Re: Defacing as a tool

From viveka <>
Date Fri, 21 Jan 2000 17:25:51 +1100

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At 4:43 PM -0500 19/1/00, Chuck0 wrote:
>Michael Clark wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> I disagree with ZoeScanner's points #3 and #8,  the use of defacing as a
>> Defacing is not appropriate on- or off-line. Does that mean "they"
>> (whoever "they" are) have the right to deface a church or synagogue's
>> web site or physical meeting place?  I don't see any difference
>> between on-line and off-line. Can you make a case for it? Thanks,
>> Michael
>Yes. Defacing property is a form of free speech. It is not censoring,
>because it is not an ongoing attempt to restrict what the other party is
>saying. Posting a defaced page to a website is a temporary annoyance.
>The same thing goes for a tag applied to a building. Graffiti can always
>be washed off.

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenburg
(October 31, 1517), it was an act of defacement, and free speech.

Websites are a one-way method of communication; many hypertext
theorists would have preferred that they not be so. Annotation of
pages was always intended, just too hard to implement for the www.

Defacement is legitimate when speech by other means is suppressed.
The one-way nature of websites is an impediment to speech - not as
bad as TV, since you can set up your own website, but worse than it
should be, as there's no way to annotate (thereby turning a website
into a conversation) short of hacking. Reminds me of a quote, I think
from the ClueTrain Manifesto: Conversation is the opposite of Branding.

Defacement has the side-effect of damaging property -
I'm opposed to unaesthetic defacement of particularly nice architecture,
such as churches (not because I'm Christian - I'm a Discordian, I just
appreciate good architecture), on aesthetic grounds. Unless it's
done in an ephemeral medium such as chalk. Grafitti _can't_ always be
washed off without damaging the underlyign surface.

On the other hand, I love to see aesthetic
defacement of unaesthetic/monumentalist architecture. A beautiful
multicoloured graffiti piece on the concrete buttress of a neo-brutalist
office building fills me with joy. Art does not require approval. At the
same time, a crude tag on a sandstone wall fills me with disgust.

It's all about aesthetics, beauty - we can all make marks, from the
time that we are children. Whether those marks add beauty to
the world or ugliness is up to us. Grafitti is demonised by the
corporatists because it is unapproved by the Arts Establishment.
This is the very reason it is a valuable art form.

In order not to censor the speech you intend to respond to,
don't remove anything. Many website hackers already do this;
simply adding their own content to what's already there, and
including links to content that contain more like-minded stuff.



|  Viveka Weiley, Karmanaut.
|  hypermedia | virtual worlds | human interface | truth | beauty

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