Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Ballsy Protest: Art as Communication?


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Well, the serious protester never expects things to change after a protest - only the amateur maintains that illusion.

Protest long enough, and with enough conviction - and you might change some minds. Keep at it, and eventually you might even get noticed. Today, there's a preference for "instant notice" - if you don't get your assured 15 minutes within the first hour, something went seriously wrong with the world. (I haven't noticed any especial preference for honesty from the potentially famous.)

Changing the world is a one-step at a time task. Apparently, this guy was dim enough to think he could produce massive change with a single act. A single, very obscure, act. By taking the lexicon of modern art, including the ideas behind some installed pieces, he figured that either he would get to produce his protest; at the very least - he would be noticed. But what actually happens is that everyone remembers the balls, forgets his name and can't even begin to fathom the logic behind his protest and the balls.

The fountain thing just looks like he's performing the public and just as childish act as holding his breath until he turns blue! (That being said, I wish he'd done that - we'd all be happy when he finally passed out and stopped bothering us.)

Vandalism is an incredibly lazy form of expression. The impression I get is that the artist is not just lazy, but incredibly derivative, as well. So what if no one else has thought to pepper a public square with balloons? That doesn't make it original! This is something forgotten by too many; the roots for it lie within installation and modern art - as I've said. Heck, wrapping the Reichstag in paper would be more original. At least that demands some attention, and asks questions about form, light, structure. Balls in a public square? They pose no question, except "why did the artist think he was quite that important?"

Sorry, I've a lot more rant in me, but I'll stop now. :-)

Carolyn Ann

I think both are acts of vandalism. They both come with a cost to somebody else.

However, I can live with the rubber balls demonstration as not being a defacing of property as Carolyn Ann mentions.

Definitely not guerrilla marketing in my eyes.

I don't think it sets up a good precedence for sharing your ideas at the expense of others.

In the end I am no more interested in the trash problem in Naples but now have a new problem in what I am going to call "Graffiti Marketing."

The real challenge would be to make a point in a way that furthers the conversation.

What was the outcome of the actions? Sure people talked about the stunts, the media published about it (just like I did here), city officials had to pay attention.

Did anyone *do* anything different after learning about the reasons for the protest?

I hear you both, Carolyn Ann and Karen, about the vandalism and bully tactic.

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