2 January 2011

Do a Cock Doodle

By

Graffiti

One short walk in central Dublin, two cock doodles. The first is friendly, approachable.

Friendly Cock

The salmon-pink of the wall, a popular choice in boom-era Irish pub design, is well used as a contrasting background for the green paint. Did the artist intend on drawing a face, and then saw the cock-potential? Or was the sequence of events the other way around? Or was the whole thing planned? The decaying windows and doors of the pub (closed a good number of years now) are given a cheery lift by this little fella. By contrast …

Doodle-Do

… this manic action-painting offers an alternative vision of sexuality, to say the least. The medium is ketchup, applied both by hand and direct from the bottle. The anatomical strangeness achieved by spontaneous indecision gives this a wholly different kind of life. In the week after this photo was taken, a spell of dry weather, the ketchup turned brown, then dark-brown, and finally developed a slightly glossy film which then flaked off, but the original remained intact. A week after that, the wall was entirely repainted by the shop whose side we are looking at.

The convention of drawing a penis with a horizontal line across the shaft, and a vertical line to indicate the opening at the top of the penis (what is the word for it? the hole?) is well established, presumably across the world. The penis in this convention is clearly circumcised. Strange then that it should catch on in a country such as Ireland where circumcision is and always has been very rare. Where did this convention come from? When did it become established? Can we call this a skeuomorph?

I will not make any puerile jokes about the name of the street in the second image here. The source of the name, according to Julie Craig, author of ‘See Dublin On Foot: An Architectural Walking Guide‘, is the nearby but now disappeared ‘Pleasants Asylum’, which was founded in 1814 by Thomas Pleasants as a home for orphaned young Protestant girls.

Class dismissed.


Comments

3 responses to Do a Cock Doodle

  1. O.M.

    Absolutely brilliant entry, you really got me thinking. Its great to learn what a skeuomorph is…but the image of a circumcised penis interpreted as one brings up a philisophical quandry I think. Could the image of a bare penis head be purely speaking not the ornamental remnant of a functional object that has been retained in order to satisfy the expectations of the beholder, but instead the visual denial of an object (the foreskin) to serve the same purpose? What would a good latin-derived word for that be?

    Other than that the use of squirting ketchup to represent thd discharge of semen or urine is perhaps worthy of mention. Its rare in any painted medium for the sign to be so discretely linked to what is being signified by a shared process of composition.

  2. Joe

    You have admire their spunk.

  3. C.D.

    Oh, come, come.