+ What is Culture? The Dictionary Definition The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively : e.g. 20th century popular culture. The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group : e.g. Caribbean culture | e.g. people from many different cultures. The attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group : e.g. the emerging drug culture.
+ What is Myth? The Dictionary Definition a widely held but false belief or idea a misrepresentation of the truth “a story that people have made up in the past in order to explain how the world and mankind began or to justify religious beliefs and social customs”
+ Cultural Myths An Introduction to Roland Barthes Roland Barthes (1915– 1980) was a French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician. Barthes frequently interrogated specific cultural materials in order to expose how bourgeois society asserted its values through them.
+ The Cultural Myth, cont‟d We usually associate myths with classical fables about the exploits of gods and heroes. But for Roland Barthes, myths were the dominant ideologies of our time. The mythological or ideological sign reflects major culturally-variable concepts underpinning a particular worldview - such as masculinity, femininity, freedom, individualism, objectivism, Englishness and so on. Myths help us to make sense of our experiences within a culture
+ Cultural Myths An Introduction to Roland Barthes For example, the portrayal of wine in French society as a robust and healthy habit is a bourgeois ideal that is contradicted by certain realities (i.e., that wine can be unhealthy and inebriating). He found semiotics, the study of signs, useful in these interrogations. A picture of a full, dark bottle is a signifier that relates to a specific signified: a fermented, alcoholic Motivations for such beverage. However, the manipulations vary, from a desire bourgeoisie relate it to a new to sell products to a simple desire signified: the idea of healthy, robust, relaxing experience. to maintain the status quo.
+ The Cultural Myth An Introduction to Roland Barthes, cont‟d For Barthes, myths serve the ideological function of naturalization: Their function is to naturalize the cultural - in other words, to make dominant cultural and historical values, attitudes and beliefs seem entirely natural, normal, self- evident, timeless, obvious common-sense - and thus objective and true reflections of the way things are. They express and serve to organize shared ways of conceptualizing something within a culture. E.g. Objects with cultural or social value (wine, coffee), gender, identity, political values, consumer values, beliefs, etc…
+ Subculture “a cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture”
+ Punk Movement Key figures: Vivienne Westwood Malcolm McLaren The Sex Pistols “The Great Rock N‟ Roll swindle” (Docu).
+ What is subculture? Dick Hebdige: Subculture, The Meaning of Style “1970‟s punk was never just about appropriating commodities to construct new social identities - repurposing utilitarian designs as some kind of purely decorative arts project, making safety pins and bin liners into fashion statements… Punks were always positioning themselves at the awkward point of intersection between the politics of identity and the politics of consumption and consumerism”.
+ “The Domestication Of Otherness” “Subcultures may start out nano-scale, marginal, „authentic‟, in opposition to the mainstream but they get processed and reframed by the market and the media. That‟s how they get rendered comprehensible and neutralized, absorbed into the mainstream as the wild horses get broken in as livestock.”
+ Subculture & Semiotics THOUGHT SUMMARY: The subcultural group is vulnerable to mainstream influence and equally vulnerable to its own narcissistic sense of self- importance – where ego and identity may win over purpose and activism. The „alternative‟ or „abnormal‟ is normalized and therefore perhaps requires a level of resistance and a clarity of purpose for its own survival.
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art Controversial Arguments “Some people argue that graffiti is art and not vandalism, but when the graffiti is written or sprayed, without permission, on private or public property then it loses any artistic credibility and becomes a criminal act.” (Police Detective who brought charges against teenage graffiti writers leading to imprisonment for vandalism)
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art Possible Manifestos 1. Self-validation - identity and ego-driven thrills - personal power… 2. Psychological need – a subconscious need for validation in a world where the individual is crushed. 3. The Ethos of competing with corporate identities and the need to make your mark in a world where its increasingly difficult to do so without permission or MONEY (take the world back for yourself). 4. Public property being „yours‟. Demarcation of public boundaries and the right to deface.
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art „Illegal / Vandalism Debate‟ Teenage Boys jailed for graffiti work on the London tube Identity and validation – “I‟m here, We‟re here…” Value of the statement alone (I‟m here, we‟re here). Unconscious or conscious political statement? Heavy price to pay if „caught‟ – but – is it a necessary risk? A valid form of activism?
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art From Vandalism to Public Art: „See No Evil‟
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art From Vandalism to Public Art Bristol‟s street art scene is crawling with talent, from well- known names such as Massive Attack‟s Robert Del Naja to the entirely unknown graffers responsible for the recent spate of zeitgeist-capturing anti-Tesco murals. Graffiti in Bristol is so widespread, and so widely respected, that the city council have discussed putting work to the public vote before spending taxpayer‟s money on scrubbing it off or painting it over (like, duh, etc, but a major breakthrough nevertheless).
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art From Legal to Commercial Red Bull campaign „street view‟ and many others. Positive or negative? As predicted by Hebdige – is it being folded into the mainstream? “Guerilla Marketing Campaigns” – taking the guerilla out of graffiti.
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art From Legal to Commercial
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art From Legal to Commercial
+ Urban Culture & Graffiti Art Selling out or helping hand? Legal street art Red bull street art view project – Reb Bull becoming synonomous with graffiti as major sponsors Is there a contradiction in the affiliation? Does it matter? The end of the manifesto?
+ Banksy TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK WITH: „THE RISE OF BANKSY‟ & STREET ARTIST JR