The History of Communism


A merry little anarchist with a red spray-can has gone on a rampage through Kelburn*, spraying a classic anarchy symbol on the bus shelter (reminding me, for some reason, of how bus shelters are always drawn in British comics from the ’80s) and decorating several stretches of private property with short and pithy slogans. The recently cleaned wall on Plunket St now declares “I ♥ ART“. Deliberately creating something unpleasant to the eye seems a strange way to proclaim it.

Aha, but it is art, isn’t it? Not only is defacing private property (see above) self-expression, but if you read it properly it’s actually an installation piece about the history of Communism. First, the bright red paint. The slogans begin near the university – “LONG LIVE ART“. The people revolt against the tyranny of their masters – by spraying over a vital road sign. They become politicised with “LONG LIVE ANARCHY” and “GOVT. SUX“, culminating in a declaration of anarchy. The church’s sign is (disturbingly) defaced. The Trotskyists declare “I ♥ ART” and are promptly expelled. Then, like all revolutions, it falls apart:


YOU’RE A CUNT” indeed.

Of course, this analogy only works if you read the trail of messages from east to west. If you read it from west to east it becomes the childish scrawlings of a utterly middle-class tossy vandal who enjoys creating ugliness for the sake of it.

*One red spray-can is all it takes.

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