Eric Fichtl


Art takes many forms, including not-always-authorised tags in our shared public spaces. Some curious signs and interesting murals are also included. Thanks to those who left these messages for the rest of us...

<p>A passing glance at one of Lisbon's hill-climbing trams.</p>
<p>Cutting through the bullshit: 'I don't have Facebook, my life is real'</p>
<p>A graffito near the end of one of the innumerable Venetian alleys curtailed by a canal.</p>
<p>A mock road sign comments on U.S. gun culture.</p>
<p>An unexpected expression of support for Palestine.</p>
<p>Teenage prank? Threat? A black handprint on a wall raises unfortunate allusions to the old <em>mano nera</em> extortion tactics.</p>
<p>This mural on the wall of a squat is part of the Giant Storybook Project by Herakut, a street art duo from Berlin.</p>
<p>An outline commemorating the Argentine journalist José Luis Cabezas, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1997 while investigating a gangster with links to the country's then-president, Carlos Menem. <br /></p><p>Cabezas' murder became an emblematic symbol of corruption at the top levels of government, and the popular slogan 'Don't forget Cabezas' an expression of the public's dismay at official impunity.</p>
<p>A mural commemorating the disappeared victims of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship in Argentina. <br /></p>
<p>Attempts to deface the mural show the staying power of the country's reactionaries – between the 9 and 7 some fascist even scraped AAA, acronym of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, a far-right death squad that emerged in the late Perón years and murdered some 1100-1500 people. Argentina's post-dictatorship judiciary later found the AAA guilty of crimes against humanity.</p>
<p>A confident claim in an alcove along the Spree.<br /></p>
<p>A meta call to arms in Athens' Exarcheia district, referencing <em>La Marseillaise</em> via Serge Gainsbourg.</p>
<p>'Memory' and 'vote blank' – two slogans summarising popular exasperation with the post-dictatorship Argentine political landscape. <br /></p>
<p>In Buenos Aires, a stencil proclaims 'The dingo ate my baby' beside a sticker of a local variant of Shepard Fairey's 'Obey' giant. That is, an Australian mother's cry of despair from a real-life case in 1980, channeled by Meryl Streep in a 1988 US film and amplified to absurdity in 1990s TV series from <em>Seinfeld</em> to <em>The Simpsons</em>, appears alongside a sticker riffing on a US street artist's work (itself a rendering of Andre the Giant, a deceased pro wrestler, paired with a line from a 1988 John Carpenter film, <em>They Live</em>) while invoking the arcane Spanish verb form barely used outside Iberia or churches – and they somehow come together on an electric box in Argentina's capital in 2015. It sort of makes sense. Or not. No idea.</p>
<p>An esoteric message painted on the side of a truck in São Paulo, Brazil.</p>
<p>A mural in San Salvador depicts the suffering and scale of the 1979-1992 civil war that had concluded in a peace agreement just a few years earlier.</p>
<p>Posters in Montevideo denounce current military figures for their role in the country's 1973-1985 military dictatorship: <em>These are torturers. Our memory won't forget, our dignity won't forgive.</em></p>
<p>A wall in Athens bears a call to action for a society floored by the recession and debt service that started in 2009 and dragged on through much of the following decade.</p>
<p>'In democracy and dictatorship, the state tortures you.' A tag capturing a certain Argentine nihilism.</p>
<p>'They flee the country, leaving 140 families in the street and 1300 customers with problems.' Popular outrage at a foreign bank's decision to pull out of Uruguay. The small flyers read 'Eurobanco destabilises the country' and 'Eurobanco fires 140 workers'.</p>
<p>Potential spoiler for that one person who doesn't know the plot point.</p>
<p>A stencil in Moscow.</p>
<p>Portland is a pro-bike, anti-car kind of town – as eloquently stated on this post about local transport options.</p>
<p>'Smoke before life smokes you'. A healthy dose of nihilism on an electric box.</p>
<p>A promising path?</p>
<p>'Your car pollutes my world'. A clear message on a Buenos Aires bench.</p>
<p>A stark warning on a wall in Santiago: 'If the government is capitalist, we will be ungovernable'.</p>
<p>'From the forests we rise like trees. We are river, sun, and wind. Freedom for the Mapuche political prisoners'. A pointed stencil in Santiago.</p>
<p>Umm, right.<br /></p>