July 2002, Copenhagen (Denmark)
he danish capitol has a long and strong history of Graffiti and lots of great writers. So it was a real goal for us to have Copenhagen as a part of the first MOS. The place to be was the old hall-of-fame at this electricity-factory near Dybbelsbro. Everything was set for weeks, the promotion, the sound-system, DJs, cans, permission.
A huge line-up of scandinavian artists were invited to Copenhagens MOS to show the vividness of this huge and old scene up there in Scandanavia, when the mayor of Copenhagen put politcal pressure onto the owner of the spot where the Hall-Of-Fame is located in Sydhavn causing him to take back the permission he gave weeks ago. The mayor follows an Anti-Graffiti-Campaign based on the “Zero-Tolerance” and “Broken-Windowns”. He came over with the weak and undifferenced argument that all Graf-Artists are vandals. That was reason enough to prohibit the Meeting. That’s how it can go in a democracy.
Never underestimate the power of politicians. Evenhough we had a permission from the owner of the yard the major of the city got in touch with this company and caused them to withdraw the permission. The company is owned partly by the city, so this didn’t take much. The information of the withdrawn permission came about one week and a half before the event. As Copenhagen has a very political, ambitioned and well-connected scene, a podium-discussion had been organised at the day of the event. Different politicians, media- and Graffiti-representatives discussing the sense and use of the withdrawing. You know how this goes. Politicians always misjudge our culture, so it was no big surprise that the conservative was talking mainly about Graffiti as vandalism and not as an artform.
Eventhough the Jam was officially cancelled, inofficially the cans had been given out to more than a hundred writers on the set. So it was an usual day at the hall-of-fame just with free cans. During the painting suddenly helicopters flew over the scene on the way to a raid in Copenhagen´s smooth district Christainia.
It was a sad and rainy day, but eventhough lotzs of people came by to watch the discussion, see the artworks and to have a good time. Later the day, the clouds faded away and the sun made its way. The vibe was revolutionary, but very positive among the writers.
This generalization of politicians reminds us of a time of censorship full of darkness and greyness half century ago. Nevertheless the local MOS-Orga. organised a huge debate and invited some politicians to have a constructive talk. The media-presence was enormous and caused a huge public discussion how to handle the desire of youth to express themselves over the media Graffiti-Art. What came out, is this typical blabla of politicians who are out to collect votes while building up fears to the common citizens, but also this huge debate in the public. However. Even if the event was cancelled it was about 400 people over two days coming to paint, to chill and to have a good time and to put an accent against the increasing criminalization of Graffiti-Culture.