Free Atari

I have no idea what this means, “Free Atari.” There could be some actual activist urgency to this graffiti. Perhaps Atari is an incarcerated person and the sign is a sign that his community has his back. Or perhaps this is simply a willfully nonsensical plea, with “free” as a verb and Atari as, indeed, the classic gaming company (cum style, cum era, cum nostalgia play). Perhaps it’s a rallying cry to open source the code for Pac-Man and Pong. Perhaps it’s an ironic marquee meant to caption the graveyard of taxi cabs: “Here are some generic electronic husks. Have fun.” Perhaps it’s someone’s tag, and soon enough I’ll begin to see “Free Atari” everywhere. Whatever it means, I wandered past this scene while waiting for paint to be mixed at a nearby store across town from where I live. I had 15 minutes to spare, so rather than linger in the aisles, I walked the circumference of the block and saw this visual feast of dilapidated vehicles, 8bit propaganda, and ambivalent gray blue sky.

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