Post #4 | Noah Burson
In an effort to combat Graffiti in the urban setting, there are protective coatings being developed to allow for an ease to the process of removal. These products range from wax sacrificial coatings to materials like the CLEARKY 105 which is a permanent aluminum sheet (in images below). The application of these materials allows for Graffiti to be power washed or scraped off up to 15 times without any reduction in quality. This material is one of the first ways that cities can get in front of the application of Graffiti on public buildings and urban space. However, I question what the application of this material will mean for the expression of building materials and the conservation of Graffiti.
The expression of material is important in the design of a building. Will the application of Graffiti proof coatings undermine the intention of a designer’s intent to express material qualities of surface? The sacrificial coating made of wax has a one wash lifetime. While the building material it is applied to may be visible behind its application, the tactile qualities will be changed. If we look to the permanent applications of this, they completely change the aesthetic and physical qualities of the surface. At this point the intention of the designer, to wherever this material is being applied, is being covered up for the sole purpose of keeping an easy to wash surface. Would a better way to apply these materials be in the building stages? If designers could incorporate materials that had these qualities into their original design of buildings, it wouldn’t need to be cladded onto the exterior. Why hasn’t this technology been applied to building materials?
Our urban space will loose something with the absence of graffiti. Graffiti is a very fleeting art that can be seen as destruction of property or a full expression of urban space. In Scotland the owners of a castle commissioned graffiti artists to cover the 13th century building with the intention of it being removed after three years. The art work became so popular and valuable to people that the removal has been postponed while discussion continues. Does this mean that if graffiti is beautifully applied than we are willing to have it in sight? Perhaps the removal of paint on these surfaces just allows for a regeneration of my different graffiti pieces on clean fresh canvases rather than it being layering on.