Tag me!

2011, installation

the idea
“Tag me!” is an installation of 3 chairs and a table painted in orange. Attached pens enable people to leave their signs, comments or little drawings.
The project aims to raise awareness of all inhabitants of Espoo/Finland, that tagging is not just crime, but it is inherent to human nature to leave marks of the own existence.

the motivation
Most people do not understand tagging. They do even hate it. “This is ugly!” is a very common statement about tagging. I also heard very often “People who cannot write shouldn’t do graffiti!”. I don’t want to argue whether tagging and/or grafitti are art or not, but I think people should start realizing that tagging is part of a very human need to leave signs of existence. The process, the slogans and also the “kick” of doing something illegal is a big part of illegal street art.
The project tries to raise awareness of these facts. It invites “normal” people to leave their signs.

the process
Installed on the day after Finnish parliamentary elections 2011 the first day was influenced by tags about the result:
“No true Finns!” + “I want to get out of Finland”
Quite surprisingly already during the first few hours people started using the surface. Especially older people asked what was going on and what the project was about.
Coming back almost 24h later showed that the plate of the table was already full of tags. All pens were still there but most dried out. People already started scratching their messages. Also messages changed during this time: Now it started to be more about the “I was here” and “I love you” ideas. Really common types of tags appeared.
Until the last day it didn’t change a lot, but people also realized that the table has a lower part, chairs can be put onto the table,…

some conclusions
– people with very different backgrounds participated
– some people didn’t want to take part but were at least interested in what happened
– a lot of people asked what’s going on
– people quite enjoyed the warm inviting yellow color in the middle of the cold grey bridge in Espoon keskus
– it would be nice to continue the project in one or the other way: One could paint the table and chairs every day so every day a new artwork will appear

Tagging can be art,
it can be crime,
but most importantly it is fun.