Noxious Sector Projects
312 S. Washington St.
Seattle WA 98104

Ingrid Mary Percy

Translocal Ephemeral Cultural Appliqué

Experimentations With and Of the Real 

By Jackson 2bears    

Perhaps the reason 'graffiti' or 'street art' sits at the far end of the spectrum from exhibitions currated in our contemporary art galleries is not really because it is (too) socially transgressive, but rather because it problematizes the semiotics of representation. In fact, graffiti art could be said to have nothing whatsoever to do with representation; rather it operates within the logic of territorialization, first for the reason it is necessarily site-specific, and second because of its 'dimensionality' which is oriented towards an experimentation (verses representation) with (not of) the real.   

Imagine you are painting a picture of a landscape ... brush in hand and your easel in position, you gaze out at that which lies before you on other side of the canvas. With inspired strokes you render in pigment all that lies within your artistic scope: the majestic mountain range that meets the clear blue sky, and the calm river that reflects all the colours of the autumn leaves on the trees. Regardless of how you choose to render this landscape (either in a hyper-realistic or abstract manner) what you are engaged in is an act of representation -- an act of representation, as Baudrillard said, that maintains the principle of equivalence or différance between the sign (the painting) and the real (the landscape).  

By contrast, with graffiti art the artist seeks not the creative representation of a space, but to rather inscribe, etch and scratch their message onto to the landscape itself, thus entering into a different kind of dialogue with the space and the territory. This is to say that the art is not 'representative' (even if recognizable as an image in-itself), but rather it becomes part of an assemblage or territorial motif that is constituted by its spatiality and dimensionality (which is to say its site-specificity).  

With Translocal Ephemeral Cultural Appliqué, artist Ingrid Mary Percy takes to problematizing the codes of representation one step further, extracting a piece of graffiti art from one urban location and transposing it onto another. If graffiti art is an act of territorialization, then Percy's project is to further decode the semiotics of location and spatiality, resulting in a project about the deterritorialization of landscapes themselves. No more are we talking about inter-relationships between the sign and the real and the semiotics of representation; instead, we are talking about a manner of creative expression about the transformation and deterritorialization of public spaces that result from the artists' experimentation with the reproducibility and dislocation of landscapes -- an experiment both with and of the real, which might cause us to question not only our effect on the landscapes in which we are immersed, but also how we are effected by them.