Sunday, December 22, 2013

A sign of the times 2

click photo to enlarge
Walking through London one recent evening I came upon a No Entry sign that had been "artistically augmented". To the white edged red circle with its white central bar someone had added what I took to be a traffic warden. This figure was either looking over or slumped on the central bar and two red hearts were either coming from him (or her), or were the object of his (or her) attention. Clearly the person responsible for the "artwork" was trying to say something but I couldn't for the life of me see what. As far as I was concerned the would-be artist had failed, though I did think that could have been because I wasn't part of his target demographic. Nonetheless I took a photograph of the sign, and, over the past few days, I've wondered a little more about it. But to no avail.

Then it occurred to me to turn to that modern fount of all knowledge that is the world wide web for some enlightenment. So, I typed "London no entry sign graffiti" into an image search box and came up with photographs of the same subject and different "augmentations", perhaps by the same person. They included the white bar as stocks through which a head and arms poked, the white bar as a surf board under someone's arm, a figure in the process of sawing through the white bar and the white bar as an actual bar at which people were drinking. Seeing my example alongside the others it was clear that no deep meaning lurked behind the graffiti, WYSIATI (what you see is all there is), and the highest aim of the artist was whimsy. Banksy has a lot to answer for!

Why have I given this blog post the title, "A sign of the times 2". Well, I was obliquely reminded of another sign that I blogged about in 2009, one that that was unintentionally humorous, to which I'd given the original title.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 23.6mm (63mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
ISO: 800
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On