Revolutionary Art in New Babbage

6/28/09  at 2:12 AM
Our Art Correspondent (Miss Saffia Widdershins) writes:
One fascinating and hitherto little explored element of the Upheaval in New Babbage is the Street Art that has emerged.

We should, perhaps, explain that for the citizens of Babbage, the idea of Street Art is not new. More commercially motivated, perhaps, than other communities such as Caledon and - in addition - possessing a superfluity of bare brick walls, the citizens of New Babbage have been in the custom of adorning (although some less artistically or commercially inclined minds might say 'defacing') the aforementioned walls with posters advertising events or business opportunities of one kind or another.

It was perhaps in this tradition that the earliest images of the changed government of New Babbage first appeared. The style we might term as "Ministry of Information"; simple, bold colours and messages were expressed, reminiscent of images employed by governments in times of emergency, such as the legendary "Kitchener" poster, or "Keep Calm and Carry On".

The messages contained in these posters did, however, raise some disquietude among the citizenry of New Babbage. "Peace and Security Corps depends on you! Inform on your friend, it is the right thing to do!" might be memorable as a crude piece of doggerel (its scansion is exreable, though), but it is hardly likely to induce a sense of security and well-being in its readers. The message directed at children is even more chilling: "Join the Youth Movement! Be Strong Like Dr O. Free Clothes. Some Food. Warm Floor. Bonuses for the Arrest of Rebels. Parents Double".

On the whole, it is not surprising therefore that the earliest examples of Resistance Art should take the form of defacement of these images - either in the form of the symbol internationally recognised as "No!" - the red-barred circle, or later by the use of messages exhorting the citizenry to support their cause: "Citizens of Babbage Stay True! Our Leader will oneday return!" which was inspiring, if a little optimistically vague (and mis-spelled).

The next move appears to have been the revolutionaries themselves adding their own art, in a style that might be described as in part traditional revolutionary, with heroic imagery:

And in part owing more to neo-realism:

It was, of course, not long before these images were in turn defaced. At first the cocophony of mutiple images occupying a small space became a cacophony of symbolism, some of which was obscure.

And sometimes, as in the increasing presence of the sombre and menacing Black Rabbit, it has the power to become, like the situation in New Babbage itself, decidedly sinister.

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