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Graffiti, art and trust in Boston

By now the big to-do in Boston last week should be familiar and likely fading into the landscape of forgotten news stories. Within the so-called hacktivist community, the initial reaction was a collective shaking of the head and saying, “you’re kidding, right?”, followed by a sigh of inevitable disappointment. Boston and the news media weren’t […]

By now the big to-do in Boston last week should be familiar and likely fading into the landscape of forgotten news stories. Within the so-called hacktivist community, the initial reaction was a collective shaking of the head and saying, “you’re kidding, right?”, followed by a sigh of inevitable disappointment. Boston and the news media weren’t kidding, though many people certainly wish they were.

One of the more insightful commentaries on the episode comes from Matt Blaze, a security researcher. He discusses the nature of guerilla art and how we are slowly being trained not to trust anything we see or hear, and not just because of things like the Boston episode:

Guerilla advertising works only when it counterfeits the kinds of clues that allowed me to experience Keith Haring‘s chalk posters in a credulous and emotional way. I’d never let myself do that today; I’d just wonder what they were trying to sell or when the movie was coming out. The impact is diminished if I have to wonder whether Andy Warhol was shilling for Campbell’s Soup, or Marcel Duchamp for Armitage-Shanks, but perhaps I will someday have to, just as I must now ask myself whether that email requesting updated account information really came from my bank.

In any case, the Graffiti Research Lab has responded to the original event:

Make Throwies Not Bombs

The jury is still out on how this event will effect the cultural niche that this hacktivist street art exists in.

Photo from GRL.