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
Not too long ago the second instalment of Gossenpost was released! The topic of the magazine remains on the margins with a load of grimy tags but this time round it has a more specific focus around markers. Continue Reading
Belarus is the European anomaly that the rest of the continent views as its ‘last dictatorship’. Although it’s recently been in the news most people, including myself, know next to nothing about this country and its culture. So it’s interesting to come across a new magazine that attempts to remedy this. Continue Reading
Although tagging is generally seen as the ugly face of graff, both by those outside and sometimes even within the graffiti subculture, it’s essentially graffiti in its purest form. Unfortunately there’s not too many magazines that focus purely on tags, street bombing, and filthy walls. So it’s really good to see a new mag out that unapologetically presents this sort of grime. This is the first issue of Gossenpost or to give its translation; ‘the Gutter Paper’. Continue Reading
Bern: International Playground is a quirky new zine from Switzerland. One way to describe it is as an almost scientific catalogue showing samples of graffiti found in a particular environment. The photographic survey presented in this format is the result of more than a decade of research into vandalism Continue Reading
This is something I’m quite excited to see – a magazine that combines graff and footy! There are occasional bits of football graffiti to be found in various magazines and I’ve seen a couple of special street-art editions of ultras magazines too. However, while I was hoping for an in-depth look at football graffiti, Strfzg doesn’t quite do this. Rather than documenting football related graff, the zine is more like the personal travelogue of an FC Augsburg supporter. Continue Reading
The Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art is a new release, edited by Jeffrey Ian Ross, which aims to be a comprehensive reference on the subject. At nearly five-hundred pages the book is pretty mega with contributions from a whole range of experts on a number of different topics. Inside there are thirty-five chapters that are split into four key areas. The first is a look at the different types of graffiti, some historical, and what their meanings are. After is a section that focuses on the theory behind the study of graffiti and street art. This is followed up with examples of different place specific graffiti and finally seven chapters around what effect graffiti has on areas such as policy, culture, or mainstream art. As there’s just so much content in the book it’s been a bit hard to work out where to begin. I was particularly interested by certain themes that kept cropping up through the book so decided to focus on a couple of them. The first of these is how discussion of graffiti, more often than not, revolves around issues of contested urban space, state control and gentrification. Graffiti is closely tied up with the effects of neoliberalism which is discussed a lot in the book. Another interesting topic is female participation and the role of gender within the graffiti subculture. After this I dip into two of the chapters from the theory section and then end by briefly outlining a few other chapters to give a better idea of the range of content. As already mentioned this book is pretty thorough and what’s covered here is only a small sample of that.
This latest post reviews Aestheticizing Public Space by Lu Pan which was released at the end of last year. The book studies graffiti in cities around East Asia; that is Hong Kong, China, Japan and South Korea. Lu Pan works with a broad definition of graffiti that includes everything from conventional graffiti letters, street-art, digital media and even traditional East Asian writing practices. There are four main parts to the book which each focus on different case studies of graffiti and discusses them in the particular social, political, or cultural context they took place. There is also an informative introduction and a ‘special’ fifth chapter of interviews. Lu Pan also sets out four topics for the book; carnival, publicness, aura, and the creative city. However here I’m going to focus on a few themes that crop up throughout the book which stood out for me. In particular there is discussion of the different views and approaches to graffiti in East Asia compared to in the West. Another interesting thread is the relationship between graffiti, public space, and the state. Finally Lu Pan also uses philosophy as a way of explaining and interpreting her subject.