Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the dangerous mathematical formula of finance

This is not an inkblot test but if it was a Rorschach Test what might this waterscape on a misty morning say about your emotional state? Calm? Depressed? Dismal? Soft? What? I took this photo from the overpass looking down at the breakwater in Lake Superior.

People see different things in the landscape around them, and read things differently. Some read way too much into what's before them. For example, in Toronto, an artist's mural on a railway underpass wall, which he was paid by the city to paint, was erased this Monday by the same city, which "used grey and white paint to completely blot out the mathematical formula incorporating Morse code symbols and grim-faced businessmen with yellow halos" because, because why?

Because one person complained that it was a political message with an anti-Stephen Harper message:

Elyse Parker, a director in [Toronto] city’s transportation services department, said the artwork was erased after a resident complained it was political. City records suggested the older north wall mural was commissioned, but not the one on the south wall, she said.

“This was not approved by the city and we would not endorse any kind of mural with political messaging,” she said. “There was some discussion that the mural referred to Stephen Harper. That’s the suggestion, that’s what it looked like to us.”

Richardson [the artist] says the mural “had nothing to do with Stephen Harper” — while it is “subversive and anti-freewheeling capitalism” — and his friend Benjamin Blais was the model for the businessman.

Good grief. What sort of censorship is this? Isn't art supposed to provoke reactions? Get people to think? Shouldn't we have MORE art like this that challenges people to think about what they're living inside of? Participating in?

This over-reaction says something about the conservative mindset that is in power in Toronto's municipal government. See the "offensive" artwork below:
which now looks more like this:
Seriously, I think some folks working for Toronto City Hall need to have their heads examined. Either that or someone needs to make some art about it.....maybe Joel Richardson, the artist of the dangerous math of capitalism will get paid to make more art now thanks to the city's really stupid move that's sure to create quite the buzz........


Merche Pallarés said...

Unbelievable!!! The first misty, melancholic picture inspired peace, tranquility, but the rest of your information, depressed and angered me! How stupid can Torontonians get!! Because of ONE complaint they rubbed out the mural?? Unbelievable. Hugs, M.

P.S. Now that I'm back home and, once I'm organized, I'll be back to read and see the links I've missed.

Tasnim said...

Shame that this was painted over...don't understand what was offensive about it?

northshorewoman said...

hello Merche and Tasnim,

This wiping out of street art has created a lot of discussion in Toronto, especially challenging 'the powers that be' to think beyond 'vandalism' to art and community actions.

Tasnim, I haven't been able to access your blog. I was interested to read what you had been writing about Libya. I am dismayed about how the Nato forces have used Libya for their own purposes. Especially Canada--what a shame that we have become some aggressors.

Tasnim said...

I switched to wordpress, I blog at http://majjal.wordpress.com :)

I've written a lot about Libya there and it is a difficult and complex issue, but at its core my position has been to support those on the ground and actually under attack. It would be hypocritical for me to be outside Libya, far from the threat of Gaddafi's brigades, and do otherwise.

It is of course in Gaddafi's interests to depict this as a NATO-led crusade against "Libya." That doesn't reflect the reality on the ground. There's a reason the revolution is referred to by the date Feb 17 - it didn't begin with the intervention. This is a popular uprising against a brutal regime, which needs to be seen in context of the wider regional awakening.