August 06, 2005
On the Construction of Walls, the Destruction of Books and Art
I was reading last evening one of Borges' great essays, The Wall and the Books, on the construction of the Great Wall of China and the Burning of Books by Emperor Shih Huang Ti. Both projects were of massive scale. "Borges’ sees Shih Huang Ti’s gargantuan fortification project as inseparable from his burning of every book that preceded his reign so that history might begin with him."
The Great Wall of China, no longer a strategic defence has become a pathetic offense. Now an exotic mise-en-scene for tripped-out westerners for piss leaks between coke snorts and screwing. Scroll to the photos on bullet 74. The Great Wall and the Burning of Books failed to stop history and yet the strategy persists. China has retooled the two enormous tasks of construction and destruction for the 21st century with the Great Firewall of China, made possible with the enthusiastic support of Microsoft and Cisco. The GFWofC is the most advanced national firewall to date. It accomplishes the two-fold vision of Emperor Shih Huang Ti as if it were on crack: advanced blocking technologies coupled with panoptic surveillance technologies for later information destruction.
Meanwhile, Israel awakes to find itself walled-in by its own wall. Art prankster sprays Israeli wall:
Secretive "guerrilla" artist Banksy has decorated Israel's controversial West Bank barrier with satirical images of life on the other side. The nine paintings were created on the Palestinian side of the barrier.
Minthy has posted information on an upcoming forum in San Francisco (August 18, 2005) on the topic Graffiti: Urban Scrawl or Artistic Freedom:
From its contemporary origins in the late 1960s, graffiti has spread globally, from the city and boroughs of New York to walls around the world. Some see the proliferation of graffiti as a veritable modern plague, an urban blight that clearly diminishes quality of life. Others would argue that today's graffiti is a historically significant art form, providing a unique means of creative _expression to the disenfranchised and marginalized. Are the words of the prophets truly written on subway walls and tenement halls, or is graffiti nothing more than mindless vandalism that is directly linked to a host of societal ills? You be the judge.
The issue of guerilla art and the public space has even found a mention in the Vietnamese press. In Thanh Nien News: Graffiti - Nghệ thuật hay tội lỗi?
The Great Wall of China
Danwei. Republicans and Democrates Angry at Uncle Sam's Corporations
Imagethief Keep Your Filthy Orgy Off Our Wall
Guardian Unlimited. Beijing's bitch
Wired News. Chinese blogger slams MS
Gadfly. The New! Improved! Great Wall of China!
Posted by rst at August 6, 2005 02:35 PM
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In general his stuff seems a little kitsch to me but was surprised by these pieces actually seem more poignant than opportunistic – something about the juxtaposition of beauty and distruction.
Posted by: Sean at August 8, 2005 11:22 AM