Off Line Texting

Posted on February 4, 2010

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I’ve been making a habit of taking photos of public attempts at off-line broadband communication. Its easy to forget we live in a physical world, with a multitude of surfaces, canvas and de facto view screens with which to communicate to thousands of random people daily. The dangers inherent in this form of texting are similar to those found in cloud computing, in that your messages are often owned by soulless corporation. Unlike cloud computing, however, you are not actually paying them to store your data. In fact, they are often paying someone to erase it. So, I took some pictures for posterity, which is a good thing, because some of these have already been eliminated, their brief moment in human visual history evaporated.

Home2Roost: Someone was leaving these roosters all over the place and in all kinds of colors and poses. This one was convenient as it was huge and placed right around the block on Peralta. What was nice about it was the reflective white paint, which caught the flash I used and made the outline glow. You may recognize it from my home page banner. I kept meaning to photo some more, but they’re all gone now, including this one. Guess what they replaced it with? Yes, more brown. You’re  welcome.

When the War is Over: I actually did a U Turn right at the fork of Shattuck in Berkeley to get this one; it had been so long since I’d seen a billboard defaced with a subversive message. I really thought that people had stopped doing it. After all, who wants to get their hands dirty and/or risk arrest when they can just facebook. I’m glad this person took the time, and I’m glad I turned around and got it when I did, because it was gone the next day, resurfaced with a Pharma Ad for anti-flatulence medication or something.

Leaf in Amber: I was walking my dog at Emeryville’s Blowjob Park when I found this. Its an odd place: right on the freeway, at the end of town; convenient for anonymous sex, but also for ski jumping and frisbee football. Anyway, someone took the time out from whatever regular activity they do there to make a statement. Not sure what it is, but its beautiful nonetheless.

Now for the toilet portion of our show:

In Roll Form: Not your average toilet for grafitti. Though its on the Berkeley Campus, you need a code to get into this restroom, and there are dozens of old and unworking codes floating around, and no one really knows how to get in. I managed to follow one of the chosen few–who must be important to have been given an updated code. Perhaps he has a subcutaneous marker, like that guy in A Beautiful Mind. Okay, so its not exactly original, but it is astute. The funniest part was that there were only a few sheets of toilet paper left in the roll. Well, not actually funny at the time.


Homage to Rutabaga: Whereas most grafitti is self-aggrandizing iconography, some bomber/gardening enthusiast decided instead to create an homage to root vegetables on the inside of the bathroom door at Mama Buzz on Telegraph. Big Up Turnips.

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