Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In the Media: Dam Graffiti!

These photos are of a bit of graffiti that's been making news around the globe. The simple artwork appeared recently on a dam near Ojai, California.

It seems to be a simple statement: a pair of scissors in the middle of a dotted line, placed atop of a dam as if to suggest cutting the dam open. However, as the Los Angeles Times reports, this piece of graffiti is far more than just a witty tag. It's a powerful political commentary on an obsolete dam that many locals want torn down. Here’s what the Times had to say about the situation:
    Matilija Dam was built in 1947 for flood control and water storage. But officials say it was flawed from the outset. For decades, it’s been holding back silt as much as water, depriving beaches 17 miles downstream of the sand they need to replenish themselves. It’s also been deemed a huge obstacle for steelhead trout, an endangered species that was once a trophy fish luring anglers from across the country.
    Officials say they don’t know who painted the shears, and they’re careful to note that such acts — even in the name of art — are illegal and dangerous. The dam is challenging enough that rescue squads use it for climbing practice, pounding in metal anchors that may have aided the scissors hands.

    But even if the painting is no more legal than garden-variety graffiti, some say it speaks to the takedown’s glacial pace.

    “We’ve studied this to death and talked about it forever,” said Paul Jenkin of the Matilija Coalition, an alliance of community groups pushing for the dam’s removal. “There’s very strong support from the community, and that’s part of what we’re seeing with the graffiti.”
It's going to be very intriguing to see how this story play out. Although unlikely that the art will be the drop that breaks the dam, it has gone a long way towards bring this local issue into the global limelight. That in itself would seem to be a enormous accomplishment in and of itself.

Source: L.A. Times

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