The Sound of One Can Spraying
The sound of the caves is as essential as the visuals. Drenched in
reverb, whet as a train whistle. The noises in our ears don't defy
the scenes in our eyes. They compliment, complement them or
even complicate them. Hindsight gives us the ability to analyze,
re-analyze, to fill in the gaps. Graffiti as icing or showcase,
supplies this indulgence. It is a thorough idiom in this regard.
Elementary perception of sights and sounds is not a passive
process. We actively process incoming stimulation while ignoring
others. Moreover, we impose organization on the stimuli that we pay
attention to. These tendencies combine to make perception
personalized and subjective.
Reputation influences result. Motives and expectations color our
experience. To some extent we
see what we want to see or what we anticipate seeing, and
we hear what we expect as well. The illusion of movement in a
highway construction sign is an instance of the phi phenomenon, which is
also at work in motion pictures, television and graffiti.
The phenomenon illustrates the Gestalt principle that the whole can
have properties that are not found in any of its parts. Dynamics
in sound correlate with movement of form in the visual world.
There is a science to graffiti. While technique and craft provide
parameters of acceptability to the critics with less than
sufficient perceptual awareness, in the land of the blind, the person
with the ability to see is not king but a raving lunatic. So peeling
layers off of surfaces may be considered a heroic action. Maybe even
Promethean. To buff is to deny the fire of the Gods.
The dynamics of graffiti shift between senses at times. Graffiti
cannot be removed from its environment (no matter how many
zines Tower Records decides to stock). The contextual environment
of graffiti goes beyond the physical to the psychological. Not
only is it important to relate a certain work to a date and a location
but also to an attitude, perhaps even to a song that is stinging in
your brain. This is not romance. This is not a love song. This
is just the grip of existence. We are the creators of our context.
It is up to us to uncover continuity, symmetry, and motion within our
lives. We must connect our own dots. Our duty is to
create a masterpiece of life, not just slapdash pseudonyms. Our
individual efforts and instances should have the common fate that the
Gestalt psychologists celebrate.
So we sit, subject to our contexts, listening to the sound of the
caves, the soundtrack for life's messages. The railroad tracks hum
and clack, the subway tunnels echo our footsteps and the distant drip
of water, the rooftops mock the traffic below. The drunk and the
junkyard dogs mutter and croon about wasted opportunities. The train
whistle hints of the road not yet taken. The places below or above
our accepted perceptual existence remain mute but for our efforts.
Graffiti reverberates in our heads, in our ears and eyes. The hiss
and smell of freshly sprayed ultra flat black is unforgettable. The
cold metal can and that rhythmic shake and rattle of
steel balls mixing the paint in our hands--combining the tints
and oils from our inner eye onto the surfaces of our reality. Hear
the faint train whistle at midnight, under the street lamp strobing
like a candle dancing with a moth. Listen closely enough and you can
hear your past and future converging in the moment of visual impact.
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