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Article

Не только Бэнкси: стрит-арт в контексте современной городской культуры

There is a lack of Russian academic literature devoted to graffiti and street art. This article aims to initiate a discussion and attract researchers’ attention to this field. We consider street art as the specific analytic instrument developed by city dwellers. It can change the ways of seeing, congregate people into temporal communities and transform space. Detailed analysis of particular street art projects contributes to the understanding of mechanisms of perception and behavior in everyday urban context. We chose three projects and described the mechanisms they reveal. Roadsworth: choreography of coincidences Roadsworth does not follow the dominating vertical dimension of the city and attracts the dwellers’ attention to the horizontal surface. Walls do not have the privilege position anymore. Roads that seemed to be pre-structured by power institutions and unavailable for experiments become the field for playing. The order provided by street signs appears to be contingent and not as firm as we usually consider. The unique feature of his work is the ability to influence dwellers’ street practices. His objects produce the peculiar choreography of walking which has both spatial and temporal aspects. This choreography includes specific way of moving and observing, slow rhythm; but the most important is the feeling of Other who always goes along with the dweller and stimulates his or her communication with the city. Pablo Delgado: little Others The analysis of Delgado’s work contributes to understanding of one of the main tensions in street art: the tension between global representations and local context. Everyone can become familiar with it in the Internet that makes Delgado’s project extremely popular all over the world. However, his objects remain almost invisible; they resist tourist appropriation and ‘window shopping’ way of everyday perception. Everyone who wants to find them should conduct the detailed exploration of particular city area, but the success of such exploration is never ensured. Thus, dwellers turn into urban researchers looking for the world of Others. The Others are not merely images produced by artists, these also are people represented on his images. We argue that Delgado transforms social characteristics of vision, because he directs observers’ eyes to insignificant details of urban surface and to the invisible categories of residents of urban community as well. Vhils: naked urban surface We start with the contextualization of Vhils’ project “Scratching Surface” in the framework of modern philosophical theories: J. Derrida’s “deconstruction” and G. Simmel’s “aesthetic value of ruin”. Although connection between artist’s concept and scientific theories is important, the interpretation and contextualization of artist’s concept cannot be enough to explore which effect street art objects have. Thus, we analyze what exists beyond the concept and can be found only in the practice of street art object production and perception. We argue that the effect of Vhils’ works is related to their ability to demonstrate particular characteristics of urban surface which are usually transparent only to professionals (street artists, community services workers, builders, architects etc.) and cannot be properly translated into narrative.