Friday, February 5, 2010

Keep your hands off those public places (and your private parks)




Handprints possibly 2000 years old found on cliff walls in Grand Gulch in Utah have got me thinking about vandalism again.

Today Charles Honeycut a California photographer showed me some of his vivid 13 x19 photos of these amazing pictographs.
Is this art? Is this a form of language? Or is this perhaps graffiti?
The Anasazai lived in this rocky landscape building dwellings of stone right in the cliff faces (Todd Campbell tells me that they're maybe the highest concentration of these stone ruins in the US) They did paintings too of people and bizarre animals on the rocky walls that surrounded them. They left their mark there. Prints of hands are dotted over the surface of the rock, as if each of those ancient native americans were saying, "I was here".

This phenomena is a very recognizable tendency throughout the history of mankind. There seems to be a need for individual human expression in some visual form or other within all of us.
Maybe it is all part of why we like building walls so much.

While authorities attempt to preserve the mysterious designs and carvings the Indians 'created' on these walls and caves hundreds of years ago, these are nonetheless acts that, if done today in the same location, would be considered 'defacing' public property and result in prosecution if the culprit could be caught. If it were proved these were your 'hand prints' it would mean getting your hands-cuffed and getting your fingerprints taken and then off to jail with you or more likely community service, making you clean up your messy prints that perhaps in a couple hundred years, might be called 'artistic hand-made designs'. Oh well. Timing is everything.

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