Phenomenology Vs. Propaganda
Heidegger defines phenomenology as "the process of letting things manifest themselves". Basically this means that an object seeks to define itself through the prism of individual analysis. As many observers as there are in a given time period corresponds 1:1 with the number of definitions of the object in question. A rounded definition is eventually culled from all of the ensuing debate and discussion about the reality of the object and disseminated through the avenues of a given culture. A perfect example of this is Shepherd Fairey's GIANT. Fairey allows his audience to become part of the work by informing it intellectually as well as physically. He "get's up" by word of mouth from thousands of people he is never likely to meet. In play here is the art of the joke, the art of the accident, the art of disinformation and the art of bullshit. There is also a tinge of mountainclimber's syndrome with Fairey. Why does he do it? Because it's there.
Propaganda is just the opposite of Phenomenon. The viewer, a once vital role in the meaning creation process, is now deleted from that job and given a new one. The new job is blind assimilator. The machine behind the phenomenon is a shroud, a mystery, someone who does not exist in the meaning. The producers of propaganda are with us everywhere we go and they are clearly in control, at least they want to be. Propaganda tells an audience what to believe and how to disseminate the belief. They are surrounded by it, labotomized by it, driven to do things otherwise thought of as impossible in a moral society. Phenomenon is debateable, maleable, distracting.
You may read this and think that I am talking about John Heartsfield and the Stenberg Bros. from the 1930s-50s in Europe. This is a reference but what I am thinking of is happening right now and right here. Fairey's phenomenology pokes fun and seeks to revive conversation about what is really happening here. I am going to research more on the reasons for graffiti, the meanings, the modes and the craft of writing. Language is disintegrating. There is a third type but we will get into that later.