Nota bene: Communication

by A.L. McMichael

A binder containing the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology rests on a shelf in the People's Library in Zuccotti Park on November 5, 2011.

Alice Rawsthorn recently touted Occupy Wall Street’s design-savviness as demonstrated by its adaptable title and its use of the raised fist, the hash tag, and the oft-cited catch phrase, “We are the 99 percent.” Certainly one reason the movement has proliferated and engaged activists in many cities is its balance of versatile message and coherent identity. But under the larger umbrella of that overt message lie a thousand handmade signs, many with very individual and personal messages ranging from poignancy to conspiracy theory.

These raise a set of questions: Where are the boundaries between art and design, between literature and text? At what point do communal messages become personal, or vice-versa?

At what point does personal communication become art?

Stencils were a common tool for making signs to hang in and around the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park.