Graffiti In The Film Infamy

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In the film Infamy, viewers see key conflicts between contemporary graffiti writers who consciously subvert the police and law enforcement efforts to remove graffiti. Firstly, the film illustrates that writers thwart police surveillance by choosing to tag in highly visible urban locations. Secondly, Infamy viewers understand that civilians have enforced the law by removing illegal graffiti from a variety of surfaces. Lastly, this documentary points out that regional differences in policing allowed graffiti to spread from the train yards and subway cars of New York to freight train cars further west. Although graffiti thrives because writers have confronted the police in New York and covered less-patrolled regions outside the city, civilians…show more content…
Writers have decided to make art on the streets because the city has forced graffiti out of the subway; many taggers are fleeing Vandal Squad officers that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) designated to apprehend people who write graffiti. Founded in 1980, the Vandal Squad seeks to catch people who illegally write on walls in subway stations and on subway trains; it charges subway writers with defacing public space. Despite the efforts of Vandal Squad officers like Joseph Rivera to catch taggers in a “game of cat and mouse,” writers such as Earsnot state that most graffiti writers “want to break the law…[and] love fucking with [the police].” Earsnot has tagged countless building walls, street signs, doors, mailboxes with his signatures while police vans patrol Manhattan streets in broad daylight. Highly experienced writers know that the New York Police Department (NYPD) is less focused on policing graffiti than MTA Vandal Squads, and tag city streetscapes to avoid apprehension in the…show more content…
In Los Angeles, writers such as Saber paint on billboards and water towers to escape arrest and still make art. Even though the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) can see artists working on such surfaces, officers cannot safely land helicopters nearby and climb narrow stair-ladders to catch writers. However, concerned citizens like “Graffiti Guerrilla” Joe Connolly prevent the spread of graffiti by climbing up onto billboards and water towers to “buff,” or paint over, graffiti. In other words, residents of Los Angeles who are not police officers but dislike graffiti have succeeded in eliminating graffiti from water tower and billboard walls that the police cannot
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