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It's A Pity Only Security See Our Graffiti
December 22, 2012 3:50 PM   Subscribe

As happens all over the world regularly, one night a team of artists got together to paint some art on the sides of trains. This group, however, used their naked bodies... and a fire extinguisher. (SLVimeo, NSFW, via Common Folk Collective.)
posted by knile (44 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I really don't ahhh know what to make of that, though I laughed laughter from deep within, so there's that?
posted by roboton666 at 3:57 PM on December 22, 2012


It's A Pity Only Security See Our Graffiti

Oh, don't worry. A team of minimum-wage janitors will spend a couple of hours cleaning up the paint you sprayed and tracked all over the maintenance facility before they try to cram their usual cleaning duties in the remainder of their shift. So it's not a total loss.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:58 PM on December 22, 2012 [63 favorites]


I must be old because all I see of the final product is a big ugly mess that someone had to be paid to clean up. Yay, they made a doody that someone else had to clean up after them.

There's plenty of artistic graffiti out there, but this seems on the same level as asshole taggers scrawling their names on some homeowners wall because they can.
posted by aspo at 4:02 PM on December 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, gotta go with the "nice job, idiots" angle on this one. Doesn't do anything, add anything, or say anything except "HERF DERF WE'RE NAKED WITH PAINT SPRAYERS" and some poor fucker is going to have to clean all that up and someone else may get fired.

FAIL.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:03 PM on December 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Man 1: Hm, what to do with all this paint now that we've huffed it?
Man 2: I KNOW!
posted by obscurator at 4:05 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Art knows no reason.
posted by Max Power at 4:07 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's A Pity Only Security See Our Graffiti

its a pity this is a part of the reason fares go up.

There is a cost associated with this you know.
posted by lampshade at 4:07 PM on December 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Art knows no reason.

There are a lot of things that know no reason. Many of them are not art.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:09 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Art knows no reason.

wallets do though.
posted by lampshade at 4:11 PM on December 22, 2012


So this is Vienn's S-Bahn?
posted by Jehan at 4:17 PM on December 22, 2012


I really liked the song; you can listen to it here without watching the NSFW video, if so inclined.
posted by dubold at 4:20 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Art knows no reason

But not all unreasonable things are art ...

I sure hope the justice system there includes the provision for such penalties as making those assholes clean this mess up. (Preferably the same way they created it - by doing the wiping with their bodies ... and a nice strong solvent ...)
posted by woodblock100 at 4:23 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Color me unimpressed.
posted by Pudhoho at 4:32 PM on December 22, 2012


But not all unreasonable things are art ...

"Is it Art?" isn't always a useful question.

It's worth asking "Is this Art any good?".
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:35 PM on December 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


artists vandals
posted by fritley at 4:39 PM on December 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well actually my reaction is more complicated than that. I enjoyed seeing the naked guys. I also liked some of the results, where they made freeze-frames of person shapes in one color over another. If they had done it on a huge canvas to display somewhere, it would be really neat. If they found a way to do the actual performance art in a way that people could enjoy, instead of criminally causing an unholy mess that needs to be cleaned up, it would be even better.

But the way they chose to do it is just another case of us not being able to have nice things.
posted by fritley at 4:45 PM on December 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Color me unimpressed.

You're just saying that because you're wearing clothes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:59 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


needs a bigger brush
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:16 PM on December 22, 2012


What a bunch of entitled pricks.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:28 PM on December 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jerks. Not artists.
posted by parki at 5:40 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pricks, I saw those clearly. But entitled? How so?

Any way, the still image that Vimeo shows you before you play the video reminded me of prehistoric hand silhouettes (source page). The video kind of ruined that impression, but it's interesting to see graffiti that isn't a personal or group tag.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:41 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a bunch of entitled pricks.

I can see their entitlements all too plainly too.

Early in the thread, but I expected some support.
I hope they went back to help clean up.
posted by Mezentian at 5:45 PM on December 22, 2012


The missing five minutes of this video I would have *loved* to see was their own personal graffiti cleanup crew that followed behind them. That I could get behind. Of course, they'd also have to manage to cleanup inside some of the trains, as I noticed at least one window was down.

Which gets me to thinking: What if, in addition to this video, they had filmed themselves in some other part of the city cleaning up tags/graffiti? Is there some amount of cleanup they could have done preemptively that would make this less terrible? Like, "Hey, we cleaned up 200 meters of wall and graffitied 100 meters, so we're net positive." Do people do that?
posted by funkiwan at 5:50 PM on December 22, 2012


I've never heard of people doing that, but not sure if it would make the cleaners feel any better.
posted by arcticseal at 6:35 PM on December 22, 2012


My four-year-old could do that. In fact, he would love to do that. But not on trams.

It's kind of a pity they couldn't been more focused and covered up some concrete somewhere.
posted by carter at 6:36 PM on December 22, 2012


I'm no graffiti expert but I think some of ya'll are missing the point.

Aren't a lot of these trains cleaned automatically as they enter/exit work yards? That's why "no one but security" sees their painting. Graffiti writers have always documented their stuff by taking photos, but now the buffing is so aggressive it's the only proof they have of what they've done.

Seems like this group has responded to the graffiti crackdown with a conceptual escalation: if no one ever sees anything but photographs and videos of your work on the internet, then maybe the painting isn't the important part anymore. Maybe now it's about the performance.

I think the reason people are hating on this is because this video isn't a message to them, it's a message to other graffiti artists.
posted by bradbane at 6:53 PM on December 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


> I think the reason people are hating on this is because this video isn't a message to them, it's a message to other graffiti artists

I'm one of the people who hates this and thinks these guys are assholes for creating a mess that other people are going to have to clean up -- an unpleasant job -- and even more people are going to have to pay for. What's the message they're attempting to send?
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:57 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Try a form of expression that doesn't force others to clean up after you. It's rather basic.
posted by parki at 7:02 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


"...one night a team plague of artists got together..."
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:16 PM on December 22, 2012


I'm sorry; the song they recorded to accompany this video is so amazing it makes up for any unfortunate consequences of their actions. :)
posted by garethspor at 7:28 PM on December 22, 2012


WTF is wrong with people? This isn't art. It's a bunch of idiots doing the equivalent of eating live goldfish or stealing cars on a dare.
posted by DisreputableDog at 8:59 PM on December 22, 2012


There are so many blank ugly walls the trains pass. They could have brightened the ride for people on the trains! Unimaginative.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:01 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyday I walk around my classroom to straighten the tables and put the chairs up so the custodian can sweep the floor more easily. While doing this I can't help but note the pieces that have begun. Some require immediate attention, so I get the spray bottle and rag. I don't remove them all though, because some pieces I've watched develop over time because they're interesting and good. The "good" pieces make me smile, either because I recognize the artist, or because they present something that engages me in questions about my work, and about our common situation, being human.

Whatever the case, most kids writing on desks are not intentionally making more work for me, or anyone else, they're expressing themselves in clumsy, or interesting, or compelling ways. I like the spontaneous and honest feel of it. It reminds me to be that way sometimes. It's good for the soul. It lightens me up.

What these people are doing is joyous and vibrant and at times compelling. They're adding colour and humanity to an otherwise sterile environment. The people cleaning up may mind, or they may not. If it was my job though, I'd rather be cleaning up something representing life than scraping gum off the floor.
posted by kneecapped at 9:02 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aren't a lot of these trains cleaned automatically as they enter/exit work yards? That's why "no one but security" sees their painting. Graffiti writers have always documented their stuff by taking photos, but now the buffing is so aggressive it's the only proof they have of what they've done.

Not sure what they do wherever this was filmed, but I've toured our local metro maintenance facility. There is a train wash, which is like a car wash but train-sized; (here's a video with an overexcited host), the outsides aren't scrubbed by dudes with toothbrushes or anything. The outsides of metro trains aren't washed every day automatically; how wasteful would it be if you washed your car every morning? The insides are cleaned daily (and by hand).

Trains are also normally cleaned at the end of service, so that the driver can just get in and go in the morning. Depending on where this train was, there is the potential to cause delay if the driver arrives at 5:00 or whenever for the first run of the day, and instead this train has to get shunted over to wherever the wash is and cleaned up before service. Some paint must have gone into the open windows as well; I saw more open windows being sprayed than closed ones.

The facility itself, which is clearly a maintenance facility (there is a good head-on shot of a train on rails suspended over a pit -- this setup is there to do mechanical work underneath the train, since you don't exactly want to put hundreds of thousands of pounds of train up on jacks) is totally covered with paint when they are done; not only the platform which gets more paint than the train, but every surface these gentlemen touch while making their egress. And that gets cleaned up by hand.

They're adding colour and humanity to an otherwise sterile environment. The people cleaning up may mind, or they may not. If it was my job though, I'd rather be cleaning up something representing life than scraping gum off the floor.


I'd rather be kicked in the nuts than have my hair set on fire, but my #1 choice is "none of the above". This isn't a public station assholes drop gum in; it's a maintenance facility that's kept clean so that the maintenance of multi-million dollar pieces of equipment can be done efficiently. And if it were my job, I'd rather have to do the cleaning I needed to do rather than a bunch of extra floor-scrubbing. But perhaps I underestimate how many janitors are in the field for the love of the work itself.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:19 PM on December 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


I just got back from Vienna, so I was able to recognize the Weiner Lienin logo on the tram. Anyway, their transit system was one of the best I've ever seen, and the grumpy old man in me doesn't like seeing that despoiled. Get off my lawn, "artists".
posted by dry white toast at 9:23 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was really not liking the hijinks around the third rail, but since this is obviously water-soluble art it's not a big horrible imposition, really. The art bit isn't the graffiti itself but the recording of the making, if you follow, so in that respect they are showing you the art. On the one hand if I were an urban explorer and had access like this the last thing I'd want to do would be to, well, a) make myself so vulnerable, b) waste it, in a way, on this, but I can sort of see the conceptual value here after watching the whole thing.

I'm kind of surprised I don't hate it, but there you have it.
posted by dhartung at 10:35 PM on December 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: The grumpy old man in you.

Get over yourselves people. It's a bit of coloured paint! It hurts no-one, gives someone a job, brightens up some people's day and if it had been done with permission wouldn't have made it to a post on the blue.

"Oh no, some _entitled prick_ has coloured *my* nice dull grey train. My day is ruined!"

Dear lord. I hope some Anonymous hacker comes and adds some colour to The Blue. All hell will break loose. Lighten up.
posted by bigZLiLk at 11:40 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's worth asking "Is this Art any good?".

If you've managed to find some way to objectively quantify "good" outside your preferences and framework of thinking, in a way that translates to all observers, then yep, we should definitely have that conversation.

Otherwise we should just skip to the "I like it/I don't like it" stage.
posted by dubold at 1:48 AM on December 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a bit of coloured paint!

It's slightly more than "a bit". And it's going to be hell to clean up.

It hurts no-one

In what sense? Probably not physically, but I've never walked into my place of work and jumped for joy at the sight of another several hours of work to do.

gives someone a job

It gives someone more work to cram into their own already busy day, probably, yeah. I don't know of many employers who pay their employees to just sit about doing nothing. Generally, employers like their employees to have enough to do. And it's not like this is going to be a 5 minute cleanup. The chemicals that would make this nice and quick are probably going to damage the underlying paint job on the train.

brightens up some people's day

Whose, exactly? The only people who are going to see this are the people whose job it is to clean it up. The enjoyment from seeing gigantic multicoloured splotches is going to fade pretty quickly when they have to try to get it out of the chairs and upholstery.

Fecking about with other people's stuff without their permission, especially when it's going to create a massive headache for them to clean up, is not nice.
posted by Solomon at 2:53 AM on December 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aren't a lot of these trains cleaned automatically as they enter/exit work yards?


Not in Rome, they're not.
posted by aqsakal at 7:30 AM on December 23, 2012


loleveryoneismad.
posted by broadway bill at 8:52 AM on December 23, 2012


gives someone a job

Not really.
posted by zixyer at 9:12 AM on December 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


gives someone a job

...that's why I never use the provided receptacles.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:47 PM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think that there needs to be a clear definition of graffiti as art and graffiti as sport.

Some people like to make pretty pictures and some people like to just wreck stuff.

The people who do graffiti as sport like to wreck stuff. These people (bombers) don't particularly care about the rest of the world, only other bombers and often not even other bombers. They just want to see how much damage they can do, where they can get into, what risks they can take to do that damage and how often and how long they can maintain their career as professional bombers. Using a moniker is just a way to tell their work apart from others.

Bombers are athletes in a way that only a modern city can produce. The sport is seeing how much you can get away with. Make the game harder by adding extra security, protective coatings etc. and they will find new ways to infiltrate and new ways to make their mark.

Being a bomber is hours of stealing paint, planning how you will get into the next spot, trading secrets with other bombers, studying systems, and working on what you will do when you get there. It's full time and full contact.

They will never go away. As long as there is a system of rules in place, there will always be people finding their way into the cracks. Think hackers, skateboarding, thieves and anyone else who gets the satisfaction of getting away with something.

The best writing on understanding this was an interview with a graffiti artist named JA in Rolling Stone.
posted by Staples at 7:09 PM on January 5, 2013


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