"Bomb It!" Poster

The poster for "Bomb It!"

Genre: Documentary
Directed by: Jon Reiss
Produced by: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Jon Reiss, Tracy Wares, Kate Christensen, Arnel San Pedro, & Lisa Garibay
Links: Bomb It – Global Graffiti Street Art Film Documentary | Official Site

A comprehensive investigation of the most subversive and controversial art form currently shaping international youth culture: graffiti. Featuring original interviews from around the world and guerilla footage of graffiti writers in action, BOMB IT tells the story of graffiti from its roots in prehistoric cave paintings through Picasso to its notorious emergence as a visual adjunct to the rise of hip hop culture in New York in the 1970s culminating in its current variations around the globe, from Latin America where graffiti has been adopted into the mural tradition, to Japan where anime inspired rakugaki challenges the conformist societal norms embodied in formal calligraphy, to Europe where a Dadaist/surrealist tradition produces deliberately confrontational prankstering.

The controversy surrounding graffiti is an integral part of the story: from anti-tagging groups to the impact of New York’s infamous “Quality of Life”, laws which directly targeted illicit writing, to the proliferation of these laws throughout the world. Graffiti, postering, stenciling, and stickering form a fascinating and radical movement that defies definition except as a voice demanding to be heard.

As modern urban visual landscapes become overrun with advertisements and corporate icons, Bomb It asks important questions about public space: Who owns public space? Whose voices will be heard in this forum? Where should art take place? Can graffiti be considered freedom of expression? Interviews with graffiti writers and anti-graffiti enforcement officials alike examine these important issues affecting society today.

Born out of urban blight, graffiti’s tough mimetic code consistently defies the forces that try to stop it and thrives today in varied and artistically sophisticated forms, and Bomb It explores how graffiti writers continue to expand into new media such as laser projections, the internet, and even cell phones. Graffiti’s inherent kineticism is brought to life via animation by up-and-coming motion graphic artists, and its synergistic relationship with hip hop and punk rock is highlighted through creative collaboration with cutting-edge poets and musicians.