Seems the ‘council’s holding votes on Banksy pieces’ idea is spreading, this time to the London Borough of Sutton, article with photo here. A bit less sophisticated than the technology Bristol used a few years back, just an email address to send your comments to, but none the less unrepresentative for that.
On the one hand, hoorah. People are getting involved, power to the people, blah blah blah.
On the other hand, there’s just no clarity at all about what’s going on here. If this was a genuine exercise in democracy and public opinion, then surely things would be set out a bit more clearly. Quite apart from whether you agree with the council’s statement about ‘mindless tagging’ (when generally tagging does have a mind behind it, just not one some people agree with), what criteria has been used to select this particular piece for public vote? Since they’ve dubbed it ‘work such as this’ in contrast to ‘mindless tagging’, the criteria doesn’t seem to be particularly sophisticated.
In effect, it just looks like a council that’s running scared of a PR disaster now Banksy’s ‘famous’, but at the same time one that’s unprepared to look at all the other elements of the graf culture, why it happens, what people support and don’t support on a much wider scale.
Ironic in a way, given the piece itself seems to be taking the piss out of the unthinking ‘out of the box’ approach to graf that’s spread so far over the last few years. An unthinking and confused response to a piece about being unthinking and confused. How postmodern.