The notion of periphery usually provides a starting point for the critical examination and problematization of the contemporary dynamics of capitalism, ranging from global inequality to extractivism. At the same time, the concept of periphery can be transferred from the field of political-economic analysis to the field of artistic, artivistic and political practices in urban space. Peripheries should therefore be considered relationally (Massey 1994) at the level of social space (Lefebvre 2013), and embodiment (Muršič 2006).
The conference Periphery of Street Art / Street Art on the Periphery draws on the world-systems theory (see Wallerstein 2004), both in terms of space-power relations and from the perspective of liminal, extra-institutional street art practises and their synergies with other conceptual approaches and body politics. On the one hand, the conference focuses on the (geographical) periphery of street art as a subpolitical, activist practice. On the other, the conference addresses street art on the periphery, e.g. in the field of non-heteronormative, queer and feminist street art, the emancipatory potential of street art media, and the transformation of street art into performative forms of expression, new media, intermedia and other formats.
The conference will also present approaches and studies ranging from the historical analysis of examples and manifestations of proto-street art, use and function of street art practices in subaltern political and social movements, to contributions exploring the role of street art in the (re)appropriation and marking of public space by subpolitical and subcultural groups, as well as the processes of co-optation of street art and thus its symbolic, aesthetic and commercial transfer from the urban peripheries to creative, artistic and urban centres.
The conference is fee and open to the general public (admission free).
The street art conference programme spans two days (Tuesday, Wednesday) and is divided into panels. Each panel will have 3 to 4 papers with a maximum presentation length of 15 minutes.
The street art conference will be held in person at the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and virtually via stream on the YouTube platform. The stream will integrate, when possible, online and face-to-face platforms.
Conference participants will have the opportunity to ask questions via chat. The online moderator will collect the questions and forward them to the panel chair.
Title: The Chosen Few: Aesthetics and Ideology in Football Fan Graffiti & Street Art
On the fringes of sports culture are the ultras, the European football fans whose pyrotechnics, chants, wildly creative stunts, and hooliganism are notorious. Using excerpts from his archive containing several hundred photographs of ultras’ street art and graffiti, including everything from elaborate murals to stickers to “scratchitto” incisions and spray-paint duels, the lecture will present the visual iconography of a fascinating underworld. The ultra subculture is built by the “no-bodys,” the anonymous (primarily) men whose attachment to their teams sometimes crosses the line into disturbing nationalist, racist sentiments and even “Blood and Soil” extremism. This talk will critically reflect on the complex and controversial representations of the Ultras in their graffiti and street art, shed light on understanding the mentality of the factions in a history of political instability, and make the case that dissent is a crucial element for democracies.
Mitja Velikonja is a lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana. He’s reasearching the sociological aspects of culture and contemporary religious-nationalistic political mythologies, especially central european and south slavic ones. In 2019 he published the Post-Socialist Political Graffiti in the Balkans and Central Europe (Routledge). In 2021 he published his latest book The Chosen Few: Aesthetics and Ideology in Football Fan Graffiti and Street Art (DoppelHouse Press).
Affiliation: Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana
Title: F*** Gays Homophobia! Queering Street Art & the Adventures of Inspector Yoda the Wrinkled
Between 2013 and 2018, a little stenciled pug was popping up in the streets of Belgrade, Serbia. In its short and productive artivist career, the pug called Inspector Yoda the Wrinkled (Inspektor Yoda Zgužvani) communicated almost 200 distinct messages to passersby. Ranging from anti-hate and social commentary, across pro-trans and queer, to everyday sayings, in these messages the street art character playfully appropriated common speech, often subverting or queering the content/language. Apart from personal creative expression, Inspector Yoda the Wrinkled’s messages also offered important gender and social critique in public space, and tackle a wider significance of political or activist street art, especially in a country were queer art in general is not that frequent, nor public.
Despite a notable presence and original style, Inspector Yoda the Wrinkled’s opus has not been properly analyzed as a whole. Additionally, his pieces are disappearing due to the ephemeral nature of street art and the fact the artist is not active since 2020. Considering all of the above, my aim is to understand how queer artivism operates in the streets of Belgrade during 2010s to encourage the readers to pay attention to and understand the importance of marginalized voices in the street/public spaces. These voices can serve as powerful critical reflections of our society, a playful and creative tool to symbolically subvert and condemn violence and right-wing extremism. To achieve this, I am combining queer as a theory (especially queer space) and street art as a field, supported by LGBTQ+ activist publications, global queer street art discussions, and interviews with the author.
Srđan Tunić is a freelance curator and researcher from Belgrade, Serbia, currently doing his MA studies in Art History at the University of California, Davis. With Ljiljana Radošević, he is the co-founder of Street Art Walks Belgrade (STAW BLGRD) and a member of Street Art Belgrade. He has published several texts on graffiti and street art, in Belgrade and Podgorica, covering ecology, history, and queer and social artivism.
Affiliation: Street Art Walks Belgrade (STAW BLGRD) and Art History MA student at University of California, Davis
Title: Street Art and the War in Ukraine
Normal life of Ukrainian citizens was violently interrupted by a horrible act of aggression from the Russian state. At the same time the Russian government has attacked independent media and organizations around its own country, basically turning from an illusion of democracy to military dictatorship. This situation led to what we call the fall of a new iron curtain, closing the country, making It not even a periphery, but a separate reality. TV propaganda, the only source of information for the masses in Russia lies about war, and street artists, activists, journalists, protesters are trying to spread the information using graffiti and street art interventions. Their other goal is to show the world that not all the Russians support this war. At the same time Ukrainians use creative ideas, posters, and navigation to encourage the citizens, as well as to scare and convince Russian soldiers to stop fighting and leave the independent state of Ukraine.
Anton Polsky is an artist, activist, independent researcher, cofounder of Partizaning platform, author of publications and university courses on the history and theory of street art. He was born and currently lives in Moscow.
Title: Artist presentation
Title: Graffiti and Vandal Street Art: From the Periphery of Urbex Wastelands to the “Cultural Third Places” in France.
In France, the concept of TLC (Tiers Lieux Culturels), which refers to Ray Oldenburg’s “Third Places”, and on which we work in an international scientific team, is still difficult to define since it designates very different collaborative “spaces” which embodies the desire of communities of citizens to share, to exchange, to invent the future. Among them are many previously abandoned industrial wastelands, such as the tobacco factory of “La Belle de Mai” in Marseille, the “Condition Publique” in Roubaix, the shipyards in south of France, the “109” in Nice, etc. Not all brownfield sites can become TLC and many are still abandoned and so offer various illegal forms of art, essentially proto-graffiti and painted walls. We studied this in our many explorations which can be labelled URBEX (urban exploration of abandoned places) and which aim to cross-reference these cultures that mix in these places and see how they interact with the outside world. We were interested in industrial and graffiti and street art history and through these explorations we quickly evolved towards a multidisciplinary approach: sociology, anthropology, art history and philosophy. And we show here how a form of street art on the periphery of urban space, in places that were a priori forbidden and on themes that were often protesters, is finally able to seduce some official institutions and the TLC and thus express itself in spaces that were previously closed to it.
Researcher in philosophy and art history, specialist in contemporary arts and more specifically in street art, Christian Gerini has published articles in scientific journals and books as well as in general public journals on street art such as Street Art Magazine. His sociological and anthropological approach of graffiti and street art can be seen in a one-hour documentary he made in 2021 for the online television TV CultureGnum (https://www.canal-u.tv/chaines/culturegnum). He is an Associate researcher at the IMSIC/CREAMED laboratory (University of Toulon, France) and president of the association Nouvelles Mémoires (Arts, heritage, scientific culture, street art).
Affiliation: University of Toulon
Title: Proto Street Art in Ljubljana in the 1980s and 1990s: Symbolic and Aesthetic Transformation of Decaying Public Space into an Renowned Alternative Culture Centre Metelkova
Ljubljana has a rich history of graffiti and street art even before their proliferation on a global level. The visual essay focuses on three prominent examples of proto street art that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. They are the work of environmental activists Mizzart, the musical band Strip Core and an academic painting tandem Tina Drčar and Bine Skrt.
Their artistic expressions were very different, but together with other artists and activists, they created a powerful tool for the conceptualization of space of the biggest squat in Slovenia. The self-proclaimed city of Metelkova (AKC Metelkova) became Europe’s most successful urban squat. Today AKC Metelkova is one of the best known attractions of Ljubljana. As an alternative culture centre it brings together a variety of different artistic practices and events.
The essay visually manifests the role of street art in the reappropriation and marking of public space. Activists and subcultural groups used graffiti, murals and other techniques for
symbolic and aesthetic transformation of the abandoned army barracks into a renowned urban center. Their achievements have also caused the process of appropriation of aesthetics of street art and its commercialization.
Ljubljana is a capital city of a small country that represents geographical periphery in terms of space-power relations. On the other hand, it is also a city with remarkably powerful historical examples of the role of street art and graffiti in the appropriation of public space.
Helena Konda, PhD student on Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme in the Humanities and Social Sciences of Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Social Sciences of University of Ljubljana. Currently working on her doctoral thesis on graffiti practices from underground activities to art galleries. Published scientific articles and the scientific monograph Graffiti in Ljubljana: the History, the Graffitists, the City (2017). Fields of interest: graffiti studies, visual ethnography, documentaries.
Affiliation: Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana
Title: Pieces of Wall
“The street is chaos and out of the chaos, comes art,” Timor-Leste’s long-serving street artist Tony Amaral said to me during an interview in 2019, where the focus of our conversation located itself between Tony’s studio practice and his street practice; a private and a public, a centre and a periphery. This paper addresses concerns of the centre and the periphery in Timor-Leste’s Street Art in dialogue with Tony Amaral.
This centre-periphery proposal is nuanced and evidenced in multiple ways. It plays out both through Timor-Leste’s peripheral location in the world and also the shifting role and status of young people in the country’s history, at one point central to the fight for independence from Indonesian occupation, they now find themselves blighted by the struggle for resistance, teetering at the edge of the contemporary national narrative.
The paper explores James C Scott’s concept of hidden transcripts alongside the thoughts of Tony Amaral to illustrate the nuanced notions of identity and resistance in the country’s Street Art and Graffiti, and the unique interface of its existence located across both the public and private sphere. In so doing, it demonstrates that both in the face of and in the life led beyond domination, an aesthetic nexus of resistance and recuperation where the “open interaction” and the “offstage” interaction of its sites portray the contest of its post-colonial and post-conflict context.
Chris Parkinson uses photographic processes and practices to remix the visual vocabulary of urban environments across cultures. His compositions are indebted to seriality and abstraction, rhythm and affect. Parkinson’s socially engaged practice sustains a strong connection to the region. His 2010 book, Peace of Wall: Street Art from East Timor, is described as a ‘book of evocative photojournalism capturing an important moment in East Timor’s history through its walls.’ His PhD at the University of Melbourne researches collective art practices and public cultures in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Dili, Timor-Leste.
Affiliation: University of Melbourne
Title: Artist presentation: Fire Mountain: Life Behind the Edge of Society
Title: Artist presentation: East Eric or the Extreme Re-enchantment
Originally, street art was created to transcend everyday life. We live in a place (ugly or not), so we re-enchant it, we appropriate it, we transform it, we imagine something else. East Eric goes further, perhaps too far? In fact, he does not hesitate to destroy a car (a Smart car painted in gold in 2000),to survey places off-limits to the public, and to paint with the fire extinguisher; in and around the woods. Nominally he would be called a vandal, but this vandal has a message, and it touches us because it is highly modern. The presentation will look at his graffiti, his accusations and his actions. Has East Eric gone too far? Is it justified? Is it really a question? Is it helpful? Can art justify anything?
Title: Timeless Graffiti
The concept of liminality that Arnold Van Gennep develops in his book entitled “Rites of Passage” (1909), is perfect to describe a new practice that has recently arrived in the art world: the sale of Street Art/Graffiti as pieces of NFTs. This essay will analyze and compare different specific platforms focused on the sale of Street Art/Graffiti as NFTs and will also analyze examples of what we consider to be good uses of NFTs by certain international artists from the current urban art scene.
Elena Calderon Alaez is an independent researcher of graffiti and street art. Flaneur nomad from Madrid. Graduated in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at Complutense University of Madrid. Active member of the group ST.A.CO (Street Art Conservators at TEI of Athens) during a Erasmus scholarship in Greece (course 2014-2015). Final project on conservation and restoration of works by the street art artist Eltono in Madrid. In 2017 finished a Master’s degree in Conservation and Exhibition of Contemporary Art at UPV in Bilbao. Final project on interventionist/appropriationist Urban Artists in Spain. Currently part of the Street Art Cities community, where documents murals from cities like Bilbao, Stockholm, Reykjavík, Maribor and Tokyo. Active member of urban art / graffiti researchers group in Spain: Urban Art Observatory with which published various articles in the online magazine MURAL Street Art Conservation. Based in Tokyo from 2020. Currently Chief Curator of Totemo NFT platform.
Title: On the Outskirts of the Periphery: Street Art for the Blind
Graffiti and street art are the most liberal form of art that is accessible to everyone. Right? Therefore, as researchers, we need to document it and interpret it in an adequate way that will allow all to understand it on a deeper level. So we, from Street Art Belgrade, have envisioned an online institution that will treat graffiti and street art as an urban heritage. Only after we produced and started promoting our first VR exhibition did we understand that there is a whole group of people that cannot participate in our activities since they cannot see graffiti and street art in the first place because they are blind.
Project “Art in Passage(ing)” (Umetnost u prolazu) came out of the need to make graffiti and street art visible and understandable to all citizens of Belgrade. By using the newest 3D printing technology we reproduced the murals that already existed on the streets and that were done without official permission so that blind people can experience them. But as soon as we started working with the partners from the Association of the Blind of Belgrade we realized that the way we imagined the project developing is not going to work. And something that was supposed to be a simple and straightforward project turned into a socially engaged endeavor that was not only aimed at the blind but at the all citizens of Belgrade. Why blind people in Belgrade do not go out without assistance? Why is it so hard to reproduce the Braille alphabet in 3D prints? Why should we reproduce murals in 3D prints in color if they are made for blind? These are just some of the issues and dilemmas we encountered while working on this project, and they were the impetus to constantly learn and adjust our perception of street and art in it.
As an art historian Ljiljana Radošević has been researching graffiti and street art since 2000. She is the curator of the first VR exhibition of Belgrade’s graffiti and street art and part of the Street Art Belgrade team that made the project “Art in Passage” dedicated to the blind and visually impaired.
Affiliation: Street Art Belgrade
Title: Street And Graffiti Art Between Augmented Reality And Artificial Intelligence: A Copyright Perspective
The street art and graffiti scenes are under the influence of constantly developing technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI). This interaction between AR and AI on the one hand and street art and graffiti on the other, can materialize in several ways. First, artists themselves can use these technologies to enhance or modify their works, but more often the interaction happens because others find street art and graffiti to be interesting forms of input data or backdrops for digital creations.
The talk will investigate the developments in AR and AI and their intersection with street and graffiti art. It will include current examples of such technologies being applied to street and graffiti art.
The talk will then deal with general copyright and moral rights’ issues arising from the encounter between these forms of art and AR and AI, focusing on whether works derived from street and graffiti pieces by using AR and AI may be protected by copyright. As the subject covered in this article has not been well researched thus far and to the best of our knowledge no case has been decided that touches on these aspects, there is some speculation on how judges may face such issues, and how AR and AI could impact on the development of these artistic movements.
Enrico Bonadio, Reader at City, University of London. He teaches, lectures and advises in the field of intellectual property (IP) law. His current research focuses on copyright protection of non-conventional forms of creativity. He has attracted funds from a variety of institutions, and has recently edited books such as the “Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti” (Cambridge University Press 2019). Enrico is currently working on his monograph “Penetration of Copyright into Street Art and Graffiti Sub-Cultures” (CUP forthcoming 2023).
Siri-Helen Egeland, assistant professor at The University of Agder, Norway. She teaches business- and IP-law and is working on a PhD with the title: “Issues on Copyright and Moral Rights in the intersections between visual art, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. A comparison between the current legal regulations in the EU, the UK, and the USA”. This project is partly funded by Sørlandets Art Museum and The Sørlandet Knowledge Foundation (SKF).
Affiliation: University of London / University of Agder, Norway
Title: Artist presentation – Laser Graffiti
Title: Nuart Journal Launch, Issue #6 – RECONNECT
Following last year’s LOCKDOWN issue, the last Nuart Journal edition explores the theme of RECONNECTION and the ways in which researchers, artists, curators, and communities are forging renewed connections with cities, projects, and each other as the uncertainty and disconnection of the past two years recedes.
Invited lecture: Pedro Soares Neves
Title: Urban Creativity Lisbon activities 2022 – Liminal
Liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. About Liminal (state of in-betweenness) Arnold van Gennep’s in “Les Rites de Passage” (1908), introduced the term into the field of anthropology. Van Gennep drew the attention to liminality, as a new abbreviated form of an individual´s deliberate and voluntary transition into a disoriented, intermediate state – through time amidst a ritual. Since CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) in 1959 Van Eyck was anthropologizing architecture into in-betweenness. Van Eyck thusly marked the beginning of ‘architectural structuralism’ and stated an attempt to reunite spatial and temporal polarities, to evoke a sense of place. Since the 1950´s, Victor Turner, a cultural anthropologist, on the other hand, reintroduced liminality into anthropology in his essay, “Liminal to Liminoid, in Play, Flow, and Ritual” (1974) Georges Teyssot’s “Aldo van Eyck´s Threshold: The Story of an Idea” (2008), where liminality and in-betweenness were firstly articulated in architecture. The spacetime image of liminality extends into the context of urban morphology, where liminality temporally exists as a ‘framing’ in an urban pattern. But it also exists in a duration – suspended in time – transitorily mediated in reality and fiction. Where liminality is touched through the human sense of time amidst a physical environment, to its exposure, in an urban context, as a margin – a liminal threshold – of the temporal image of architecture in Jane M. Jacobs and Stephen Cairns’ “Buildings Must Die” (2014). Terms such as abandonment, ruination, and dereliction exemplify a presence with liminality, as a gradually dispersing phenomenon into the progressive placidity of an urban setting. Evidently not to be neglected the adverse context of post-pandemic uncertainty and multiple national and international crises of today.
Pedro Soares Neves, multidisciplinary and post graduate academic training in Design and Urbanism (Lisbon, Barcelona and Rome). Designer and consultant for numerous city councils and nationwide, public and private institutions in their approaches to informal visual signs production (Graffiti, Street Art, Urban Creativity) methodologically focused on the role of the user in the design process (Usability, Interaction Design, User Experience, Design Thinking). Experienced practitioner and academic, organizer of the annual Lisbon Conference and Scientific Journals: Urbancreativity.org.
Executive Director AP2/ Urbancreativity
Research collaborator of: University of Lisbon Faculty of Fine Arts / Artistic Studies Research Centre (CIEBA/FBAUL);
Associate Laboratory of Robotics and Engineering Systems / Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI/LARSyS/IST);
Interdisciplinary Centre for History, Culture and Societies (CIDEHUS/UE)
Title: Context Art in the Margins: Differences and Similarities in Urban Art in a Globalized World
In this paper we want to reflect on the concept of frontier, limit and liminality applied to urban art and contemporary muralism, I understand urban art as an art of context. Specifically, we will focus on Andalusia, the south of the north, the southernmost region of Spain and Europe that, due to its geographical position, has strong links with Africa and, through language and history, with Latin America. This will allow us to adopt a critical stance in the face of the apparent homogenization that globalization currently entails, which has increased with the use of social networks. For this reason, special attention has been paid to the content and contexts in which these artistic expressions have been created, paying attention to the notions of center/periphery at a global level, but also at a local level, within the provinces or the neighborhoods of the cities themselves. Reference will be made to artivism, and to specific artists such as Chermie Ferreira or Coché Tomé, having carried out interviews for this purpose. In addition, special attention will be paid to the situation of women, since it is much more complicated for urban artists to go out and paint at night under the same circumstances as their male counterparts
Laura Luque Rodrigo holds a PhD in art history. She is a lecturer at the University of Jaén, and co-coordinator of the Urban and Public Art Group of the GE-IIC. She has published dozens of articles, attended many international conferences and coordinated various events. Her lines of research are related to urban art, art and gender and education and art.
Carmen Moral Ruiz holds a PhD in history and the arts, is a restorer, lecturer at the University of Huelva and member of the Urban and Public Art Group of the GE-IIC. She also has numerous publications and professional experience in different fields, from restoration to education.
Title: The Periphery of Street Art
Policies: The Relationship between Policy and Practice
Street art serves a major avenue for public expressions, reflecting and influencing social, political, cultural, and aesthetic values. Because of its artistic character, location, and public exposure, street artworks also incorporate tensions that challenge policymakers, owners, and those involved in their creation. Over the years, local governments have promoted policies that advance and manage street art and mural creation while balancing public and private rights and interests.
These policies vary by city, reflecting municipalities’ ability to control their public realm and the way policymakers address public space. First, their scope may vary depending on how murals or street art are defined or on the space to which the policy is applied. Second, policymakers make deliberate choices regarding their level of control over murals. While high level of control over murals has its advantages, it may conflict with freedoms of property owners and artists, eroding their ability to manage their public realm and promote sanitized, policed, and commodified urban spaces devoid of spontaneity, organic development. As a result, the level of control is affected by normative decisions policymakers make regarding the values and rights they wish to promote in the city’s public realm.
Street art policies are influenced by geographic considerations. The presentation addresses the relationship between these policies and the legal and geographical landscape of cities. It demonstrates how policies act as a sort of urban barometer or traffic light, signaling which areas are considered taboo and which as a playground of experimentation. Where cities invest and where deliberate neglect occurs. Finally, where is neglect viewed as a blight and where is it viewed as a beneficial force that paves the way for gentrification and economic interests.
Eynat Mendelson-Shwartz, PhD, is a town planner, architect, and artist, currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. She has been investigating mural and street art policy for the past six years, utilizing her profession and extensive knowledge of urban planning and governance to generate critical thinking on the subject. Eynat has authored a number of articles in leading academic publications.
Affiliation: Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Title: The Role of Street Art in Sustainable Development: Art and Social Change
This paper will consider the role that may be played by street art in building people’s awareness of key sustainability issues, via examination of a recent initiative, TOward2030: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? (Lavazza, 2018-2022). Street art’s responsiveness to site-specificity and to both global and local concerns make this accessible art form particularly well suited to the adaptation of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to divergent cultural contexts. Indeed, this process of ‘cultural localisation’ is increasingly regarded as essential to translating the ‘universal language’ of the SDGs into forms that resonate with people living in radically different cities, towns and regions around the world. In this paper, the inclusion of critical and activist perspectives on sustainability is intended to provide a meaningful bridge for street artists, the public, and associated stakeholders to connect with the SDGs. This active, informed and critical consideration of the issues at stake is aligned to the critical stance of many street artists. Street art is at base a form of expression that responds to social issues and debates in a way that invites everyday people to become part of an ongoing conversation. This paper provides a detailed road map for artists, cities, and community groups to enter this critically important conversation in a manner that resonates with street art’s own ethics of critical engagement.
Susan Hansen is Chair of the Visual and Creative Methods Group at Middlesex University, London. She is Europe’s most cited street art scholar. Susan is interested in graffiti and street art’s existence within a field of social interaction – as a form of conversation on urban walls that are constantly changing. She is Editor of Nuart Journal, Co-Editor of Visual Studies, and Vice-President of the International Visual Sociology Association.
Affiliation: Middlesex University London
Title: Street Heroines (2021): Screening & discussion with director
Street Heroines is an award-winning feature-length documentary celebrating the courage and creativity of women who despite their lack of recognition have been an integral part of the graffiti and street art movement since the beginning. Authentic vérité storytelling woven between an interview-driven narrative, Street Heroines juxtaposes the personal experiences of three emerging Latina artists from New York City, Mexico City, and São Paulo as they navigate a male-dominated subculture to establish artistic identities within chaotic urban landscapes.
Alexandra Henry is an award-winning filmmaker with more than 15 years of international experience in commercial production and branded entertainment. In 2021 her first feature-length documentary, Street Heroines, won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the Portland Film Festival. In 2019 she was selected for SHOOT Magazine’s New Directors Showcase and nominated as a finalist for the STARZ & The Wrap Women’s ‘Telling Our Stories’ film competition. Alexandra has been recognized as a CurateNYC Emerging Artist for her body of photographic work that explores the human experience through architecture and graffiti in densely populated urban environments. Her photographs and films have been exhibited around the world and at prestigious institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. She received her B.A. in Diplomacy & World Affairs from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA and speaks Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Italian. Based in New York City, she was born in Alexandria, Virginia and raised near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
Mankica Kranjec is an award-winning photojournalist and freelance photographer in the field of urban space with a focus on street art. She participated in more than 50 solo and group exhibitions. She received numerous acclaims for her work: in 2021, first prize in International Theatre Photography Competition in three categories (Portrait, Open, Art); in 2013, first prize from Slovenia Press Photo, etc. In 2016, as part of the exhibition Banksy, thanks for the flowers at Layer’s House (Kranj), she conducted the conversation with Sany, the director of the first documentary film about female graffiti artists, entitled Girl Power. She is currently completing her postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences on the topic of female street artists under the supervision of Dr Mitja Velikonja.
Title: Open Sky Museums and the Production of Social Space
This paper is dedicated to situating the practices and production of open sky museums within an urban context of periphery through two related works. First, the complex and dense Henri Lefebvre (2013) work on production of social space and its three interdependent elements: Spatial Practices (perceived space), Representations of Space (conceived space) and Spaces of Representations (lived space). Second, the arguments of the “right to write the city” developed by Andrzej Zieleniec (2016). The goal of this paper is to gain deeper understanding about the production process of social space and the perception of neighbors on the semi-ephemeral street art representation in the open sky museum in Santiago de Chile. Whether or not the muralism and graffiti in the open sky museum, in the words of Zieleniec, can be read as a means for reclaiming and remaking the city as a more humane and just, social space.
Francisca Fernández Merino is an almost graduated Master Student at the University of Passau. Her research interests include political sociology, contentious politics, social organization, and public art expressions. She is particularly interested in shared patterns of political art expression in contentious episodes and street expressions as a means for the creation of cohesion and social space. Recently, her work is focused on the audience’s response and experience to political graffiti.
Affiliation: University of Passau
Title: Sites of Oblivion, Walls of Remembrance: Street Art and the Recovery of Memory in the Arizona Borderlands
For most of the 20th century, the history of Arizona was written through the lens of the civilizing mission of American pioneers who enabled this wild, Indian-infested territory to eventually be admitted into the union as the 48th state. This narrative sought to devalue, and in many cases completely erase, the history of indigenous peoples in this region, as well as downplay the contributions of Hispanic settlement following the arrival of Europeans. The complex palimpsests of indigenous and Hispanic cultures have only recently been brought to light by new generations of historians that re-evaluated the aggressive modernization in Southwest cities such as Tucson, where many aspects of the past were not only obliviated in the historiography but also in the physical landscape due to unrestrained growth and multiple waves of urban renewal. Indigenous toponyms were appropriated and historical barrios were bulldozed in the name of progress, shopping malls, and the American Dream. Although pioneer narratives and the success of Tucson’s expansion in the past 100 years deserve attention, a complete history requires the inclusion of all the region’s historical layers and memories. This paper explores the power of graffiti and street art to recover the suppressed past with an analysis of Tucson’s mural memoryscape, particularly focusing on sites dealing with historical issues. The walls of the “Old Pueblo” provide a perfect canvas to restore and celebrate the cultural heritage of the city in all its phases, from the Tohono O’odham settlements to the Mexican era through to the Anglo pioneer period that transformed a dusty outpost into a modern metropolis. The paper will integrate fieldwork on street art with recent historiographical trends on the Borderlands and memory politics of the Southwest, as well as reflect on the future possibilities of telling history through “walls of remembrance.”
Vjeran Pavlaković is an associate professor at the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Rijeka, Croatia. He received his PhD in History in 2005 from the University of Washington, and has published articles on cultural memory, transitional justice in the former Yugoslavia, and the Spanish Civil War. He was the lead researcher on the Memoryscapes project as part of Rijeka’s European Capital of Culture in 2020 and a co-founder of the Cres Summer School on Transitional Justice and Memory Politics. Current research includes transnational muralization of conflict and a history of Dalmatian immigrants in the American Southwest.
Affiliation: Associate Professor at the University of Rijeka
Title: A Living Gallery: The Challenges of Conserving Popular Memories amidst Urban Transformation
In this combined video-presentation the Colombian artivist Aka and the Estonian researcher Maria Lindmäe will discuss the challenges of conserving popular memory through street art, social activism and urban gardening in what used to be one of Medellín’s most marginalized and peripheralized districts – Comuna 13. In recent years, parts of Comuna 13 have risen to the focus of mass tourism thanks to institutional efforts of branding the area as a showcase of the city’s rapid transformation from a global crime capital to the ‘most innovative city in the world’. Focusing on the popular memory project A Living Gallery (Galería Viva) that is led by Aka, the dialogue draws on Daskalaki and Mould’s (2013) conceptualization of urban subversions as rhizomatic social formations. This allows us to speak of social artivism in Medellín not so much as an antipode of a homogeneous cityscape, but as a fluid, emerging process that allows it to grow deep and wide throughout the city, thereby expanding its territory both through institutional and non-institutional means.
Aka is an artivist, social leader, rapper, urban land rescuer and gardening expert from Medellín, Colombia. He has been active in organizing and leading grassroots projects that have involved hundreds of young people across Medellín, into artivism through gardening, lyric writing and music making.
Maria Lindmäe is a postdoctoral researcher at Pompeu Fabra University. Her current work focuses on the everyday practices of inclusion and exclusion of street markets in Spain. Her research interests include sound geographies, public space and creative place-making practices in Spain and Colombia.
Affiliation: Postdoctoral researcher at Universitat Pompeu Fabra / Founder and leader of Agro Arte
Title: Affects and Effects of ‘Pentimento’ at the Age of Neo-muralism
In art history, the Italian word “pentimento“ is used to point areas in the painting that has been modified or painted over by the painter during the creative process. The process of tagging, covering and buffing existing graffiti fresco or neo-muralism walls is transforming the original visual work. When not restored, these ‘agonist ornaments’ are generating an in-between graphic status to the mural highlighting the on-going conversation at the scale of the city. This dialogic aspect invites to consider the shape of urban landscape as a collective responsibility. Thus each transformation tends to reveal affects and effects related to hidden power dynamics. Considering the walls of the city as a palimpsest, Mathieu Tremblin will analyze a series of murals through the lens of “pentimento“ concept.
Mathieu Tremblin (1980) is a French artist, researcher and teacher. He implements simple and playful processes of action inspired by anonymous, autonomous and spontaneous practices and expressions in urban space in order to question the systems of legislation, representation and symbolization of the city. He has also been developing a PhD research about the links between independent art practices, urbanities and globalization linked to various formats of curation and publication.
Affiliation: Artist and researcher, member of ACCRA – Strasbourg University and lecturer at ENSAS (Strasbourg National School Of Architecture).