This mural is a tribute to the graffiti artist as “the necessary other.” At its best, graffiti expresses a genuine vitality based on its grass roots origin in urban centers. As folk-art, graffiti uses the visual lexicon of society, including its cliches of image, style and sentiment, to the vantage of self-expression. Moreover, graffiti as “low art” often subjects literacy of text to that of image. In this capacity, it begins to explore the boundary between script, glyph, and ideogram. The necessary urgency with which graffiti must be accomplished further suggests a tie to Oriental calligraphy, in which a true master might produce works with a seemingly easy dexterity of hand and clarity of mind. However, the mind-frame and uses are to very different ends in graffiti. These ends suggest the role of “the necessary other.” As illegal and anti-establishment, the messages of graffiti arise from those disenfranchised by the economic basis of society and otherwise unheard by its institutions of power. Thus, the existential will to self-expression is often its content. However, the aesthetics of the result speak to us with a credible language of authority and authenticity. We are not only obliged but often delighted to read the results. In this way, the graffiti artist has the opportunity to break through the seamless facade of society to expose the patchwork of complacent myths, lies, and delusions we have invented to tell ourselves about it. This position is that of “the necessary other.”
       The mural itself, done in graffiti style, depicts the transformative power of the Tulip Breaking Virus. This virus is the agent responsible for color changes in the tulip. The infecting virus interpolates its own genetic material into the machinery of the tulip DNA. The result is an explosion of new and beautiful varieties. This phenomenon likewise transformed Dutch society during the years of “Tulipomania” when entire estates were traded for one bulb. As depicted in the mural, one of a magician's gloved hands twirls a red silk handkerchief and the other sprays a can of yellow paint at the center. Falling in showers from under the handkerchief are red-and-yellow striped tulips. Surrounding this tableau are spirals representing the viral form. Thus, by sleight of hand, “the necessary other” has come in the night and transformed our waking reality from its mundane form to an aesthetic experience.

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