Reading, Writing and Representing the City


Konstantinos Avramidis and Myrto Tsilimpounidi have edited a new book investigating the graffiti & street art cultures. Graffiti and Street Art. Reading, Writing and Representing the City, edited by Routledge, analyzes graffiti and street art images that are ubiquitous and that 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.

Here a short introduction to its contents:


- 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
Jeff Ferrell

- Art or Crime or Both at the Same Time? On the Ambiguity of Images in Public Space
Alison Young

- Reading Between the [Plot] Lines: Framing Graffiti as Multimodal Practice
Samantha Edwards-Vandenhoek

- Interviewing Walls: Towards a Method of Reading Hybrid Surface Inscriptions
Sabina Andron

- Graffiti, Street Art and the Democratic City
Kurt Iveson

PART II: Writing Graffiti, Street Art and the City

- Street Art is a Period, PERIOD: Or, Classificatory Confusion and Intermural Art
Rafael Schacter

- Expressive Measures: An Ecology of the Public Domain
Andrea Mubi Brighenti

- Dead Ends and Urban Insignias: Writing Graffiti and Street Art (Hi)Stories along the U.N. Buffer Zone in Nicosia, 2010-2014
Panos Leventis

- The December 2008 Uprising’s Stencil Images in Athens: Writing or Inventing Traces of the Future?
Stavros Stavrides

- Repetitive Repertoires: How Writing about Cairene Graffiti has Turned into a Serial Monotony
Mona Abaza

PART III: Representing Graffiti, Street Art and the City

- São Paulo’s Pixação and Street Art: Representations of or Responses to Brazilian Modernism?
Alexander Lamazares

- Defensible Aesthetics: Creative Resistance to Urban Policies in Ottawa
Deborah Landry

- #Instafame: Aesthetics, Audiences, Data
Lachlan MacDowall

- Representations of Graffiti and the City in the Novel El francotirador paciente: Readings of the Emergent Urban Body in Madrid
Stephen Luis Vilaseca

- Long Live the Tag: Representing the Foundations of Graffiti
Gregory Snyder

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