Subscribe to RSS Feed

Saturday, April 18th
11:40 AM

Bringing it to the street: The Political Efficacy of Banksy's Brand in "Better Out Than In"

Margaret Henry

UC 331

11:40 AM - 12:00 PM

Building on Antonio Gramsci’s notion of the “organic intellectual,” Stuart Hall proposes “instituting a genuine cultural and critical practice, which is intended to produce some kind of organic intellectual political work, which does not try to inscribe itself in the overarching meta-narrative of achieved knowledges, within the institutions” (44). While trying to resolve in my own mind the question of just what an “organic intellectual” practice would look like, the highly controversial street artist Banksy hit New York city as well as the news, turning the city into an art gallery for the masses with an “exhibition” he entitled, Better Out Than In. The piece that received the most press was the op-ed article he wrote that was rejected by the New York Times which exclaimed, “The attacks of September 11th were an attack on all of us and we will live out our lives in their shadow. But it’s also how we react to adversity that defines us. And the response?.....104 floors of compromise” (Banksy, Better Out Than In).

Banksy’s critique of the new World Trade Center seems to mirror Judith Butler’s contention that, in its response to the attacks of 9/11, the United States has “miss[ed] an opportunity to redefine itself as part of a global community” (XI). In any case, Banksy’s piece, as well as the entire exhibit, has elicited immense public attention. In a recent press conference Mayor Bloomberg stated in response to Banksy’s New York residency:

But look, graffiti does ruin people’s property and it’s a sign of decay and loss of control. Art is art. And nobody’s a bigger supporter of the arts than I am. I just think there are some places for art and there are some places [not for] art. And you running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted. And I think that’s exactly what the law says. (Landers, Elizabeth and Watson, Ivan)

Bloomberg’s response is interesting in that it brings to light issues of authority/protest, authenticity/inauthenticity, private/public, and accessibility/exclusivity. The “loss of control” caused by graffiti is an undermining of hegemonic influences and is exactly what Banksy strives for. Banksy paints, sculpts, and stages performances on private spaces to reclaim them from the corporate onslaught of consumerism and to make art available to the people. By existing in the city rather than the gallery, Banksy’s work is found unexpectedly, subsequently forcing one to engage with both its political content as well as its form, if only for a moment. Art’s audience is no longer limited to the intellectual echelon but is now accessible to the multitude in a form they can comprehend without first taking an art history class. Banksy, and by extension his art, works, as J. Jack Halberstam contends art should, “with others, with a class of people in Marxist terms, to sort through the contradictions of capitalism and to illuminate the oppressive forms of governance that have infiltrated everyday life” (The Queer Art of Failure 17).

One major criticism of Banksy has been his overwhelming success within capitalist society. His pieces sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, a fact that many believe undermines his ability to effectuate change. In this paper, I intend to argue that Banksy’s continued critique of consumerist culture, most recently illuminated in Better Out than In, indicates his unwavering devotion to undermining hegemonic power structures and, consequently, firmly defines him as the epitome of the authentic street artist. Banksy has no financial need to create art, much less illegal, politically controversial, highly criticized art. In fact, the only rational reason to continue along such a disparaging path is to embody the organic intellectual. When Lauren Collins asked him in an interview conducted via email, “Why do you do what you do?,” Banksy replied ironically, “I originally set out to try to save the world, but now I’m not sure I like it enough” (The New Yorker 30).

12:00 PM

Which wolf, which trap? Socially constructing wolves and trapping in western Montana

Andrew Myers

UC 331

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

In 2011, after nearly forty years of federal protection, gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List in Montana and their management entrusted to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. For some, wolves are critical to ecosystem health and an essential part of nature, for others they are a symbol of government overreach threatening their livelihoods and cultural values. The implementation of annual trapping seasons as a method to reduce perceived negative impacts from a growing wolf population has further inflamed an already embroiled debate. The purpose of this research was to investigate various meanings of wolves and wolf trapping being constructed in western Montana. A discourse analysis of reader-contributed newspaper texts in Missoula and Hamilton was conducted. Data between 5/9/2012 and 2/8/2014 were gathered from letters to the editor, guest columns, and online comments from the Missoulian and the Ravalli Republic and imported into NVivo. Following Potter and Wetherell’s (1987) guidelines to discourse analysis, these data were thematically coded and analyzed for patterns. Results reveal a significant range of themes across both study sites with the most prominent themes relating to ecological concerns and ungulates. Various meanings of wolves were identified such as the ‘ecological wolf’, the ‘endangered wolf’, the ‘predatory wolf’, and the ‘cold blooded killer wolf’, and various meanings of wolf trapping such as ‘trapping as public hazard’ and ‘trapping as management tool’. While it is no surprise that people have different perceptions, these finding suggest that, beyond perceptions, people are constructing vastly different realities about wolves and wolf trapping in a manner that encumbers the possibility for productive dialogue. This highlights an imperative need to reframe the debate over wolf management not as a competition of opposing values, but rather as an exercise in communicating across cultures.

12:20 PM

An Adventurous E-Reader for Non-Linear E-Books

Emily Palmieri, University of Montana - Missoula
Yolanda Reimer, University of Montana - Missoula

UC 331

12:20 PM - 12:40 PM

Non-linear books are published in print format as sequential text or digitally as collections of documents linked together via hyperlinks. These publication methods are problematic for readers and authors alike. Readers are often presented with unintuitive interfaces that do not indicate critical contextual information; authors struggle to order non-linear content into linear formats or to create and distribute their work in resource intensive digital mediums. While standard e-books might be a convenient format for non-linear books, current e-readers used to view them are severely limited; they mimic the format of physical books, fail to solve problems inherent in displaying non-linear content in a sequential order, and render e-books in an inflexible format. This paper presents a novel e-reader prototype, called Adventurous Reader, that solves many of the problems authors and readers currently experience in the creation, distribution, and consumption of non-linear texts.

12:40 PM

Spatio-temporal Analysis of Ungulate Herbivory within Willow (Salix spp.) Communities on the Northern Range of Yellowstone National Park, USA

Donald L. Belile Jr, The University Of Montana
Robert Crabtree, University of Victoria

UC 331

12:40 PM - 1:00 PM

Across Yellowstone National Park’s northern range the intensity of ungulate herbivory on willow (Salix spp.) communities has changed over time in response to abiotic and biotic factors. However, since wolf reintroduction no studies have been conducted that simultaneously examine multiple factors with multiple working hypotheses. Studies were either short-term or used auxiliary information to estimate changes in, and causes of, riparian shrub herbivory. Alternatively we applied a long-term in-situ, nondestructive browsing history method by way of outer growth ring record and Boolean logic. Both fixed and continuous explanatory variables were statistically analyzed within a spatially implicit and explicit, multi-model framework using generalized linear models. Our binary response was modeled using a binomial distribution and logistic regression. Preliminary results specify that the most significant factor for the period of winter 1999-2009 was growing season precipitation, followed by SWE (snow water equivalent) and elk numbers. Post winter 2009 bison, which don’t typically consume willow, are the most significant predictor followed by elk and SWE. Bison browsing increased from 10% of total browsing in winter 2010 to 22% winter 2014. Whereas elk browsing increased from 30% of total browsing in winter 2010 to 41% winter 2014. During the same time frame the bison population increased by 21%, however elk numbers declined by 22%. In conclusion, preliminary results indicate that a high bison population is both directly and indirectly driving increases in ungulate browsing of willow.