May 29, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.
Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.
Woody Guthrie Art Projection on Oklahoma Capitol Sparks #WoodysGuitar Protest Movement
Posted on Mar 13, 2017
Woody Guthrie died in 1967, but the spirit of the folk singer is alive and well in the American heartland.
On Feb. 27, according to NonDoc, Oklahoma City artist Jack Fowler and technical expert Stephen Tyler projected a giant painting of Guthrie onto a tarpaulin on the side of the Oklahoma state Capitol. Guthrie, who was born in 1912 in Okemah, Okla., was famous, among many other reasons, for writing “This machine kills fascists” on his guitar. The digital mural replaced the singer’s iconic message with the phrase, “How did it come to this.”
“I feel like I need to do something besides vote. This is something I can do,” Fowler, an editorial cartoonist with the Oklahoma Gazette, told NonDoc. “I hope it inspires some conversation, and I hope the people inside this building notice it.”
Tyler also has a history of creating public art and felt compelled to do something when he learned about the tarp draping the Capitol.
“The description was, ‘It’s like a giant canvas.’ So we started to brainstorm and found out there’s power out here,” Tyler told NonDoc after the art installation went up. “Considering the [political] climate, it just seemed ripe for this sort of thing. I thought of Jack because I’d been seeing his political cartoons. Then I ran into him at the bar.”
They hatched their plan in early February. Fowler chose Guthrie and his guitar to be the symbol of protest, “because I think he’d be appalled at what we’ve become.” The artist wanted to shine light on “years of ‘shameful’ lawmaking by the Oklahoma Legislature,” the Oklahoma Gazette reports.
The Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) took notice and on Feb. 28 requested that Fowler and Tyler abandon any future plans for artwork projections.
In an official release, OMES director of public affairs Michael Baker stated:
The response puzzled Fowler.
“I find it odd that they cited this light seepage and safety concern when they have two megawatt floodlights pointed at this tarp all night long,” Fowler told NonDoc. “Either their lights are safer than my lights, or they are splitting hairs about freedom of speech in the most unusual place possible.”
His comment to the Oklahoma Gazette was blunter: “When was the last time too much light fucked up a construction site?”
Fowler returned March 1 with a stronger power source, but the Oklahoma Highway Patrol prevented him from projecting Guthrie’s image again.
And according to the Gazette:
You can continue to follow the protest on social media with the hashtag #WoodysGuitar.
Woody Guthrie would be proud.
—Posted by Eric Ortiz.
New and Improved Comments
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide