Track & Field Interview

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Track and Field / PE zine

I recently got sent a copy of a magazine called Track & Field. Open mouthed in horror I began to read the introduction; what an earth is a defence of Thatcherism doing in a graff mag I thought to myself?! Well it turns out the short introductory essay on competition actually refers to the sporting rivalry between Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe in the ‘80s. The determination of these two athletes is used as a metaphor for the struggles of a graffiti writer. Sports fans are invited into the pages of a magazine that aims to “bring a voice to culture that shows no sign of taking a defeat just yet.” The ‘voice’ refers to the index of text, in the back pages, that follows the photography.     Continue Reading

Écrivez partout !

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Delete Elite

Delete Elite by Ben Brohanszky is my new favourite book! Published just last year the title, taken from off the street, is intended as a statement. The book is pitched as a study of ‘conceptual graffiti’. It contains the stuff that doesn’t neatly fit within the street-art/graffiti binary. Instead it is an esoteric meander that takes the reader from the earliest roots of modern graffiti to its contemporary manifestations. From the Provo movement through to Néma this is a tour of wall writing on the boundary of the conventional graffiti movement. The whole book is meticulously referenced and footnoted throughout but also has a casual style which includes line drawings done by the author with his eyes closed. Continue Reading

Framing A Counter-Narrative

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When I first picked up Graffiti Grrlz I thought the book might contain an argument along the lines of how women are excluded from the masculine graffiti subculture. Actually the book’s author, Jessica Pabón-Colón, has written a positive account of female involvement in graffiti. That’s not to say the book paints a completely rosy picture but that it concentrates on how women practice and contribute to graffiti in an empowering way. Pabón-Colón wants her book to weave the “individual stories (of female participation) into a narrative about how they navigate their experiences as a collective within the subculture”. Through this narrative Graffiti Grrlz provides new and original insights into graffiti. The book explores the activities of female writers, based on interviews with the author, and how they ‘perform’ feminism through the graffiti subculture. From Africa to South America, graffiti jams to graffiti collectives, digital social networks and the internet archive there’s a broad range of experiences covered.

Graffiti Grrlz

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(Un)Titled//Titled

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Un(Authorized)//Commissioned

Before I begin this review I have to admit to being the type of ‘non-specialised sceptic’ who Andrea Baldini criticises in the recent Un(Authorized)//Commissioned book. The publication he writes in can be regarded as a curators guide to exhibiting graffiti. This is not a topic that would usually appeal to me so, not being a particular expert nor a lover of art-galleries, I approached the book with mild cynicism. However the book brings up some interesting ideas that are worth discussing and has changed my opinion to some extent. Continue Reading

XARPI Book Interview

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XARPI book

I recently got sent an unusual book from Brazil titled XARPI which focuses on the unique tagging culture of Rio de Janeiro. The book’s author, João Marcelo, has produced a brilliant typology of xarpi, the variant of pixação found in his native city. Marcelo is a graphic designer, graduated in Industrial Design in 1998 at the Faculdade da Cidade, who has spent the last eight years dedicated to documenting every corner of Rio where xarpi could be found. As this style of graff is little known on this side of the globe I decided to ask him a bit more about how his project developed, what exactly xarpi is, and how the book came about: Continue Reading

Is 52 weeks enough? Unsettling archaeology with graffiti recording

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This is a guest post by Dr Alex Hale. Alex is an archaeologist, who works in Scotland. He considers archaeology to be a creative practice that should be far more accessible and part of a democratic process that enables people to understand themselves, each other and our space-time journeys together. Continue Reading

…uvwxyz

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for the record zine

for the record is definitely one of the more unusual publications I’ve come across. The zine documents, what I suppose could be called, ‘conceptual graffiti’. Rather than just observing the urban environment the artist abcdef acts as a kind of militant-flâneur whose photographs make a record of unconventional, often low-key, spray paint interventions. Continue Reading

A Study of Dublin Latrinalia

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Hard Graft zine

Scholarly books on graffiti are all the rage at the moment and a chapter on ‘latrinalia’ is almost obligatory. It seems that the study of latrinalia came about as a way for bored academics to fill their time with a quirky project. Simply nip into the university’s lavatory and, hey presto!, there’s the material for a slightly amusing thesis with some bold statements about the state of society. Continue Reading

99/40

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99mm green cover

The last time I reviewed the 99mm zine I was surprised to find that the publication had been in production for twenty years! So it’s good to know that it’s still going strong as Ian Vanek has recently released, what he believes to be, the best 99mm yet! This time the zine’s contents aren’t published in the standard zine scheme of black & white but a cool jazzy green with a stitched spine. Apparently this is in commemoration of its 40th edition which harks back to the zine’s origins as a blue DIY magazine. Continue Reading

Le Langage Du Mer ?

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Graffiti Brassaï: Le Langage Du Mur

As an Englishman my ability to speak any language except my own is severely limited. So when I first picked up Graffiti Brassaï: Le Langage Du Mur I was a bit puzzled how graffiti could be the language of the sea? I quickly realised my mistake! In fact this is the first serious art-historical study of Brassaï’s Graffiti photography series. Researched by the curator Karolina Ziebinska-Lewandowska the book sheds light on the artist Brassaï and graffiti as his subject. Continue Reading