Graffiti found this morning in Medellín which seems to uncannily illustrate the practice of cognitive science.
Found on Carrera 63A (‘La Paralela’) by the metro station Acevedo. I’ve found myself in many risky situations in Colombia but few compare to running out into two lane traffic to try and take this photo.
You wait all year for neuroscience themed graffiti and then two come along in a week. This was found on Carrera 31 in Medellín yesterday morning.
It turns out that over the years I’ve managed to collect a fair amount of brain-themed graffiti for Mind Hacks, which you can browse at your pleasure here.
And with that, I leave the booming, buzzing confusion of Medellín and head back to the sustained attention of London.
A digger scooping the brain of a blue man, found earlier this week in Medellín, on Calle 67, just by the metro station Hospital.
The text translates as ‘changing forests for cement’ but has been scratched on after the original artwork, presumably by someone who isn’t familiar with the industrial brain digger industry and its interest to Colombian graffiti artists.
Psychopharmacological brain graffiti found on a car park wall in Dalston in East London.
Graffiti of a brain-driven one-eyed cyborg found peering round a lamp post, just off Sclater Street in London’s East End, yesterday.
The latest issue of The Psychologist has hit the shelves and it has a freely available and suprisingly thought-provoking article about bathroom psychology.
If you’re thinking it’s an excuse for cheap jokes you’d be mistaken as takes a genuine and inquisitive look at why so little psychology, Freud excepted, has been concerned with one of our most important bodily functions.
This part, on the history of theories regarding graffiti found in toilets, is as curious is it is bizarre.
Toilet graffiti, dubbed ‘latrinalia’ by one scholar, has drawn attention from many researchers and theorists over the years. Many of them have focused on gender, using public lavatories as laboratories for studying sex differences in the content and form of these scribblings. Alfred Kinsey was one of the first researchers to enter the field, surveying the walls of more than 300 public toilets in the early 1950s and finding more erotic content in men’s and more romantic content in women’s. Later research has found that men’s graffiti also tend to be more scatological, insulting, prejudiced, and image-based, and less likely to offer advice or otherwise respond to previous remarks.
Theorists have struggled to explain differences such as these. True to his time, Kinsey ascribed them to women’s supposedly greater regard for social conventions and lesser sexual responsiveness. Psychoanalytic writers proposed that graffiti writing was a form of ‘phallic expression’ or that men pursued it out of an unconscious envy of women’s capacity for childbirth. Semioticians argued that men’s toilet graffiti signify and express political dominance, whereas women’s respond to their subordination. Social identity theorists proposed that gender differences in latrinalia reflect the salience of gender in segregated public bathrooms: rather than merely revealing their real, underlying differences, women and men polarise their behaviour in these gender-marked settings so as to exaggerate their femaleness or maleness.
The article looks at many other curious episodes in the bashful psychology of the bathroom.
Link to The Psychologit on ‘toilet psychology’
An unfortunate case of a high-impact graffiti-based neurotrauma recorded this afternoon in Bogotá on the corner of Carrera 14 and Calle 26 near the Cementerio Central.
I’ve just found a wonderful 1973 study on the psychoanalysis of graffiti that discusses how unconscious desires might be expressed through public scrawlings.
It has a completely charming table that compares graffiti from A.D. 79 Pompeii with 1960’s Los Angeles to demonstrate the similarity of themes across the centuries.
The author concludes that “aggressive-destructive and incorporative wishes are similarly satisfied by the wall writer at the expense of the wall owner” although overtly sexual images should be considered as definitely expressing sexual themes.
Link to locked 1973 study the psychoanalysis of graffiti.
Bogotá comes up with a smackdown in the Colombia brain graffiti stakes with a zombie brain-eating sex kitten found on a car park wall near Avenida Calle 63 con Carrera 17 this morning.
UPDATE: A bit of Google Fu turns up the blog of the graffiti artist Saint Cat with some amazing pieces scattered around Bogotá and the occasional featured zombie brain.
Some amazing brain graffiti found this morning, on the side of a derelict factory, on Bogotá’s Carrera 30, near to the Transmilenio station CAD.
This is the second example of brain graffiti I’ve seen after finding the ‘Bogotá Neuronaut’ while I’ve only found one in Medellín so far.
Some futuristic brain graffiti found in the centre of Bogotá. You may remember I found some futuristic brain graffiti in the centre of Colombia’s second city, Medellín, in 2009. Coincidence, I think not.
Some amazing graffiti art which has recently appeared in the Colombian city of Medellín near the Hospital metro station.
Medellín has the most amazing street art of any city I’ve ever been too, much of it genuinely beautiful, and often quite socially conscious, in contrast to the gangsta style that pervades many urban landscapes.
The text translates as ‘Tears, pain and desperation are the consequences of dirty money reflected in the harsh mirror of the city. Medellín is decaying through drugs while our lives go up in smoke’.
In Spanish: ‘Lagrimas, dolor y desesperado son las consecuencias del sucio dinero reflejado en el crudo espejo de la urbe. Medellín se nos pudre en drogas mientras nuestras vidas se van con el humo.’
Some impressive graffiti of a brain-powered robot from the future, found on a wall near the Hospital San Vicente de Paúl in Medellín.
I’ve just seen my first genuine piece of psychology graffiti. The picture is from a wall in Universidad de Antioquia and the graffiti is promoting a conference on the application of ‘liberation psychology’ to preventing violence and helping the victims of violence in Colombia.
The text in Spanish is roughly translated as “We propose a scientific endeavour committed to historical reality and the problems and aspirations of the people” and is a quote from social psychologist and Catholic priest Ignacio Martín-Baró.
Martín-Baró was working in El Salvador during its bloody civil war and was using social psychology to research the opinions and views of the people and was producing results contrary to the propaganda of the army and government.
He was murdered by the El Salvadorian army in 1989 but he has had a massive influence on psychology and public policy in Latin America.
This in part was due to his strong belief in social psychology as an applied discipline to improve the society and the conditions of the poorest and most deprived.
While liberation psychology itself is typically associated with the left, one of Martín-Baró’s legacies is the practice of using social psychology for social improvement, something which is widely accepted in Latin America, regardless of political orientation.
It may seem strange that a conference is being advertised through graffiti, but political graffiti is common on the university campus and ranges from spray painted slogans to huge colourful murals.
If you’re interested in learning more about liberation psychology, The Psychologist had a 2004 article discussing both the discipline and Martín-Baró.
Link to The Psychologist article on liberation psychology.