Krog Street News: Using the archive to gauge community reaction to current events

I have been part of the Krog Codex project for about a year and have been most intrigued by watching how current events are discussed in the tunnel. For example, when Russia invaded Ukraine in late February this year, Krog Tunnel graffiti artists responded a few weeks later.

February 26,2022: Pillar 7 (pictured above) and Pillar 1 (below) is what the tunnel looked like before people’s response regarding the War on Ukraine.
February 11, 2022: Pillar 1
March 7, 2022: Pillar 7: Pictured above shows “Fuck Putin” written across the wall in yellow and blue colors representing Ukraine’s flag.
March 11,2022: Pillar 1: Another representation of Ukraine’s flag shows a hand with “Help” written above it.

Eventually, by April 16, 2022, most of the Anti-Putin graffiti disappeared, and the tunnel returned to its typical graffiti drawings such as:

April 16, 2022: Pillar 7 pictured above and Pillar 1 (below) shows the tunnel after Anti-Putin fervor.
September 2, 2022: Pillar 1

On June 24, 2022, The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, jeopardizing women’s fundamental right to bodily autonomy. The tunnel was a place of free artistic discourse; the issue was hotly debated shortly after the Court’s decision.

In the picture above one can see the writing in red saying “Make Abortion Legal” while the columns with black backgrounds cover a pro-abortion flyer saying “Support Life”.

Although a majority of the art in the tunnel is paint based, some artists chose different media for their work such as wheat paste and stickers. The conversation about Roe gradually declined between June and September. The issue resurfaced in mid-October at the beginning of the early voting.

Above shows an example of stickering.

One of the most eye-catching and memorable works during my field collection was a micro-mural wheat paste depicting of Handmaid’s Tale.

The Handmaid’s Tale is used as a comparison to recent events and a reflection for those who see it. 

The wheat paste was placed on a bare wall, where the layers of spray paint had been excavated. This allowed for the posting to stick easier and make a bolder statement. Another notable feature regarding the artwork is the tag left behind. Generally speaking, graffiti artists prefer anonymity considering the activity’s illegal roots. For this specific piece, the artist stood by their art and statement.

Due to the large number of visitors that go to the tunnel, it is not surprising to find political, social, and cultural references in the artwork. One of the most fascinating aspects of the field collection of the Codex is the unpredictability of never knowing what art you may see in the tunnel.

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