While the past few decades have seen critical and analytical discussions of graffiti and street art enter academic discourse, there remains a wide chasm between those who view these practices as worthy of legitimate scholarly consideration, and those who do not. In recent years, several thinkers, writers, and do-ers have amended their ways of thinking about these practices. Such re-conceptualizations of graffiti and street art are crucial to consider if we are to go forward and negotiate modes of thinking about how graffiti and street art function in society today. This book aims to check in with some of these recent re-conceptualizations and re-visualizations of graffiti and street art.
This book is interactive and interdisciplinary. It straddles the line between scholarly and non-scholarly writing. It offers some carefully considered ideas and assertions, backed up by the recent work of scholars in a range of fields from Communications, to Art History, to Sociology. However, these pages also contain non-linguistic elements, creative experiments, if you will, integrating images, maps, and music, through which we explore alternative means to grapple with the question “What does graffiti mean now?”.
By including some of these elements which focus on my subjective experience of viewing graffiti and street art in the cities in which I live, as well as the cities through which I travel, it is not my intent to produce self-indulgent digital artifacts. Rather, I hope to present some food for thought that may help to illustrate some of the assertions made in the text of these chapters, and that may inspire new ways in which you, the reader, can contemplate the role that graffiti and street art play in your own life. Just as much as we need to address the fact that graffiti and street art mean something different today than they did in the late twentieth century, we also need to recognize that it is important for every individual to ask “What does graffiti mean to me?”.