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.

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