‘Stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet!’ (BANKSY)

Writing on the wall and urban space

Authored by: Inga Bryden

The Routledge Companion on Architecture, Literature and The City

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781472482730
eBook ISBN: 9781315613154
Adobe ISBN:


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Graffiti (whether anonymous ‘vandalism’ or urban ‘street art’) has been defined by European commentators on urban spaces and practices as inhabiting an in-between or ‘twilight zone’ 1 of communication. As such it raises questions about collective and individual identities; the ownership of location and artistic language, and the aesthetics of place. These questions are central to current debates about the role of creativity in urban ‘regeneration’ (cultural, social and economic). As an intervention in contemporary urban space, graffiti can be understood as a particular form of mark-making which invites engagement with the textual and the textural. Whilst it is accepted that graffiti is a global cultural phenomenon, it is useful to consider how architectural surfaces become page, canvas and artwork through specific graffiti interventions in the form of logos, stencils and exhibitions.

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