Reverse Graffiti

We first came across reverse graffiti -- the process of removing dirt from walls to create art -- on inhabitat.

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Reverse graffiti by Moose as part of an ad campaign by GreenWorks in San Francisco (via inhabitat)

Further reading was definitely required, and a post about reverse graffiti on Scholars and Rogues brings up some interesting points:

  • The medium is dirt – pollution on infrastructure, if you will. The “canvas” is a function of the very air we’re slowly choking on and it’s just about impossible to create a piece that doesn’t, at some level, embed a comment on environmental degradation.
  • Even more interesting, though, is that reverse graffiti is fighting a two-front war to survive. It can be destroyed by cleaning (the macro application of the very technique that created it) or by the continued accumulation of pollution, which generated the canvas in the first place.
  • One can’t help wondering at the socio-political implications embedded in the genre: your regular old garden variety spray can graffiti is illegal – it’s vandalism – but you can hardly be arrested for cleaning a wall, or parts of it, can you? (Although I guess a duly motivated gendarmery could find something to hassle you with, like creating a public disturbance or something – the cops do appear in the video below.) So there’s perhaps a cheeky resistance gesture underneath it all, as well.

Keep reading to see more of our favorites:

Reverse graffiti by Alexandre Orion in Sao Paulo (via inhabitat)

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Reverse graffiti by Dutch Ink in Durban (via inhabitat)


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