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VIDEO. The movement of "yellow vests" enters the history of art thanks to its tags

A political thought summed up in three words. – Suvann

  • The number of protest graffiti explodes with the movement of "yellow vests".
  • The tag has existed since antiquity and has accompanied the great moments of history. Their visibility is increased tenfold with social networks.
  • Today's political graffiti has a clear dialogue with power and will remain historically linked to this movement.

There are the imaginatives: "It's the hospital that makes fun of taxation, yellow proverbs" (Paris). The musicals: "We are all in a yellow submarine" (Toulouse). The synthetics: "The story is written in the street" (Nantes). The ironic ones: "We will declare your demonstrations when you declare your income" (Paris). The terse: "Juppe old pate" (Bordeaux). The historical ones: "I have scorned you". And the pictures, like the meaning of the effort, below.

The meaning of the effort revisited in Bordeaux.
The meaning of the effort revisited in Bordeaux. – Jean-Michel Becognee

Some examples of phrases tagged the passage of "yellow vests" on Saturday in the cities of France for three months. And of course, the little girl dressed in the famous vest, who made her appearance in Bordeaux. "True or false Banksy, in a pinch, for us, no matter. We observe everything that has a political claim, "say the creators of La Rue ou Rien.

For this site, which lists the photos of slogans drawn on social networks since 2016, the phenomenon is not new: "We started with the Labor law. We thought it was going to last a fortnight, and then the protests grew. Since then, it never really stopped. Because before the "yellow vests", there was the presidential election in 2017, the 50 years of May-68, the occupation of the college of Tolbiac …

Content sometimes similar to 2016 …

The photos listed by La Rue ou Rien are rather those of "wild" graffiti, but do not exclude banners, signs and even stickers. The purpose of the site is to keep these creations in memory because, most often, they are erased the next day. "What is surprising is that the nature of the messages did not necessarily change, we are close to those of 2016." For example, "A thought to families of windows" is a slogan that has reappeared with the movement of "yellow vests".

This 2016 quote was tagged again at the 2019 events.
This 2016 quote has been tagged again at the 2019 events. – The Street or Nothing

Mathilde Larrère, historian of social and revolutionary movements, goes back very far in time when she evokes the tag: "In Antiquity, the excavations of Pompeii revealed (and continue to reveal) a large number of graffiti. The first appearance of the word "graffiti" in the French language dates from 1856: it was born from the work on these excavations of Pompeii. "

In modern times, urban inscriptions have punctuated the great historical events: "There are times more intense than others in this area: the crisis of May 16, 1877, the Dreyfus affair, the Second World War (against occupying), the Algerian war, May-68 too, of course. "

… But a proliferation and a more impertinent dialogue with the power

So, how did the "yellow vests" innovate and renew the genre of graffiti? By the number, already. "I had never seen such profusion, explains Mathilde Larrère. Each act seems to leave more than the previous one and invents each time. The graffiti on "Jojo" appeared after the president's media release against Jojo the "yellow vest", for example. They are very clearly in a dialogue, impertinent, with power. "

"It's very massive since the end of December and we reached a record number of publications, confirms a manager of the website La Rue ou Rien. We will even classify them by theme. We also see the emergence of cities that were not necessarily prolific, such as Bordeaux or Toulouse, while in 2016, the palm returned to Nantes and Grenoble. "

"Poaching walls"

The importance of these phrases is also a symbol of the movement of "yellow vests". They could remain engraved in the history and the collective unconscious: "They will undoubtedly be linked to the movement of" yellow vests ", which we will not know later without talking about this gigantic poaching of the walls, concludes Mathilde Larrère. The protest tag is a momentary conquest that converts public space into a forum for expression and denunciation. The anonymity of the gesture reinforces this power of protest by assimilating its author to an uncontrollable mass. Even more when they are part of a movement, they respond to each other or recur as at this moment. They reveal the political dimension of the movement, its rejection of representative democracy as practiced. "


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