At the Wall: Graffiti Writers, Urban Territoriality, and the Public Domain

Space and Culture, Vol. 13(3): 315-332, July 2010

http://sac.sagepub.com/content/13/3/315

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The article is based on an ethnographic observation of a crew of graffiti writers in the northeast of Italy. Extending some considerations emerging from the case study, the article advances a reflection on the territorial dimension of graffiti writing in urban environments and the relationship between walls, social relationships and the public domain. This task entails understanding walls as artefacts that are subject to both strategic and tactical uses, as well as the relationship between walls and the public domain as a territorial configuration. In particular, graffiti writing is observed as an interstitial practice that creates its own specific way of using walls: it is a “longitudinal” rather than a “perpendicular” style, which transform the wall into a fragment of a “prolongable” series, a part of a continuing conversation.

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