Editorial: On Defensiveness…

Nota Bene: This editorial post represents the vision of one sole yarnbomber, and may not reflect other’s opinions.

Photo from Knit The City, London UK

Yarn Bombing, literally the soft side of Street Art. But to what extent? I find myself wondering if the numerous and constant justification that ‘wrapping with yarn’ is not as damagable as ‘real villan painted’ Graffiti or Street Art is doing much good. Of course, this is how you would defend your practise if caught by the police or security, but do we need to advertise yarnbombing this way?

Don’t get me wrong, I would love for everyone to appreciate Yarn Bombing as much as I do. But I disagree with convincing the general audience by emphasizing how ‘harmless’ urban knitting is. I would rather draw attention onto other arguments such as the importance of creating a direct dialogue between crafters/artists and citizens, revitalizing communities through collective workshops and discussion tables, accessibilizing artworks to the street level for the non-museum-goers, fighting the capitalist system by putting time into something given for free, etcetera.

The Yarn Bombing community might be filled with apolitical folks, it is still just as illegal as all other types of street art, even reverse graffiti, are illegal. We must remember the existance of such a practise is quite inextricably linked with the History of what I like to call Art Vandalism. The ”We’re not doing anything wrong” argument to me is irrelevent. Rightfullness is clearly something of personnal judgement and moral in these 21st century days, and the law is more often than not judged wrong. Stencils, stickers, poster art or any other type of material used for Street Art is just as right as is Yarn Bombing. We gotta stop differencing ourselves with ‘harmful’ Graffiti and embrace our roots. Bombing, tagging; the terminology of our movement is the very proof we come from the Graffiti tradition.

Yes, Graffiti. that loathed urban self-expression movement that instantly ‘decays’ a neighborhood. Well if you appreciate Yarn Bombing, think again of what Graffiti does to your city. Both movements are about aesthetically personnalizing a sterile public space with it’s inhabitants’ visible presence. They reclaim the streets, the anti-corporate way. I agre with the un-artistic look of the majority of the Graffiti, but where do you draw the line? When is an elaborate piece good enough to be called Art and when is another left behind? These questions are almost impossible to answer, and they help me accept the presence of Tags and Throwies.


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