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?


2 responses to “Forum D

  1. In the context of geosemiotics, Scollon and Scollon define Transgressive Semiotics, as pertaining to a sign, one “that is in the ‘wrong’ place.” (Scollon&Scollon, 146) However, the word itself connotes either violating a limit or treading beyond it, and by the former, I mean ignoring it (so, you can violate something by doing its opposite, which, in effect, is in a way ignoring it, but you can also simply ignore it without doing its opposite, or anything for that matter). In any case, it connotes a defiance of authority.
    Regarding the work of Bansky and the Billboard Liberation Front, it may or may not be transgressive. Depending on what sense of transgressive is a meant, the work can be interpreted in both ways. If, for example, the authors of these signs had legal permission to set them up in place, then, in that sense, they are not transgressive. If, on the other hand, the places chosen to set up the signs are culturally unacceptable places to do so, then, in that sense, they are transgressive. We can thus see that legal legitimacy can be disassociated from cultural legitimacy, although sometimes they are not, and present themselves as reflections one of the other, and vice versa. So, the sociopolitical relations of place seem to be the key factors in determining how “transgressive” is defined.
    If a work is transgressive to the reader/viewer, it then can be received from being illegitimate, and thus ignored and debunked, to conflict mongering, and thus taken as an aggression with more or less degree of violence.
    I fail to see how any of the signs up for discussion are transgressive in the geosemiotic sense. What I think is really occurring with these signs is a plain and direct discourse in place. The second image is the example per excellence of what I mean. We have a video/surveillance camera interacting in space, and thus with those who encounter such space. In turn, as the sign suggests, some of those who have encountered the space have decided to maintain a discourse with the camera, more specifically, with those who are peeping through the camera, or those responsible for its being situated in space. But, it cannot be merely that the sign is confrontational in nature for it to qualify as a transgressive sign, although we saw the opposite was true, i.e., that a sign that is transgressive can thereby be confrontational or conflictual, as in disrupting the harmony of things in some way or other. The work above can therefore be labeled more appropriately with the word “confrontational” or “conflictual” signs. Even though the confrontation, as it were, may be only in the act of thought provocation, and in that, it may be conflictual depending on the subject whose thought the sign is provoking, and what kind of thought is being provoked.
    I beg the pardon of my reader but I am simply at a lose with regard to what the last question is asking of me.

  2. If you look at the work of Banksy and Billboard Liberation front, technically they would be transgressive because of the fact that to the owner of the billboard, or the walls that these were painted on, they are, as defined in Discourses in Place, “out of place.” To me, I think their work is sort of humorous and I would not feel that these are bothering anyone, but if you look at the definition these works of art are not necessarily supposed to be there. They could be transgressive to some and not to others. Whether something is transgressive can be decided by whoever is looking at what sign is out of place or not and such as in the reading, this could differ between cultures and different types of people. The writing shown to American students looked like graffiti to them, but meant something and were a sentence to the Spanish and Buddhists.

    Transgressive is a word that could be used by people who believe that art belongs in certain public spaces such as an art gallery, but those such as Banksy believe that it is not transgressive and it is art because he is expressing his creativity, only in public space where he feels it is necessary or creative. I would use the term creative instead of words such as”out of place” or “destructive” or “vandalized.” To some these signs are transgressive but I believe they are creative and some even very humorous.

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