On January 26th, Barcelona’s Shimmy Gallery will be serving up an experience like no other featuring the famous Parisian musician, Dj Pone; a retrospective of the legendary graffiti video saga Dirty Handz to the beat of Pone’s musical selection alongside the unmistakable audiovisual accompaniment. Montana Colors is proud to be sponsoring this nostalgic initiative, both in the promotion of the event as well as with some other surprises.
If the name Dirty Handz doesn’t ring a bell, it could be for two reasons: either you’re too young, or you live far away from Europe. This trilogy is actually one of the most important audiovisual graffiti documents of the new millennium. Why? Keep reading and we’ll explain…
THE AUDIOVISUAL REVOLUTION
In the ’90s, the audiovisual universe of self-made VHS films about graffiti started to take shape in Europe. The popularity of home video cameras begian to spark interest in this type of documentation, as it did in other urban disciplines such as skateboarding. Some sources indicate that it was on the German scene where the first tapes exclusively dedicated to illegal graffiti, especially on trains, were released.
DH1: From Paris to the World
In 1999 the French scene bangs its fist on the table with Dirty Handz, Destruction of Paris City, which compiles a series of manoeuvres on trains and subways in the French capital. Aside from its surprisingly varied soundtrack, the video jumps out at you with some scenes of heavy bombing while capturing what were —for that time— some very avant-garde styles of graffiti on trains.
DH2: A Milestone Spread on the Internet
The real revolution arrives with Dirty Handz 2, Back On Tracks, released in 2001, which offers a much more painstaking audiovisual edit, almost cinematographic in its nature. Some scenes stick in our collective graffiti memory alongside songs that have become iconic just because they appeared in the film, such as the entrance to Cergy-Le Haut with “Simon Says” by Pharoahe Monch or O’clock’s tagging to the rhythm of “Terrorist” by DJ Vadim. What’s more, the clever combination of graffiti on steel and street bombing enhances the footage enormously.
In addition to all the aesthetic considerations and the quality of the content (SDK, CLM, 156, GT, TMA, etc.), Dirty Handz 2 comes out at a key moment in history: the global democratization of the Internet and the rise of download platforms. This also explains the relevance of this videotape: together with the Swedish production Area 08 (2000), these were the first videos that any European writer with an internet connection could try to download, even if it took weeks or even months.
DH3: The Consolidation of the Saga
After a practically insurmountable legacy, Dirty Handz, Search & Destroy is released in 2006: the third chapter that —now in the era of the DVD— closes out the saga in a memorable way. This time the production takes the tone of a documentary with the first-hand testimony of one of the SDK members: Inxs. The video coherently explains the evolution of the protagonist’s interest in illegal graffiti, from the train and metro missions in Paris and a life of “hustling,” to trips overseas. In addition to a fascinating compilation of the work of the collectives SDK-WUFC, MOAS-TPG, among others, the music, officially mixed once again by Dj Pone, plays an important role in the impact of the video.
The Importance of DJ Pone
Here it is important to highlight the figure of this DJ and composer from the outskirts of Paris, always linked to graffiti culture. Having risen to fame after participating in DJ Cutkiller’s album “Double H DJ crew” and winning the European DMC Championship at the age of 22, DJ Pone has remained constantly active on the music scene, playing different styles, from beatjuggling to electronica. Currently, Pone is the official DJ of the historic Parisian group Supreme NTM.
The Legacy: The MTN Diaries
Few people know that if there is a continuation of this trilogy it is undoubtedly The MTN Diaries. The first season, divided into 10 episodes, was uploaded to Montana Colors TV in 2009 and stars veteran writers from the French capital: some participants in the Dirty Handz videos (Honet, Seb, GT…) and others belonging to the new generations in the same context (Afiler, Horfe…). The second season, which dates back to 2013, once again features writers from the SDK-WUFC collective in a two-part series that recovers the true Dirty Handz flavor, devoting special attention to work on trains.
Reviving the Essence of a Generation
24 years after the first installment, the Dirty Handz saga has become an icon for the generation of writers of the 2000s. Building on the fact that DJ Pone has settled in the city of Barcelona, Shimmy Gallery has taken it upon itself to revisit the trilogy by means of its music. Montana Colors collaborates in this throwback —in the form of a DJ set— that helps consecrate these underground graffiti documents and convert them into cult treasures for posterity.