Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Street Art Rocks

(Banksy's 'French Maid' image from ArtsJournal.com, Artopia. It's been removed by Camden Council in March 2011)

I rarely go to the cinemas nowadays. They don't offer any movies I want to watch. Every other movie is a brainless Hollywood blockbuster. I'd like to unwind to something that isn't numbing to the brain cells, thank you. By the time cinemas bring in anything worth any attention here, I'd have either watched them outside of Singapore or downloaded a legal version. With AppleTV, I don't need you cinemas anymore. You show crap.

After I settled the old folks' National Day Eve dinner, I rushed over to the friends' for a proper dinner that had been lovingly prepared. With the (to me) excruciatingly annoying Poleconomy done for the evening, they were waiting for me to turn up to do the movie.

3 homecooked curries of fish, chicken and vegetables :: fruit pilaf :: naan :: aloo gobi :: palek paneer :: lamb korma :: yoghurt and raita aplenty :: Homemade cheesecake :: Tillamook vanilla bean :: Island Creamery's pulot hitam :: freshly squeezed juices :: Oban 14 y.o ::

We wanted something light. We put on 'Exit Through The Gift Shop'. Muahahahha. The title itself is already tickling. I love it that the movie opens with street artists leaping through the city to Richard Hawley's "Tonight The Streets Are Ours". One of my favorite songs! I enjoyed the movie, and am in awe of the amazing spunk and talent of these street artists. But I don't think our authorities will find it amusing at all. The last time anyone did something fun like good graffiti in Singapore, they stupidly broke the law and got caned. There's not street art culture in Singapore because in this clean country, the artists are tantamount to criminals and graffiti is vandalism.

There's greater tolerance of street art in Argentina. Buenos Aires is full of it. I enjoyed meandering through chic and rough neighborhoods to view the artwork. My driver thought I was nuts. Along with the culture, comes a gritty grey picture of the economy. I don't really want to draw links between art and the economy. Let's just stick it to a greater theme of open-mindedness and the Argentine government's focus on other pressing issues than arresting street artists.

I love how nefarious the whole affair of getting stuff down on tape feels. It's kinda illegal, isn't it. Setting up the sketches, spray painting on public property, trying to top one another's art, run-ins with the police, etc etc. You gotta admire the balls of these dudes. Then, as London burns over the weekend, the hoodies ain't look so cool anymore. A protest is fine, but rioting, burning and looting the shops are horrible. The people didn't do anything to deserve it, especially if rioters are looking at vigilante justice. It's not justifiable at all. These people are just looking for trouble. These rioters and looters with a spray can, are vandals, not street artists. These people, can't be condoned, and we need to ask why they're doing it.

There's Banksy who's supposedly making a directorial debut with this 'docu-film'. Subversive political commentator and artist extraordinaire. Exit Through The Gift Shop is a movie afterall. So one would be rather silly to believe this wholesale. The veracity of any docu-film and movie is always in doubt. I'm even skeptical of the supposed fact of Banksy himself actually directing the film. It's extremely enjoyable though.

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