Why graffiti is so annoying and… powerful

Now I want to preface these remarks by saying that my thoughts on this subject have not been influenced by anything like a scientific study or even from a learned source of any kind, nay not even wikipedia.

I’ve noticed that when you are looking around in a landscape your eyes are naturally drawn to the written word.

It’s as if our eyes seek out letters and try and discern some meaning, to make sense of the world.

I first noticed this when I was pregnant.

You see I can read anywhere at anytime.

In a car, on a bus, on the back of a motorbike and I never get carsick.

Unless I’m with child.

(what a lovely phrase that is)

When I’m in the first trimester, reading even a word while travelling makes me feel nauseous.

In fact, that’s usually the first sign I’m up the duff.

And of course my eyes seemed to be drawn to every word in the landscape.

Street signs, billboards, graffiti.

Those days are over, but they did alert me to this phenomenon that as humans we seek to decode our world.

And words in the landscape act as captions for what we see.

Of course many of them don’t make sense, but it doesn’t stop our eyes finding them.

And that’s why I think graffiti is so annoying and powerful.

Simply because you can’t not see it.

Even when you try and ignore it, your eyes won’t let you.

One Reply to “Why graffiti is so annoying and… powerful”

  1. I wish I could read anywhere. Trains, planes, and big overnight ferries in Europe are about all I can manage.

    Buses, cars, and smaller boats are completely out of the question. On my last trip to Rottnest I couldn’t even listen to music, the rocking of the ferry was making me so sick. I haven’t tried reading on the back of a motorbike. Perhaps I should see how I manage on my pushbike?

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