It’s been quite a year for whistleblowers. In the last six months or so, the information that Edward Snowden leaked has changed the world, but Snowden is still hiding in Russia, hoping that some country will grant him permanent asylum and a way to get there. Meanwhile, Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower behind what became the Collateral Murder video and so many other documents released through Wikileaks, was sentenced in August to serve 35 years in a military prison. And just a few days ago, the email of a US government whistleblower was hacked and documents essential to his case were deleted. With the US government taking such a harsh stance against whistleblowers, it is even more essential that we, the people, stand up to support them. With that in mind, I’ve started Whistleblower Art, a tumblr archive of art and design celebrating whistleblowers. Last July, I collected all the Snowden-related street art I could find for a post. Whistleblower Art expands on that post to include all whistleblowers (most notably Manning at this point) and art and design beyond just street art.
For Vandalog though, I’ve put together this update on my Snowden post: Pretty much all the street art, graffiti and murals I could find in support of whistleblowers.
Caroline and I are headed to Chicago today. We’ll have a few days to explore, so any suggestions are appreciated. Here’s your links:
El Toro, Dave The Chimp, Invader, Flying Fortress, Mr. Penfold and others sent in stickers and other small artworks to This must be for you, who put all the work together into little folders and lift them as free gifts around London. Giving out free gifts unexpectedly to random people with no expectation of anything in return, sounds like fun to me (although of course very similar to Papergirl). Check out the video here.
Shepard Fairey released some prints using diamond dust, which is quite interesting. As the press release says, “Perhaps most famously used by Andy Warhol, who understood perfectly how to convey a message, Diamond Dust was used to add glamour, transforming ordinary images into coveted objects. The material aligns with Shepard’s work and interest in the seduction of advertising and consumerism. Diamond Dust, literally and metaphorically is superficial, applied to the surface of the print, the luminous effect is both beautiful and alluring.” But it’s one of those things that just gets me thinking about how the art world, much like capitalism, seems so good at absorbing critique and spitting at back out as product. People love the meaningless OBEY icon, so Shepard sells it. Shepard needs to make more product to continue selling to this market he has created, so he takes an old design (or a slight variant, I’m not positive), and adds meaningless diamond dust to it and sells it as something new. The best critiques participate in the system which they critique, but that’s a risky game to play. Of course, I say all this with a print by Shepard hanging on my wall.
OldWalls is a project where the photographer took photos of graffiti in the early 1990’s and recently returned to those spots to take the exact same shots, and then each matching photo is displayed next to its counterpart.