Anonymous asked: do you think it's impossible to express dissent towards a capitalist system, through street art, if you're middleclass? the idea that cute paste-ups are erasing, in their acceptability, is so valid. thanks
yeah, I think it’s possible. it’s like anything else, it just depends what you do with it, there are few black-and-white answers. I would steer people away from doing the aforementioned cute indie stuff for the sake of intervention into public space, especially in gentrifying suburbs; also from political “interventions” aimed at getting residents to “rise up” or whatever because that’s super fucking patronising and has never ever worked anyway.
I’d also encourage people to consider whether it’s strategic. like it might not do harm but is it the best use of your time? how about using your voice for boring uncool shit like policy submissions? might it not be better to try and create spaces where more marginalised people can speak? what if someone’s got a poster they need put up illegally and they can’t afford to get arrested but you can because of class or race privilege, that’s a good use of street-art skills. or how about connecting any publishing or art world contacts you have to friends who don’t have those contacts?
I’m not saying middle-class people should just shut their mouths, but we all need to be clear on when we’re just expressing ourselves and when we’re pursuing some larger goal. like, everybody has a right to art and self-expression. but we need to be mindful of what its effects are, and not get too caught up in our own sense of radicalism to see what’s really happening.