luckyjunkie-deactivated20120901 asked: Hello there! I saw your reply on yarn bombing and wanted to ask you a few more questions. Sorry if you've received some already on this. Do you hate the act of yarn-bombing or do you just dislike the people who are typically behind it? If I decide to participate in yarn-bombing for the sake of public art (I am not rich, I am not white, but I am an art student...?), would you criticise me in the same fashion? Are yarn bombs not easily removable? That may be another reason why they're tolerated.
hi! Thanks for your question.
I dislike yarn-bombing unequivocally. I don’t hate white middle-class art students unless they’re clueless and have boring ideas like yarn-bombing. (I’m white with a liberal arts degree from a pretty elitist university, so I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on there, anyway.) I don’t mean to come off as overly hostile but I do really really hate yarn-bombing, aesthetically as well as politically, as if the two could be separated.
there is definitely a complicated debate to be had re: what it means if you do something that’s coded “middle-class” or “white” but you’re not either/both of those things. (“middle class” doesn’t necessarily mean “rich”, of course.) Like that is a hard position to be in, a lot of the time. I think it’s possible to shift who a genre or form is associated with, or to subvert its hegemonic associations. Having said that, those associations exist to begin with. I would question the ability of any yarn-bomber to subvert them, given that yarn-bombing typically has little inherent meaning beyond the act of putting yarn up in public, and therefore relies on those associations to create meaning; also that it’s anonymous and there’s no way of any viewer knowing the specific identity of the yarn-bomber.
I don’t think yarnbombing is necessarily easier to remove than all stigmatised forms of public art but mostly I think that question is a distraction. Like, stencil graf is, yes, more rigorously prosecuted than yarn-bombing but less prosecuted than traditional graf, and also is part of the international tourism campaign for my city, and there’s really no difference between them except the aesthetic and the class/race associations of that aesthetic.
I have responded to a similar question in more depth here.
Please also check my “yarn bombing”, “public art”, “public space”, and “gentrification” tags.
Also for reference: I don’t think clueless public art is, like, The Main Thing Causing Gentrification, it’s a pretty minor factor, more of a sign of a losing battle really, just a really annoying one that a lot of people on tumblr seem to care about.