The above image, and its setting, captures perfectly the constant, cannibalizing appropriation of raw street culture by the media machine: a graffiti writer being interviewed for any old random "culture" television outfit in Mexico City about his art and his lifestyle.
At Estadio Azteca over the weekend, passing-through journalists swarmed around the writers who, swallowing their pride maybe, had gathered for the stadium's second graffiti "mega-contest," in which D.F. taggers were assigned panels and given paint (sponsored by Comex) to produce pieces along the stadium's walls. Everything went down under the watchful eye of fully uniformed Mexico City police, who -- yes, indeed -- organize the event.
A 'true' writer, when you find one, professes absolute disdain for such a set-up. One insidious theory floating among the OGs is that the contest allows police to easily identify and catalogue the city's known graffiti heads. On the other hand, the event allows young or inexperienced writers to have free, safe space to practice their craft.
Whatevs, the predominant thinking went. When I asked one tagger at the stadium his opinion on the fact that Comex was handing out paint (and T-shirts) and that the poli were strolling the grounds, keeping watch, he shrugged and replied: "Culero."
* See previous posts in Intersections on graffiti here.