Tagging as Lazy Technique: On the Politics of Art as Work
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This article looks at the graffiti practice known as “tagging”—and, more specifically, “scratching” or “scratch tagging”—as a social phenomenon that can aid the thinking through of potential resistance to the hegemony of what is sometimes referred to as entrepreneurial subjectivity. While much interesting work has been produced on more “artistic” forms of graffiti—as have been made famous by stencil artists such as Banksy—there is very little work that looks to read scratch tagging as a form of political artistic practice, albeit one that emerges unconsciously and outside of what is commonly designated as the “art world.” Given that the figure of the contemporary artist is so wedded to the flows of international capital, it is worthwhile considering how the scratch tagger unconsciously engages in what the contemporary theorist Maurizio Lazzarato has referred to as “lazy techniques:” that is, forms of practice that are not circumscribed within the dominant logics of utility and productivity and are, accordingly, potentially resistant to the logics underpinning neoliberal capital.
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