text and image roberto voorbij
Anyone who takes a walk along the canals of Amsterdam will sooner or later encounter the name BNE. BNE WAS HERE. BNE. KING BNE. BNE WATER ORG. KING BNE 2010. Someone here has clearly made an effort to draw attention to his name. Making thereby use of the standard vocabulary of any other random tagger. A cryptic name, “X was here” as the primary message, no further visual clues regarding a possible statement. Looks like the usual graffiti. Some applied using spray paint. The majority as sticker with white background, black text, Helvetica Neue Condensed Bold, in capitals. Actually does this latter correspond the least with the classical anarchistic form. After all graffiti was formerly at the first place anti-authoritarian. Hence that it hardly ever made use of abstract color fields. These resemble too much a modernist order or a corporate identity of a multinational. The further lack of any leads did already arise possible, ironic meanings as; Boredom Never Ends or Brave New Emptiness. However, it appears after searching the internet there does lie an idea behind this endless teasing marketing campaign, this trans-media advertising concept avant la lettre. BNE commits itself to clean drinking water. Somewhat ambivalent, but that goes for more activist actions. Indeed, some stickers indicate BNE WATER ORG. The question is whether this guerrilla approach justifies itself. The fact that I started googling BNE and then dedicated a post to this action proves the rightnes of the maker. Whether it justifies the prior irritation or if KING BNE hasn’t only created antipathy amongst the public is not easy to answer. The end justifies the means? It also looks like a modified strategy from tagging just to tag to engagement. A case of advancing insights, now all that remains to adjust is its form…
KING BNE 2010, BNE (2010). The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture / Fonds BKVB, Amsterdam.
KING BNE, BNE. Prinsengracht, Amsterdam.
BNE WAS HERE, BNE. Blueboy & Why Not, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 28, Amsterdam.