Rail Experimental - Belgian Train Worker Art
Project by Ben Brohanszky
21 x 14.5 cm
Limited Edition of 100 copies
The author documents the railway workers activity with more than 1000 photographs between 2013-2017. The presented pictures were selected from this growing collection. This publication is a part of a research project: Conceptual Urban Art.
When traditional New York Graffiti became a worldwide phenomenon through the media it was mainly one important sub-genre which gained international attention: Trainwriting. Till today namewriting on passenger- and freight trains holds a special status within the graffiti world.
Although most train companies try to ban graffiti from their wagons, more or less fast and successful, a trained eye is able to notice if a car has been painted and got buffed before put back into service. Ordinary passengers may not even realize that the trains surface looks dull and little paint stains remain here and there, and that sometimes leftovers of the fill-in or outline are still visible. But to a writer signs like tags on electric boxes beneath the trains and arrows on the front or back are direct links to the moving canvas the train may once has been.
Rail Experimental consists exclusively of photographs documenting these ‘signs of a struggle’. On 84 pages Belgian Train Worker Art focuses on the little hints the buffers did leave to keep the beholder wondering about the artworks original unspoiled appearance. Remains of pieces by Noach, NAWAS, Tomcat and the Animal Farm crew can be identified in the zine which features only a small sample of the authors huge collection including more than 1000 photographs.
Most of the photographs feature serious and massive attempts of graffiti removal which often did not only damage the trains paintwork but also its substance to the raw steel. Appearing as a side product of trainwriting these motifs usually are not featured in graffiti publications. But being collected and presented in this way, they gain a whole new value which may arouse the readers interest to keep an eye on their local Train Worker Art.