Talking to Sean Ripple

Question: Tell me about “Tagging”

This project started after my wife and I bought a house. I was looking at all the wooden slat fencing in my neighborhood and thought that I should start tagging it. But instead of tagging it in an obvious manner (you know spray-painting a couple of eyes and a mustache on every fence in my neighborhood), I photographed the fence, had multiple prints made and taped cutout shapes of the photos to the fence to photograph… the tag is a virtual tag since it occurs within camera and is shared onscreen.

I saw this act as my signature… my proper tag. Shortly after starting this work, I realized that if I shared this work on the internet, it could very easily meme to the point where my signature would be stolen or copped or aped or whatever.

There’s a lot tied up in the work for me… below are a few things:

1) the impossibility of owning an idea in the virtual age (that’s the reason I’ve included the Norbert Wiener quote… it’s meant to ward off my anxiety about this work being ripped… I mean, my work becoming a meme could be the ultimate form of flattery right?) BTW, I don’t think this work has memed in the slightest… in fact, I’m probably memeing myself.

2) Identity coming about through subjective interpretation of objective/concrete/external reality… my act being a crude sort of interpretation of reality, whereby the altered snippet takes the place of the whole… I see this being a practice common to the human experience… we’re constantly interpreting what is presented to us in a subjective manner such that we crudely alter objective reality to suit our own needs.

3) Concrete reality being the ultimate form of graffiti (oh brother I know, but really, tell me Wal*Mart isn’t a pretty substantial tag… not many entities can mess with it… maybe Target?).


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