I noticed this the other day, too.
To add a new spin to this, has anyone drawn the connection between the sidewalk writings and the graffiti on the back of the stall door on the first floor men’s bathroom?
The writings are pretty much exactly the same. This was probably a project to replicate what was on the door.
Now the piece makes sense. I’m a girl, I don’t use the men’s bathroom. The project seems to be about replicating the hidden and making it public. It seems to be about asking what the impact of the statements on the bathroom walls would be if it was made public.
Note to authors/artists: it would have been nice to know that. My understanding, from an informal poll, is that the men’s and women’s bathroom are vastly different here at Stanford. For example, not a lot of writing on the bathroom walls going on, so the reference to writing on the bathroom walls slipped past me. Also apparently, women’s bathrooms have more private stalls. Without the context I though the content expressed your views. Maybe next time say what your referencing more explicitly? The comments were offensive and without the context of what you were doing it seemed like a bunch of random comments with some offensive speech thrown in.
Also, to those who say I’m calling for censorship. I was pointing out that, as I perceived it, the art project wasn’t art but merely banality due to its reliance on offensive speech . Never in my writing did I call for censorship. Calling something banal and offensive or sexist, racist, or homophobic is not censorship. Calling a piece of art offensive can lead to a discussion, particularly about art (since this seemed to be an art project) about whether the community feels the art should stay in place or be removed. Also, questioning whether or not something is art (and I originally felt it wasn’t art) is good.
The writing on the men’s bathroom wall – not art, and also offensive. The words and expressions written down are homophobic, racist, and sexist. The replication of the bathroom wall, to, I’m supposing, reveal and expose, this hidden sentiment of vitriol seems to be art (again I would say to the artists, give a context so people know what your intention is). And is actually kinda scary.
These comments are written in anonymity (kinda like internet comments). People writing on the bathroom walls can express their sentiments without fear of being exposed as the author. In the men’s restroom, you can even suppose the authors can write without fear of a fellow female student seeing the comments and jokes.
The writings have been exposed, but the authors are still anonymous.
I apologize to the artists for thinking that the content expressed their views.
I’m used to walking through campus and seeing random bits of shout outs written in chalk on the pavement. For instance, today, ROHO is out in force (with a website to boot).
However, what I saw yesterday morning has me wondering about the line between provocation, art, sexism, racism, and banality. When does an attempt at art become vitriol? Are random sexist and racist statements really art?
As I was walking to Meyer from Escondido I encountered the following:
Hungry (with arrow pointing to)
Talk to me
Brandi hearts Justin
My husband flicks his tongue like a dyke
Right there, out in the middle of the walkway, a word often used to silence women and dismiss them. A way of disenfranchising lesbians. An ugly word without context. Was this part of a poem, then which poem? Part of a larger statement somewhere? I had no context in which to judge the statement. “My husband flicks his tongue like a dyke.” Dyke, a lesbian who is noticeably masculine. A woman who has transgressed social gender norms. A way of othering both lesbians and women. A word often used to silence them
As I continued towards Meyer a mangled references to the sound of silence by Paul Simon “the words of the prophet are written on the bathroom stalls.” It sounded like someone was trying to be deep, but the prior chalk outlines (with the arrows pointing me to Meyer) made it just banal. Pompous. Mental masturbation. Someone thinking they were deep because they used offensive language.
As I looked at the writing to I saw references to Andrew Jackson Pollock as a blind guardian of culture and words “ see my face on a $20 Bill Smallpox, genocidal American quilts, etc.” There was an arrow with salad written inside. It looked as if several individuals had been writing quotes and then writing to each other and quotes and responses cover the walkway.
I know this shit isn’t great but what exactly do you get when griffens and Cardinals mate
UGLY OVEREDUCATED ONES
Well, the bitches at this place are that’s for sure (arrow pointing to overeducated)
The message: women at Stanford are ugly, overeducated bitches. Bitch. A female dog. Another word used to dismiss women. A way to devalue opinions of educated women. You are an ugly, overeducated bitch. In my mind I hear “…and I don’t have to listen to you.”
Was the intent provocation? If so what were they provoking? Against the context it was just offensive speech.
does she really matter so much?
No, actually your gay
Holy Shit! I’m bi!
Men don’t have feelings, feelings, according to the creators of this piece are gay. The use of gay as a pejorative. Gay as bad. Gay as an identity used to denigrate the original remark. I don’t know what to make of the “Holy Shit! I’m bi!” Is this dismissive of bisexuality? I can’t know everything is out of context and just a random juxtaposition of quotes, which use homophobic statements
Then it seemed political
Obama (with cross through it) Never!
Ok, someone doesn’t want Obama for president. In the context of everything else this stood out. No other political candidate was referenced.
You walk behind the faculty club and find a prof smoking pot behind a tree
most likely to be there
What does it mean to juxtapose the first African American presidential candidate against characters in stoner movies. Is this code for black men=drug dealers. This would complete the trinity of sexism, homophobia, and racism. But I’m not sure. Election primaries clouds the message. But Obama is the only presidential candidate referenced here.
The blocks of text sprawled across the the pavement seemed like they were supposed to be art, but were merely banally offensive.
I apologize for the crappy photos, it was hard to get them to come out with the glare.
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.
– The Sound of Silence by Paul Simon