Forum D

camera-girl-5  124659356_bbe1e5b661_o   Banksy’s work…


47_450px  Work of Billboard Liberation Front


Would you characterize the work above by Banksy and the Billboard Liberation Front “transgressive”? What does “transgressive” mean, connotate? Who gets to define what is and what is not “transgressive”? How does the term “transgressive” determine how such work in public space is received?  What other terms might some argue might be more appropriate or accurate to describe such work above? How is the term “transgressive” itself a contested space?

4 responses to “Forum D

  1. By definition, the work by Banksy and the Billboard Liberation Front is transgressive. Of course, this is a definition; one created by what is socially accepted in our world. In my opinion, I don’t see how any of the art above is obtrusive or offensive; by any means, it is trying to send a message. Much like the literacy campaign in Umaca, in which school students wrote slogans and sayings promoting literacy onto walls and rock faces, the work of the above artists can be viewed as an attempt to change something. Bankys’ work above is an attempt to fight against the way society functions; always under a close surveillance. The graffiti above is a form of rebelling. Now, does this mean his work is being obtrusive or distasteful? Maybe for some, but for me, I don’t see it as this way.

    For the most part, laws define what is transgressive. By looking at the legalities, the majority of graffiti would be labeled as transgressive because it is illegally being placed on walls and buildings in society and is usually some form of message targeting something the artist perceives as a problem. In this way, the term transgressive determines that graffiti in public space will be received as obstructive. They would go against “the grain of public decency.”

    Other terms that might apply to the work above would not be graffiti, but rather art. It’s an art form meant to send a message. Just because it’s not in a museum or on a “correct” display does not mean it is trash. The work of such famous artists on walls and in public space in some ways is more powerful than anything found anywhere else. It’s something that is seen everyday by people walking by, and sometimes the locations of these messages is crucial to understanding them. Transgressive is a contested space because it is such a harsh word. Applying this term to forms of art is unnecessary. There are certainly good motives to putting these images in public space. The artists aren’t doing doing this because they want to break the law and ruin the side of a building. They want to send a message. Calling these messages transgressive is inappropriate.

  2. According to discourses in place a transgressive sign is a sign that is put somewhere where it should not be, or was not authorized to be there. I do think that these signs are transgressive signs because they are graffiti, which is illegal in places unless given permission otherwise. The first two signs, or graffiti in this case, are trying to show that our (the publics) privacy is being compromised. It is saying that the government is trying to breath down our necks and know every move we make. In the first sign we see a camera looking directly at a woman walking down the street. She is very surprised and started by seeing a camera looking directly at her. The second sign is even more blunt about its message. It is literally saying, “What are you looking at.” Clearly the artist known as Banksy has a problem with governments trying to be the all seeing eyes and ears of the world. Graffiti, in some peoples mind is destructive and illegal, but I consider it expressive art. This kind of expressive art is trying to send a message across, not just take up space on a wall. Some people consider graffiti trash because it isn’t in a museum or part of an art gallery, but I think that this kind of art in public space has a bigger impact on society because it is something that people will see every day, whether they are looking for art or not. These artists have reasons for doing what they do and it shows that they don’t care what the rules of society are, they are just following their dream, which might entail destruction of public property. This destruction is very beautiful sometimes and to call this kind of art transgressive I think is not right.

  3. I believe all three of these images are examples of transgressive semiotics. The book labels a transgressive semiotic as: “any sign that is in the ‘wrong’ place” (146). These are all pretty clear transgressions of semiotic expectation. An average person would not be expecting any of these signs after coming across them in day-to-day life. Also the property owners where these signs were painted probably wouldn’t allow these pieces of art to have been made. To the average viewer these signs may appear unacceptable for the places in which they were erected. In my mind transgressive implies something that is either, not allowed, or not intended. These signs fall into this category because they were probably not allowed, and certainly not intended to be established by the property owners. Labeling these images as transgressive semiotics gives people the notion that these sorts of images are not wanted by society. It makes these pieces of art appear as vandalism rather than street art. If I was ever blessed to own a piece of property Banksy decided to tag I would be honored, not upset, and I would certainly not try to remove the artwork. I believe a better term to label this kind of art would be “unintended semiotics.” Because none of the property owners in any case would have intended for these pieces to be put up in the space they were constructed. As I said before, transgressive gives the implication that this art is unwanted and unappreciated, where as unintended leaves the legitimacy of the art up to the individual viewer. Transgressive is a contested space; because it gives the assumption that this art is not wanted. It labels all forms of “transgressive” are as pieces that do not belong. In my mind the only people who can really determine whether this art can continue to survive should be the property owners. It should be up to them whether to keep this art installed or removed. Banksy is one my favorite street artists of all time, however there was a famous modern artist before him, Jean Michel Basquiat, who also used to practice street art. His street art was so appreciated that buildings he would “tag” would increase in value. People even tried to steal some of his graffiti for personal profit.

  4. Characterizing the work by Banksy and the Billboard Liberation Front as transgresssive depends on the viewer. Transgressive art is a term that means the art is out of place, unwanted or unappreciated in the area it was put up. Since the Banksy work is graffiti and graffiti is illegal in most of the country, law would consider it transgressive art. By societal terms and standards I think its up to the community and public to decide whether or not the art is removed. In most cases I’d imagine a shop owner to have it removed but nonetheless it should be the peoples decision.

    I do not think Banksy’s or the Billboard Liberation Front’s work is transgressive. I find Banksy’s work rather amusing because of the way he challenges the establishment and gets his message across. In these particular photos Banksy makes his point by asking a whitty question to the person on the other end of the camera or depicting a startled girl as she discovers a camera looming over her from a bush. These are both statements against a higher power watching or controlling the public by having an omniscient presence through security cameras.

    I feel that if people label the work transgressive then people are missing the point of what the artist was trying to convey. A more appropriate term instead of transgressive could be urban. I think urban semiotics conveys the meaning that it is in cities on buildings but the image comes with a deep meaning that encourages onlookers to think as much as a formal piece of art would

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