art institutions are a severely limited arena of reception for ideas about public issues --Robbie Conal
If I can't take my coffee break,
Gone is the sense of enterprise
...something within me dies.
-- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
I was born with a "Question Authority" bumper sticker metaphorically stuck on the back of my car. I grew up with that expression (and what it represents) as my moral imperative. But I've been worried lately. I've been worried because it doesn't seem to be turning out the way I thought it would. Seems a QA attitude is not necessarily conducive to civil society.
It all depends on who's the authority I suppose. I seem to have the easiest time applying it to government and politics. But at what point do the concepts of "questioning" and the notion of "participating" intersect?
Becoming a manager was a pivotal point in my life. A place where I had to make the transition from "hating the man" to "being the man". That's what we called "selling out" in the 70's. Yet it was eye-opening seeing the other side of the coin. Here were the grown-up headaches, here were the false workers comp claims that drove our operating costs thru the roof, here were the inebriated employees driving company vehicles and exposing us to unimaginable liability, here were the whining, complaining, slacking employees always wanting one more raise, but never doing anything to deserve it! Arrrrrrrgggggggggggggggg
That's when the light first went on...so this is why the company had rules, policies, drug testing, insurance requirements, safety committees... Something inside me cried "nooooooooooooooo". No, I did not like that moment at all. Who wants to come to terms with anything so oppressive, so infringing on individuality, so authoritarian!
That is why, when I saw my first "Obey Andre the Giant" poster plastered on a electric company cabinet, I felt conflicted. The wage-slave in me felt freed, the manager in me felt assaulted. (Sigh)
OK, here's the slightly awkward segue: I have been ranting lately about the Graffiti blanketing my neighborhood. Yet my inner artist feels how strongly the artistic impulse is, the struggle to say "this is me". That impulse survives even when all other vestiages of appropriate social behavior have been lost.
Then again, I learn something new every day, and that something today is "Guerrilla Postering". Fathered by the legendary Robbie Conal, who provides videos, website and list serves to explain the techniques, the art...and even the etiquette of clandestinely plastering your posters on public property (in the midnight hours of course).
Question of the day: Can you can be an activist and cover your a** ?
Darwin has a posse
Obey Andre the Giant
TANGENT: God, there are endless spin offs on this topic. For example, back in September, I wrote a post on Guerrilla Marketing called Your Name Here. At the time I was quite smitten with the idea. Actually, I still am, albeit on unsteady ground about destruction of public property. Don't get me wrong, there are a multitude of opportunities for Guerilla Art, Marketing, Advertising, etc. without resulting in illegal or anti-social means.
Which brings us to the most recent act of a guerrilla advertising campaign...the Turner Broadcast "incident". File it under "how an underground cartoon show "Aqua Teens Hunger Force" was translated into a national terrorist scare...".
Get a sense of humor people! Do we really have to go so totalitarian that individualist artists will be cowering in the corners fearing that homeland security (substitute death squad here?) will be banging on our doors some night?
Technorati Tags: Darwin, Andre the Giant has a Posse, Obey Andre the Giant, Question Authority, Nonprofit, Graffiti, Guerilla Postering, Ronnie Conal