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Crow Jonah Norlander

Within 3 hours of posting the video under a YouTube account 1800TAGGERS, posing as being affiliated with the official campaign, YouTube user Stompdown reposted (co-opted/plagiarized?) it, and has since drawn more attention (693 comments and counting) to the video:


As of Dec. 16, 2009 the following information is available:

For the original with slightly less lively discussion, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoelBwVlzH0. It was also recently re-stolen by another YouTube user: http://www.youtube.com/user/pokm40

1-800-TAGGERS is a graffiti prevention and reporting hotline in Providence, and exists as part of a larger scale task force that is attempting to crack down on the assault on our neighborhoods. A recent contribution to this effort was the introduction of a motion detecting camera placed in a strategic location in order to photograph and threaten to prosecute anyone who happened to be captured by the lens. The Mayor has also offered cash rewards to the general public for helping bust vandals. While the heat is certainly present on the streets, the City's efforts to crack down on graffiti have marked limitations as to their ability to successfully curb vandalism.

As with many laws regarding relevant transgressions, the legal definition of graffiti is ambiguous, and in it's vagueness favors the perspective of the population with the resources to exert control over their surroundings (through higher rent, nicer parks, paid advertisements, street sweepers, commissioned murals,) while antagonizing the assertion of a subversive aesthetic by making sweeping value judgments about what does and does not qualify as an eyesore.

On one hand the city's attempts are laughable, but on the other they can hardly be expected to do anything else. The people responsible for these efforts are answerable to the people who provide their salaries, who are typically the ones most willing to accept the capitalistic, condescending, superiority complex conditions regarding the use of public space to sell their products and see their tasteful, inoffensive art.

I would like to call attention to the ambiguities inherent in the City of Providence's Chapter 16, "Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions," and in doing so, attempt to level the field on which taggers, commissioned artists, and advertisers meet. While not doing much in the way of criticizing more accepted public displays, I have attempted to approach the law on its own terms which I believe find graffiti no more objectionable than other invasions of public space.


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