Graffiti and street art images are ubiquitous, and they enjoy a very special place in collective imaginary due to their ambiguous nature. Sometimes enigmatic in meaning, often stylistically crude and aesthetically aggressive, yet always visually arresting, they fill our field of vision with texts and images that no one can escape. As they take place on surfaces and travel through various channels, they provide viewers an entry point to the subtext of the cities we live in, while questioning how we read, write and represent them. This book is structured around these three distinct, albeit by definition interwoven, key frames. The contributors of this volume critically investigate underexplored urban contexts in which graffiti and street art appear, shed light on previously unexamined aspects of these practices, and introduce innovative methodologies regarding the treatment of these images. Throughout, the focus is on the relationship of graffiti and street art with urban space, and the various manifestations of these idiosyncratic meetings. In this book, the emphasis is shifted from what the physical texts say to what these practices and their produced images do in different contexts.
All chapters are original and come from experts in various fields, such as Architecture, Urban Studies, Sociology, Criminology, Anthropology and Visual Cultures, as well as scholars that transcend traditional disciplinary frameworks. This exciting new collection is essential reading for advanced undergraduates as well as postgraduates and academics interested in the subject matter. It is also accessible to a non-academic audience, such as art practitioners and policymakers alike, or anyone keen on deepening their knowledge on how graffiti and street art affect the ways urban environments are experienced, understood and envisioned.
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors
Graffiti and Street Art: Reading, Writing and Representing the City
Konstantinos Avramidis and Myrto Tsilimpounidi
PART I: Reading Graffiti, Street Art and the City
- Graffiti, Street Art and the Dialectics of the City
- Art or Crime or Both at the Same Time? On the Ambiguity of Images in Public Space
- Reading Between the [Plot] Lines: Framing Graffiti as Multimodal Practice
- Interviewing Walls: Towards a Method of Reading Hybrid Surface Inscriptions
- Graffiti, Street Art and the Democratic City
- Street Art is a Period, PERIOD: Or, Classificatory Confusion and Intermural Art
- Expressive Measures: An Ecology of the Public Domain
- Dead Ends and Urban Insignias: Writing Graffiti and Street Art (Hi)Stories along the U.N. Buffer Zone in Nicosia, 2010-2014
- The December 2008 Uprising’s Stencil Images in Athens: Writing or Inventing Traces of the Future?
- Repetitive Repertoires: How Writing about Cairene Graffiti has Turned into a Serial Monotony
- São Paulo’s Pixação and Street Art: Representations of or Responses to Brazilian Modernism?
- Defensible Aesthetics: Creative Resistance to Urban Policies in Ottawa
- #Instafame: Aesthetics, Audiences, Data
- Representations of Graffiti and the City in the Novel El francotirador paciente: Readings of the Emergent Urban Body in Madrid
- Long Live the Tag: Representing the Foundations of Graffiti
PART II: Writing Graffiti, Street Art and the City
Andrea Mubi Brighenti
PART III: Representing Graffiti, Street Art and the City
Stephen Luis Vilaseca
'This essay collection yields illuminating insights into graffiti and its close cousin street art. With a globally-diverse range of sites, and contributions from leading academics, this is essential reading for anyone wishing to better understand one of the most distinctive features of 21st century urbanism.' - Iain Borden, University College London, U.K
'With contributions by authors from diverse geographical and disciplinary backgrounds, this book pushes for new ways to understand, study and write about graffiti and street art. In doing so, this volume constitutes an important step towards breaking down disciplinary boundaries and establishing street art studies as a multifaceted academic discipline in its own right.' - Peter Bengtsen, Lund University, Sweden
'Graffiti and Street Art is a competent book, covering important, diverse and emerging issues in the field of graffiti and street art. Chapters are written by both well known scholars of the subject and emerging voices in the field. The interdisciplinary nature of the book, along with the fact it theoretically explores unexamined subjects such as graffiti in online environments, and its geographical coverage of underexplored urban contexts (e.g., São Paulo, Athens, Nicosia) is worth noting.' - Jeffrey Ian Ross, University of Baltimore, U.S.A