck disco
Kay Oss
Kill the 70s
Sell out now!
Everything is wrong
Fuck punks
Kill yourself
Kill a pig
Kill Hippies
Long hair forever!
Peace, Pot and Microdots
No No No!
No Drugs No Pussy No Future No Bags
Quadraplegics Can't Masturbate
Barry Manilow was here
Quoth the Raven; "Nevermore!"
Mercy is 30 years old — ha ha!
WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO
Cal Worthington Was Here — He's a Commie!

* * *

II. Various graffiti found throughout Paris in the 50s and 60s, mostly inspired or made by the Situationist International:

NEITHER GODS NOR MASTERS
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO FORBID
DOWN WITH THE ABSTRACT, LONG LIVE THE EPHEMERAL
AFTER GOD, ART IS DEAD
I TAKE MY DESIRES FOR REALITY BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN THE REALITY OF MY DESIRES
LIVE WITHOUT DEAD TIME
BE REALISTIC - DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE!
DOWN WITH A WORLD WHERE THE GUARANTEE THAT WE WON'T DIE OF STARVATION HAS BEEN PURCHASED WITH THE GUARANTEE THAT WE WILL DIE OF BOREDOM
CLUB MED, A CHEAP HOLIDAY IN OTHER PEOPLE'S MISERY
DON'T CHANGE EMPLOYERS, CHANGE THE EMPLOYMENT OF LIFE
WE ARE ONLY CONCERNED WITH THE MOMENTS WHEN LIFE SHATTERS THE GLACIATION OF SURVIVAL
RUN, COMRADE, THE OLD WORLD IS BEHIND YOU!
CHANCE MUST BE SYSTEMATICALLY EXPLORED
BE CRUEL
THE BOSS NEEDS YOU - YOU DON'T NEED HIM
SHAKE IN YOUR SHOES BUREAUCRATS
THEY ARE BUYING YOUR HAPPINESS - STEAL IT BACK!
FORESTS CAME BEFORE MAN, THE DESERT COMES AFTERWARDS
NO REPLASTERING, THE STRUCTURE IS ROTTEN
THE MORE YOU CONSUME THE LESS YOU LIVE
IN A SOCIETY THAT HAS ABOLISHED ALL ADVENTURES, THE ONLY ADVENTURE LEFT IS TO ABOLISH SOCIETY
ALL POWER TO THE IMAGINATION!
HUMANITY WON'T BE HAPPY UNTIL THE LAST CAPITALIST IS HUNG WITH THE GUTS OF THE LAST BUREAUCRAT
NEVER WORK
UNDER THE PAVING STONES, THE BEACH!

never work graffiti guy debord situationist art ne+travaillez+jamais
arbeit macht frei concentration camp

7 comments:

Hectocotylus said...

(Along with the more obvious reasons, I also grouped the last two pictures together to showcase how the messages relate to their form. The first scribbled casually on a wall -- "Never work" -- soon to wear away. The second forged carefully in iron -- "Work brings freedom" -- still read by tourists visiting Dachau, Auschwitz, Terezín, etc.)

Hectocotylus said...

Clarification: The comparison I'm drawing between bathroom scribblings made by adolescents and Parisian graffiti lifted from Situationist texts is not one of quality or maturity... Besides, some of The Masque graffiti is good too, just in a different way. (Or all of it, really, if you take it together as a cohesive statement or feeling). As The Germs drummer Don Bolles once said: "The Masque had the best graffiti I've ever seen, hands down. Not very artistic, but scathing and absurd..."

aurelio said...

Hectocotylus,

...that you chose to include the "Arbeit Macht Frei" quote is intriquing. Of course there is something deeply cynical about the Nazi's use of the phrase, since most people were not leaving alive, nor were they given freedom, unless you read death as fredom from the hellish slavery the inmates were subjected.
...without the Nazi context (if that's at-all possible) there is some wisdom to the phrase, we do have to work to get what we want out of life, in order to create a better life for ourselves & others, hence a greater freedom, autonomy, &c.
I've always been affected by this particular phrase & it reminds me of the Latin motto of Zeeland in the Netherlands: Luctor et Emergo (struggle & Arise). considering all this, I'm still not convinced we cannot unlock it from its connection to the death-camps, the phrase will be eternally incarcerated, wanting freedom...

aurelio

Hectocotylus said...

It's interesting to think about how much context can alter meaning. I remember hearing Jello Biafra speak at a conference about how sick and betrayed he felt when he heard a Stooges song being played during a car commercial. Everything The Stooges once stood for, everything they meant to him as a teenager growing up, was instantly vaporized. The Stooges were acceptable; the Stooges were now selling cars.

I agree that "Arbeit Macht Frei" is probably forever doomed to conjure up Nazis but to me there is a bit of an authoritarian ring to the phrase all by itself, so I don't lament its imprisonment. It's good advice when "work" means "effort" (or something similar), but so often "work" really means working for someone else. Whose freedom do most people spend their lives working towards? Their bosses early retirement. Also, even in the context of concentration camps there is some wisdom to the saying. In a prison system, what else but labor can keep one sane?

All of this has prompted me to look up the history of the phrase. Wikipedia tells me that "Arbeit Macht Frei" was chosen by the Weimar Republic to end unemployment but also to mock the medieval slogan "Stadtluft macht frei" - City air makes you free - which refers to serfs who would venture into cities and become untraceable to their masters. "It was customary law that a city resident was free after one year and one day, after this he could no longer be reclaimed by his employer and thus became bound to the city."

aurelio said...

Hectocotylus:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_512VEbm7xB0/SXnBk_7DhrI/AAAAAAAATvc/AeB-_rD7Qk0/s1600-h/21.jpg
(cut-n-paste this link into your browser for a hectocotylus pic) I know you know what one looks like, I'm simply getting a deeper view.

..on the phrase, thank you for the continuation of the thought & I agree that working for someone else, isn't always liberating, fun, rewarding or positive for that matter. Since it is a necessity for most, the question remains (for me): How do we find the good within it? How are we enlightened in our daily lives?

This history of the phrase is also something new to me & it makes sense that it was used also in depression era Weimar Republic & even further back into the 19th century. There is also the (Nazi)use of the phrase "Jedem das Seine," (to each his own) in the camps. Perhaps refering to the sick idea that the Jews "derserved" their fate. Ugh, yuck...the propganda of hatred.

On a lighter note, I have tried to click on your e-mail link (on your profile) & I can't access it. I want to ask if you would be interested in writing as a guest blogger on my blog (?). I love your style of writing & your choice of subject matter & I think you & I can figure something out.

My e-mail address is: aurliomadrid@yahoo.com

Thank you,
aurelio

p.s. "The End of Solitude," By WILLIAM DERESIEWICZ was a fine read & here I am, striving for yet another connection, my miniature-fame.

aurelio said...

...sorry, that's:
aureliomadrid@yahoo.com

(it's getting late & I've been writing all night)

Hectocotylus said...

Auschwitz ‘Work Sets You Free’ sign stolen