JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for BRITARCH Archives


BRITARCH Archives

BRITARCH Archives


BRITARCH@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

BRITARCH Home

BRITARCH Home

BRITARCH  April 2012

BRITARCH April 2012

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Re: Bad graffiti or good graffiti?

From:

Malcolm J Watkins <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 15 Apr 2012 18:27:19 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (286 lines)

Surely these ships are another example of the family or indeed the sailor 
seeking protection for their loved ones or themselves while at sea, and are 
to be paralleled by not only the same devices in France (see for example 
Dives sur mer exterior, or St Trophgime cloister, Arles (interior) which are 
themselves a simpler or cheaper version of the votive ships actually given 
to the churches - examples seen but precisely where a mystery.

-----Original Message----- 
From: Matthew Champion
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 4:53 PM Subject: Re: Bad graffiti or good 
graffiti?

I simply don't think much of what we discover was offensive, or designed to
be so. If you look at Blakeney church, where John Peake (the grandfather of
the graffiti survey) has been doing amazing work on the hundreds of
inscriptions, it does start to change your perception of how graffiti
inscriptions were viewed. If you look at the many dozens of examples of ship
graffiti to be found in the church you start to notice odd things going on.
All of them are found on the south arcade, although the north arcade also
contains graffiti, and they are heavily concentrated on the easternmost pier
- opposite the side altar and an empty image niche. This pier contains
almost 50 ship images, created over a period of several hundred years, and
no image appears to intentionally cross another. Some are smaller, seemingly
designed to fit the space between the larger ones surrounding them, making
it appear that they respected each others space. When you take into account
that the pier was originally pained a deep red then these ships would have
been highly visible to anyone who entered the church for several hundred
years. None were defaced - suggesting also that they were respected by the
wider congregation and the clerics of the church. The obvious interpretation
is that these ship images were, in some form, votive images. Their exact
meaning remains unclear but they obviously have 'meaning' and 'function',
perhaps as a direct interaction between individual and church as both a
building and institution; an interaction that did not require the
intervention of priest, bishop or pope. This idea of function and meaning is
what, I believe, sets apart many of the earlier inscriptions from the sort
of pure and mindless vandalism witnessed at York.
Matt Champion

-----Original Message-----
From: British archaeology discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: 14 April 2012 13:08
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] York (and elsewhere) suffering from the vandals

Matthew

Fair point and impressive reconstruction, but as I said I was playing
devils advocate. Maybe then to 21st century eyes used to bare stone
spray paint is more offensive.

G
On 14/04/2012 11:07, Matthew Champion wrote:
> Gareth,
> I think the idea that graffiti in the past was less intrusive is not one
> that will hold a lot of water. It is less visible today, at least in
> churches, simply because the environment in which it was viewed has
changed
> so radically. In the first instance you have to remember that, almost
> without exception, the medieval church was painted - a riot of colour so
to
> speak. Even the lower sections of the walls, where no formal paint schemes
> were present (we damp plays merry hell with the pigment), would often have
a
> simple colourwash. We have found a lot of evidence for red and orange
ochre
> as well as carbon black. These areas of wall and pillars appear to have
been
> particularly attractive for graffiti inscriptions at the time. The
majority
> of inscriptions we discover were scratched through this pigment to reveal
> the pale stone beneath - making the inscription highly visible to everyone
> that entered the church. The really interesting thing is that the vast
> majority of these inscriptions were not defaced (with the noted exception
of
> heraldic inscriptions - but that's another story), suggesting that they
were
> not only accepted but were acceptable. I put together a dodgy
reconstruction
> on the website -
>
http://www.medieval-graffiti.co.uk/index_files/pillar-coloured-100-ships.gif
> that gives an idea of how some of this graffiti would have originally
> looked. If anything it is more visible than some of the later examples.
> Matthew Champion.
> Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: British archaeology discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
> Sent: 14 April 2012 10:44
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] York (and elsewhere) suffering from the vandals
>
> Definatly agree with the quote of TP and that we are a society under
> stress- as a York resident for the last 12 years it struck me when I
> first came here  how little graffiti there was in the city centre
> compared to where I had come from down south. I would argue the increase
> in graffiti in York over the last 10 years, particularly in the last 3
> or 4 years,  coincides with an increase in city size but a decrease in
> jobs (unless you want to work in tourism or one of Yorks one every other
> shop cafes, but that is another rant). To play devil's advocate, surely
> it can be argued that at least gafittii in the past was less intrusive,
> it is there but does not stand out in the same way as bright red or
> black spray paint and  this is that make modern graffiti so intrusive
> and the cause of discontent rather than the act of graffiti itself; if
> someone scratched there tag or message into the wall as in the 14th
> century it might have gone unnoticed, or if noticed not stood out.
> Perhaps we also don't want to admit to the fact that society is on the
> rocks......Pessimism on a Saturday morning- can't beat it!
>
> Gareth
>
>
> On 14/04/2012 09:40, Matthew Champion wrote:
>> It does raise some interesting questions doesn't it? Questions that we
> have
>> had to address, albeit obliquely, as part of the Norfolk Graffiti survey.
>> Yes a few centuries does transform a piece of vandalism into an important
>> documentary record. However, it doesn't have to be a few centuries. Some
> of
>> the most interesting examples we come across date to WWII and, like the
>> modern examples, tend to be names (tags?) that would identify the
creator.
>> However, a couple of points I would flag up for consideration.
>> 1. Many of the early graffiti examples we discover are clearly devotional
> in
>> nature - and are not of the tag/name variety (which may be equated with
>> memorial inscriptions to some extent).
>> 2. At what point does mindless vandalism become art? Graffiti is widely
> seen
>> as a destructive process. Banksy has clearly gone far beyond the realms
of
>> what we would normally think of as graffiti and, I would argue, has
turned
>> something largely regarded as destructive into something that is clearly
>> creative. I think that part of the problem is the label -'Graffiti'. I
> would
>> no more associate the work of street artists such as Banksy with the
>> mindless vandals who daub ancient monuments than I would my own telephone
>> pad doodles with the sketches of Leonardo. The process is the same but
the
>> intentions of the creator and the end result may be very different
indeed.
>> 3. Lastly, I think it worth highlighting something that we have started
to
>> notice both in early Norfolk graffiti and elsewhere. In our surveys we
> have
>> begun to notice two things. Firstly, that graffiti (of whatever period)
>> attracts further graffiti. Therefore is a site already contains some
>> graffiti, of whatever period, then that particular wall or pillar will
> most
>> probably be the site of subsequent graffiti inscriptions - including
> modern
>> ones. Therefore, when we enter a church and see fairly modern graffiti it
> is
>> usually he first place we look for earlier examples. Secondly, we have
> also
>> begun to recognise that certain time periods or eras tend to generate
more
>> graffiti than others. We have termed them chronological hot-spots. I have
>> already mentioned WWII - but there are other earlier periods. WWI,
opening
>> decades of the 19th century, 1640-50, 1530-50, 1450-1490 and the middle
of
>> the 14th century. You will all recognise the dates. In essence, we are
>> beginning to see a distinct increase in identifiable graffiti inscription
>> from historical periods of social dysfunction and stress. Put simply,
when
>> 'things go bad' people start writing on the walls. What then does that
> tell
>> us about our modern cities? As the great social historian Terry Pratchett
>> once wrote - 'we ignore the writing on the walls at our peril'.
>> Matthew Champion,
>> Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey.
>> www.medieval-graffiti.co.uk
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: British archaeology discussion list
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>> On Behalf Of Malcolm J Watkins
>> Sent: 14 April 2012 09:03
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] York (and elsewhere) suffering from the vandals
>>
>> Should we be surprised by this?
>> I used to have to deal with such idiots on the city's monuments,
including
>> one case of arson. I now offer a talk on the broad subject of when does
>> vandalism become an historical document - which is itself an interesting
>> take. The work in Norfolk indicates the difference that the odd century
> can
>> make, while I have enjoyed with only modest success tracking the
> perpetrator
>> of a graffito on a tree in a local beauty spot. He did it around about
the
>> time of the D-Day invasions and subsequently returned to Schenectady, NY.
>> My real anger is addressed to those fools on the 'right' side of society
> who
>> encourage such madness. Anyone who went to see the Banksy(ie?) exhibition
> at
>> Bristol, for example, is condoning (not to say encouraging) such criminal
>> behaviour. The museum authorities do not seem to have appreciated the
> irony
>> of throwing all responsibility to the winds in favour of blatant
>> visitor-numbers and commercialism, but if the same act were to be
>> perpetrated on their own property the reaction might be different.
>> The implication is that graffiti artists can become celebrities and
> wealthy,
>> whereas they should simply be erased as a species along with their
> rubbish.
>> My other worry is that these people are not, by and large, shrinking
>> violets. They actually want people to notice them, and therefore use
> 'tags'
>> to identify themselves. Yet such blatant self-aggrandisement seems
> incapable
>> of leading to their apprehension and punishment. In these days of social
>> media, is this really logical? I would argue that these people are
> probably
>> generally identifiable and ought to be traceable through such identities,
>> yet even when (as seems the case with the afore-mentioned individual)
>> identities are known, what happens?
>> Presumably at least one of the perpetrators at York uses the Guns and
> Roses
>> (I assume) motif as his/her tag?
>> Should lead to a quick arrest then.........
>> Ducks flying pig.
>> Malcolm
>>
>> Malcolm J Watkins, BA, AMA, MIFA
>> Director,
>> Heritage Matters,
>> www.heritagematters.co.uk
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Robert Smith"<[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 3:06 PM
>> Subject: York (and elsewhere) suffering from the vandals
>>
>>
>> Dear All
>>
>> Considering the recent run of vandalism on historic buildings I am
> surprised
>> this has not recieved much comment on Britarch. The BBC is reporting of
>> another defacement of York's heritage by vandals.
>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-17700654.
>>
>> This is an increasing problem in York
>>
>
http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/8119371.Clifford_s_Tower_in_York_defaced_by_
>> graffiti/.
>>    But at least for one attack on Clifford's Tower they got someone for
>> that http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-12822480
>>
>>
>> These incident caused some comment on the BBC
>> http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17420530
>>
>> Begining to think this fair city is on the slide as grafitti, not just
>> on the heritage sites but elsewhere is on the increase- sounding like a
>> grumpy old man but 10 years age, even five years ago graffitti in the
>> city centre was rare and certainly would not have appeared on historic
>> buildings.
>>
>>
>> I suppose the question is what can be done about it?
>>
>> Rob
>>
>>

-- 

Gareth Dean, Field Officer


York Archaeological Trust for Excavation and Research Limited
Registered Office: 47 Aldwark, York, UK, YO1 7BX
A Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in England No. 1430801
Registered Charity No. 509060

General Enquiries:  +44 (0)1904 663000
Fax:  +44 (0)1904 663024
Email:[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Web:http://www.yorkarchaeology.co.uk 

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JISCMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998


WWW.JISCMAIL.AC.UK

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager