‘Different Folks, Different Strokes’: goINDIGO 2022’s «Creators vs Academics» Discussion Round
During the first discussion round of goINDIGO 2022, which took place on Thursday, 12 May and was called Creators vs Academics, four local graffiti creators were invited to consider a series of (potentially provocative) statements in discussion with symposium participants (joining in-person and online). The statements, compiled by Geert Verhoeven in consultation with Samuel Merrill, were:
Academia CHANGES graffiti
Graffiti MUST be recorded
ALL graffiti are archive-worthy
Graffiti NEED categorisation
Digital media are ESSENTIAL
The four attending graffiti creators agreed to participate following their contact and invitation via Instagram. When introducing themselves, each conveyed their own, often close, relationship to the Donaukanal as well as their different levels of experience and exposure within Vienna’s wider graffiti scene. JANER ONE (active since 2012), for instance, took hope from doing graffiti in “tough times” and identified the Donaukanal as a really big playground—”it does not have many rules, and the few rules it has, you must pick up by yourself”—and a site of graffiti history. MANUEL SKIRL (active since 2006) meanwhile recounted how the openness and inclusiveness of the Donaukanal offered the chance to begin creating and, in time, to develop a personal style in “more artistic” directions. SERT (active since 2009) highlighted moving to Vienna partly to be close to the Donaukanal after growing up in a “pretty small village” in the countryside. SNUF’s (active since 2012) first piece was at the prestigious Donaukanal, the “best art gallery of the city with almost daily changing exhibitions”. Each of the four brought their personal, ‘inside’ perspectives to the discussion of the selected statements that is recorded in the following text. This text is not, however, a verbatim nor sequential account of that discussion. Firstly, although retaining the ‘feel’ of the discussion has been prioritised, the text has been edited for readability, and some superfluous content removed. Secondly, as is often the way with the most exploratory of dialogues, the main topic of conversation shifted quickly and regularly. Thus, although the six statements were originally detailed by Merrill (in his capacity as moderator) following a preamble at the start of the discussion round, in this text these statements (and their more detailed elaborations) have been chronologically redeployed to structure the text in a manner that might better serve the reader. The reordering of the transcription in this way means that in some places the text does not always flow consecutively in the way it did during the discussion. These places are indicated by […] and they do not only represent hops forward, but also hops backward in time.
Finally, it is essential to know that all authors—of which none was a minor—have read this text and confirmed in writing that they were fine with their statements. This agreement notwithstanding, one must understand that these statements were raised in a lively discussion and must also be understood and treated this way.