New Walls to Cover

graffiti-wall

Le graffiti fait depuis longtemps partie du paysage urbain : simple vandalisme pour les uns, œuvre d’art pour les autres. Cependant cette toile de fond des villes tend à disparaître laissant certains murs perdre de leurs couleurs alors que d’autres, ceux des réseaux sociaux,  se chargent de messages haineux.

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It’s a fact: according to The Independent, property crimes such as vandalism have decreased noticeably in recent years with 13,453 offences during the April-June 2014 period while the figure was 28,146 for 2009-2010. Police Scotland chief Sir Stephen House suggested that “graffiti and other forms of public vandalism are dying off as people turn to social media to vent their anger instead“. He added that “social media in some instances have replaced graffiti as a way of making your views heard. We have had to deal with offensive comments made on Twitter”. Why do people vent their anger online instead of tagging angry messages on the wall? Is it better?

surveillance-graffiti1-web-version

This trend is due to better policing thanks to the larger number of CCTV cameras. The law is also increasingly strict with taggers: the most prolific graffiti-makers can even face prison. Besides, it shows the predominance of new social media like Facebook or Twitter. People are more on the Internet. People aren’t on the streets anymore. Artists and spectators are vanishing as playstations or iPads represent more attractive and safer ways for people to unwind. Violence, previously seen in the streets, is now spreading on social media.

Your criticism can take a infinite number of forms on the Internet, without fear of a fine. It’s much faster to type a fierce comment than to “bomb” the streets. It’s also more difficult to contain this kind of violence. Besides, you can talk to the world instead of just your street.

The online virtual world seems completely free therefore people find it easier to express themselves. There is also less risk involved whereas graffitis can be dangerous – several taggers have died either electrocuted or hit by a train. Thus street art and graffitis are slowly disappearing while Internet artists are on the rise.

However, street art has also received a boost with the Internet as artists can now share their work on social media.

street art

Having less “real” vandalism is definitely a boon but virtual violence is no less dangerous and can even be more damaging with more “direct” aggressions. “Anti-social behaviour is anti-social behaviour, regardless of whether it is online or in the street”, a head of media law said. Who will wash the online walls?

Anthony BIZI & Nicolas CAULT

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