Monday, September 17, 2007

Imagined geographies and graffiti

For the first time in human history more of us now live in urban sites than rural, amid growing diversity and struggle for access to diminishing resources and political power. Henri Lefebvre noted that,
The urban space of the street is a place for talk, given over as much to the exchange of words and signs as it is to the exchange of things. A place where speech becomes writing. A place where speech can become ‘savage’ and, by escaping rules and institutions, inscribe itself on walls.
It seems to me that the autobiographical writings, the scrawled messages, and the more ambitious art projects written on the spaces of the urban are important, albeit often unsanctioned, texts. I'm finding graffiti in all its forms very interesting, particularly in relation to issues of public space and Said's notion of imagined geographies.


Joolz said...

I love this stencil; I particularly like the way it refers to the now common practice of photographing streetart - and the increasingly common sharing of it online.
There is a sense in which the producer of this graf predicted (even directed/instigrated) what would happen next.
This notion of dissemination and the using of texts by others to produce new texts of their own, is what new literacy practices are all about. And like this one, the initial text does not have to be digital.

Joolz said...

Oh yes and look... if you look for this on Flickr, you see it as a kind of meme:

Replications of the stencil across a range of urban sites and of course many images of the one you have taken ...but every image different in some way.

Mary Plain said...

When I first looked at this I didn't see it as being about the stencil but as a comment about the view behind.. I guess it works both ways? but of course what DrJoolz says resonates now too and has yet again made me think more.