Can Street Art Predict the Future?

In his article, “Toward a Hyperphotography,” Fred Ritchin highlights the idea that digital photography can be used to illustrate the future. That is, the digital photograph can be altered pixel by pixel to reflect a changed image that resonates with what the artists believes can exist, rather than what actually is the current observation. Ritchin states that “altering the image” allows it to be linked and contexualized with other media. In the form of my topic, street art within the movement, images can be altered digitally to overestablish similarities between two subjects. For example, in some forms of street art, the facial features of the leaders of our country are merged with various villainous historical figures to shock the audience. In Occupy Wall Street, a common symbol of the movement is the alteration of the Obama HOPE poster.

This poster represents the digitally altered face of Barack Obama. It is a digital “mash-up” of Obama and the Guy Fawkes mask popularized in V for Vendetta. The caption underneath the image reads “Mister President, we HOPE you’re on our side.” The image was used in the hopes of gaining more awareness on Obama’s end to support the policies of the Occupy movement.

Additionally, in some cases, digital photography is also used in street art to demonstrate what the United States will “look like” unless we make significant change within the country.

Protesters at Zuccotti Park were the beneficiaries of many free items from supporters. MetroCards, newspapers, and all kinds of donated items were available due to the generosity of supporters. However, as demonstrated in this image, actual money was looked down upon and scorned. Images such as this, used in the movement seem almost contradictory and idealistic of supporters. The involvement of many in the movement was made possible by the fiscal generosity of others, however they still view the dollar as meaningless.

The use of these images as street art in the movement raise the questions: when do predications become propaganda when altering images digitally? How does this effect viewers on the streets who don’t take the time to analyze these images?

–Jenny Questell


4 responses to “Can Street Art Predict the Future?

  1. coffeeshoprhino

    Can you link to or share some visual examples here? That would really bring home your point.

  2. Pingback: A Different Canvas – Amazing Street Art | Art Auctions

  3. Pingback: Alright… so just what is Occupy Wall Street? | Occupy Wall Street Analysis

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