June 22nd, 2010
It’s funny how things work out…
I can’t even count the number of Peel Youth Violence Prevention Working Group and Steering Committee meetings I’ve sat in on since their inaugural March 2007. Then there was observing four (bogus) Mississauga Youth Plan meetings. And sitting in on Peel Regional Council meetings when the Peel Youth Charter or youth issues were on the agenda. And myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy but the adults talked. And talked. And talked.
But the very youth that the politicians and bureaucraPs were entrusted to help just never showed. Indeed, in the case of the City of Mississauga, steps were taken to ensure that “bad youth” had better think twice if they wanted their say. You know, the two percent youth that Hazel McCallion does not consider “good youth”. The “two percent” youth that our public institutions loathe.
As readers know I began studying Brampton/Mississauga graffiti back in April 2009. Since then I’ve compiled hundreds of photographs and many hours of videotape. I will never post the majority of the material because I know the images can be used as evidence against a graffer or tagger should he ever get caught.
Researching graffiti absolutely catapulted my understanding of the “bad youth” that our public institutions prefer didn’t exist.
Oh, but what a researcher can learn from graffiti and tags! You get this new way of seeing —and you’re richer for it.
I find myself touring Mississauga examining walls and fences and surfaces, thinking, “Now there’s prime real estate for a tag. I wonder why there isn’t one…” Best of all this study of graffiti has taught me to see the City as no middle class muddler can hope to. With such clarity! Graffiti is Real!
I’ve learned a lot about graffiti through the simple act of documenting it. But the true insights into the world of the graffer/tagger come through direct email via YouTube. What I feel blessed about is that graffers took a chance to contact me. To tip me off to graffiti locations. To explain the symbols, the language. But mostly to teach me the psychology of their sub-culture —the adrenalin rush of a successful night out with their graffiti crew.
Which brings us to…
Last week one of our graffiti study sites was obliterated. Some grafs at this location had “08” for dates suggesting they had been up for almost two years. Why the Big Erase now? I suspect it’s got to do with MUNICIPAL ELECTION TIME. Either way —gone.
As of today we’re starting a new tradition. Whenever one of our graffiti study sites goes down, MISSISSAUGAWATCH will document its demise for the record. We’ll also “resurrect” BEFORE pics/video of what the graffiti and tags had looked like. That way these youth graffiti-voices aren’t completely lost.
So. Here’s the video. Followed by transcript.
YouTube Video, “MISSISSAUGA GRAFFITI REMOVED: Comparative (Before Erase. May 27, 2009. After Erase. June 19, 2010)” 3:11 min
MISSISSAUGAWATCH (at our study site after graffiti was removed June 19, 2010):
It is June the 19th, 2010 and this is the —what’s left of the graffiti wall here at the past the .
I had documented the graffiti here. It’s been erased. Gone. As has a lot of the material at the front. And what’s interesting is, this week —say Monday/Tuesday, Councillor Nando Iannicca sent out a Councillor’s Report that had a rather prominent little column on graffiti.
And, gosh, it wasn’t two days after that I noticed the graffiti that had been here for a long, long time had been erased.
Photos and video clips of what the graffiti looked like back on May 27, 2009.
And two Before and Afters.
And of course…
Funny. The May 2009 footage represents the first record I have of MIOH/MYOH and I only discovered that during the preparation of this video! Note too the few additions between May 2009 and April 2010. That means both HACR and MYOH got nailed at this site!
I can tell you this. Removal in no way discouraged them. On the same day I discovered this graffiti site removed, I noticed HACR and MYOH in several new locations. It’s very very clear that they learned a lesson though —and adapted accordingly!
The Mississauga Muse