Another new contributor to OPS, Volksieg takes a look at how the media presents street crime, violence, drugs, graffiti and the general degeneration of our cities as something vibrant and to be celebrated.
Picture the scene…. A grimy, litter strewn and vandalized street. The sound of police sirens fills the air as a gang of youths appear to be taking part in the closing stages of a drug deal. As one of them walks away, he welcomes us to the scene, spitting out words in an aggressive manner and giving the impression that he is, not only rather proud of the sorry scene around him, but that, from his body language, we should feel slightly intimidated by him. He certainly does not look welcoming in any sense of the word.
A man leaps from one rooftop to another… strangely reminiscent of a scene from a Hitchcock film as the air is filled with loud, pounding, noise pollution.
From the right a young chap is riding his bicycle, slamming it into the wall with little or no care for his own safety, or the safety of the Council workman who he narrowly misses. Meanwhile, one of his chums smashes his bike into the back of someone’s car before mounting it and performing some form of stunt, no doubt denting it and causing no end of damage to the paintwork.
A police helicopter hovers overhead impotently surveying this diorama of criminality.
A gang of unruly hoodlums appear to be fighting in the middle of the road as a young gentleman strides confidently from a shop doorway and informs us that we really should not “mess” with him whilst making what can only be described as threatening gun-like gestures with his fingers.
One of the guys on their bicycles is now riding his bike on the rooftop of a commercial property and has slammed down hard onto the roof of a delivery van, again causing untold damage… as a hooded youth vandalizes a billboard.
Is this an advert for a new crime drama?
Nope. Guess again.
“Channel 4 today announced Street Summer, a season of programmes celebrating contemporary urban art forms, and a new arts strand, Random Acts, which will provide a ‘disruptive space’ on air and online for artists to create unmediated, short-form pieces for the screen.
Arts Commissioning Editor Tabitha Jackson said, “Above all I want Channel 4 Arts to connect to a broad modern audience. We will both celebrate our vibrant contemporary culture of arts and creativity, and we will also interrogate how that culture is expressing just what it is to be alive in 21st century Britain. In other words – us now, through art now.”
So there you have it! Next time you feel intimidated when walking down the street… it’s ok! It’s art!
Next time someone vandalizes your property… its fine! You are just taking part in a ‘disruptive space’ and should revel in this “vibrancy”.
Some would probably interpret this piece as an attack on “Urban Culture” and, thusly, betraying some “racial motivation”. To such people I must ask when it became acceptable in their mind to automatically associate ethnic minorities with violent behaviour, street crime, vandalism…? If one considers such musical giants as Gil Scott Heron, or Bob Marley for that matter, people who faced real hardship and took the time to pen meaningful lyrics and unforgettable melodies to convey their message to the people, it soon becomes apparent that this is not an issue of race. The real issue is the decline of quality and the celebration of the perverse, the worthless and the deplorable.
Modern society has become a stage show of decay in which we are all invited to revel in the chaos and throw out all concepts of decency and worth. Shades of Weimar Berlin.
So… do I find this “vibrant”? Do I consider unruly behaviour and an utter disregard for the feelings of others, coupled with disrespect for personal property, “creativity”? Sounds more like destructiveness to me but, in these modern times, “Bad is the same as Good”, “Love is the same as Hate”. Need I go on?
I am fully aware that art must both inspire and reflect the modern world and the environment in which we live. It would be foolhardy to ever demand a sweetly saccharin Art World in which all is fine and dandy and the more “edgy” subjects are not broached due to some, frankly insulting and patronizing, idea that the “mindless sheep” will emulate all that they see….. But where, exactly, is this Art? One must wonder, when seeing this kind of behaviour celebrated constantly as some form of “Artistic Expression”, how those in high places can ever have the nerve to question why that good ol’ crime rate just keeps on rising.
Or perhaps they know only too well and everything is going to plan……
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