Semiotic Reclamation Project

The Semiotic Reclamation Project (SRP) establishes workshops and group activities oriented around tactics of detournement, agit-prop, graffiti, and other forms of semiotic magic based on the following principles:

agit-prop as meditation: Before one can design a sticker, stencil, poster, or other piece of agitational-propaganda one must first figure out how s/he feels about the issue and what s/he wants to say. Thus, the decision to create agit-prop is the decision to engage in critical thinking as opposed to apathetic non-decision of passive submission.

agit-prop as therapy: Although a night of agit-prop won't right the wrongs of the world, it does have a tendency to conquer the malaise frequently associated with feelings of helplessness and alienation. Even small actions can begin to dissolve frustrations one feels towards hegemonic power.

agit-prop as empowerment: Far from the trepidation one might feel if alone, the feelings evoked by walking through empty city streets in the middle of the night with a small accompaniment of mischievous friends are beyond words. The urban milieu takes on new dimensions, new possibilities, as one's perceptions shift to accommodate an altered set of navigational criteria. To describe the activity as exhilarating, empowering, and fun, merely points towards that which can only be experienced.

agit-prop as community-building:
Agitational propaganda is but a part of the larger graffiti community; an unspoken communal collaboration among like-minded, autonomous individuals who feel compelled to physically manifest their ideas in public space. Essentially anarchist, the strength of the model stems from the ability of individuals to organize themselves, either individually or in crews, and to proliferate to the point of ubiquity. There is no doubt whatsoever that the individuals who conduct such activity take notice of other participants' efforts. As such, visual conversations develop based primarily on style, medium, content, and innovation. Even the rules are in flux, allowing both harmony and discord to shape an evolving discourse that allows for a multiplicity of views often excluded from mainstream channels of public debate.

agit-prop as germination: Characteristic of American society is the belief that changing one's own consciousness is sufficient political action and will achieve social change. Although social consciousness is an important step in affecting positive change, power maintains itself quite nicely when people are content to simply 'think' about an alternative realty. While agit-prop alone is not the sort of action required to sufficiently challenge the abuses of power, it provides an entry point, a transition from thought to action. In a strategic sense, this transition is the equivalent of baby steps - essential early development that leads to significant growth, beginning with observation and resulting in fundamental behavior.