Graffiti in Bologna

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Presentation at Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference, Centre for Lifestyles Studies, Institute for International and Social Studies, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia, 2-4 February 2011 made by Eugen Glavan.
Abstract
The city of Bologna (Italy) is known for the left wing political options of inhabitants and for the one of the lowest child birth rates in a Europe city. Those aspects, combined with the fact that the city has the largest university in Europe in terms of numbers of students, shapes the local youth culture in a particular way. The paper investigates the visual manner in which young inhabitants of Bologna express themselves in an attempt to identify the characteristics of their public voice. Using the methods of visual sociology, I analyze the graffiti in terms of locations and content trying to explain the process of socialization in a stable and prosperous society.

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Graffiti in Bologna

  1. 2. Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  2. 5. Scribing, spray paint, aerosol cans, stencil graffiti. Writers – Crew (Bansky and Pixnit). Muralist vs. Taggers: “ toys ” . Bomb. Tag, throw-up, piece, blockbuster or roller. Wildstyle (interlocking letters and connecting points), stickers. Buff (removing graffiti). Capping (cover another graffiti), beef (conflict between writers) Regenerative graffiti. Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  3. 7. By writing their name, they earn fame and respect. By doing it illegally, they build a masculine identity. By excluding girls, they protect this identity. And by excluding the ‘outside’ world, they add power, ownership, autonomy and escape into the mix . (Macdonald, 2001, p. 228) Marxism – symbolic form of resistance ( Best, 2003 ); Feminism – visual terror, street harassment (Rosewarne, 2004) Postmodernism – individual and local situation; multiple meanings (Becker, 2008). Effective tool of social emancipation or in the achievement of a political goal. Unobtrusive measure to reveal patterns of customs and attitudes of a society. (Stocker, Dutcher, Hargrove, & Cook, 1972, p. 356) Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  4. 8. Graffiti Ł ó dź Anti-Semitic symbols as territorial dispute between soccer team fans. (Sinnreich, 2004, p. 57) Painting without permission Graffiti Ottawa Urban esthetics : clean , maintained , privat e , ordered Writers : free , creativ e , h armonio u s, competitiv e (Becker , 2008) Graffiti Barbados Scorn and resentment toward officialdom and the status quo. (Best, 2003, p. 851) Male-female polemics. Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia In 2001, IBM had people spray paint a peace symbol, a heart and a penguin on the sidewalks of Chicago and San Francisco. These three pictures represented "Peace, Love, and Linux", Linux being one of their mascot for their operating system. IBM was actually fined $120,000 because their activities were not legal. www.flickr.com/ www.cbc.ca/ Best, 2003, A mural in suburban community
  5. 9. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kikar_rabin.jpg
  6. 10. Design
  7. 11. Graffiti Ł ó dź The myth that all hate graffiti are related to soccer nevertheless persists in Łodz society. (Sinnreich, 2004, p. 57) Lodz Routes
  8. 12. Data Photo shooting, using a Fuji FinePix 5100 camera: May-October 2010. Database managed with Adobe Lightroom: 2,908 images, ~4,500 graffiti. Codes Support 1. Wall 2. Fence 3. Shop window / Glass 4. Street furniture 5. Billboard 6. Sidewalk 7. Blind Visibility 1. On the street 2. Lateral (inside) Height 1. At street level, 2. 2-4 meters tall Dimensions 1. Small (less than 10 cm), 2. Average (50 cm - 1 m) 3. Large (over 1 m) Format 1. Drawing 2. Written 3. Written stylized three-dimensional 4. Drawing + Written Color 1. One color 2. Two colors 3. Three colors 4. Four or more colors Content 1. Intelligible, 2. Partly understandable, 3. Unintelligible Message 1. Politics, 2. Personal 3. Philosophical, 4. Marketing, 5. Personal Ads, 6. Simple signatures (single color), 7. High volume signature, filled with color 7. Not applicable (unintelligible content) Limitation Take into consideration the plain text and symbols, the authors, the purpose, the audience and the context of the graffiti” (Sinnreich, 2004, p. 54) Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  9. 13. Locations
  10. 19. Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  11. 23. Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  12. 30. Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  13. 39. Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  14. 44. *** (2010). Demography in Figures. Retrieved 08.12.2010, 2010, from http://demo.istat.it/index_e.html Alonso, A. (1998). Urban Graffiti on the City Landscape. Paper presented at the Western Geography Graduate Conference ARPONE (2001). The history of Graffiti-Writing . Paper presented at the Graffiti-Workshop 'Europa 2001'. Retrieved 07.01.2011, from http://www.hiphop-network.com/articles/graffitiarticles/historyofgraff-arpone.asp Becker, H. S. (2008). The Perceptions of Graffiti in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.hiphoparea.com/graffiti/the-perceptions-of-graffiti-in-canada.html Best, C. (2003). Reading Graffiti in the Caribbean Context. The Journal of Popular Culture, 36 (4), 828–852. Chad (2010). The Words: A Graffiti Glossary. Retrieved 15.12.2010, from http://www.graffiti.org/faq/graffiti.glossary.html Durand, G. (1999). Aventurile imaginii. Imaginaţia simbolică. Imaginarul . Bucureşti: Nemira. Dyer, T. H. (1867). Pompeii. Part II: The Private Houses of Pompeii. Available from http://italy.library4history.org/index.html Eglash, R. (2010). Culturally Situated Design Tools. Graffiti Grapher: Cartesian and Polar Coordinate Geometry in Graffiti Culture Retrieved 12.11.2010, from http://www.ccd.rpi.edu/Eglash/csdt/subcult/grafitti/index.html Krippendorff, K. (1980). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology . London: Sage Publications. Macdonald, N. (2001). The Graffiti Subculture Youth, Masculinity and Identity in London and New York . New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Manco, T. (2002). Stencil Graffiti . London: Thames & Hudson. Manco, T. (2004). Street Logos . London: Thames & Hudson. Mucchielli, A. (2002). Dicţionar al metodelor calitative în ştiinţele umane şi sociale . Iaşi: Polirom. Othen-Price, L. (2006). Making their mark: A psychodynamic view of adolescent graffiti writing. Psychodynamic Practice, 12 (1), 5-17. Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  15. 45. Rose, G. (2001). Visual Methodologies . London: Sage. Rosewarne, L. (2004). Visual Terror: Graffiti and Outdoor Advertising as Street Harassment . Paper presented at the Australasian Political Science Association Conference. Retrieved 20.12.2010, from http://www.adelaide.edu.au/apsa/docs_papers/Others/Rosewarne.pdf Sinnreich, H. J. (2004). Reading the Writing on the Wall: A Textual Analysis of Łodz Graffiti. Religion, State & Society, 32 (1, March). Sliwa, M., & Cairns, G. (2007). Exploring Narratives and Antenarratives of Graffiti Artists: Beyond Dichotomies of Commitment and Detachment. Culture and Organization, 13 (1), 73–82. Snyder, G. J. (2009). Graffiti Lives. Beyond the Tag in New York’s Urban Underground . New York: New York University Press. Stocker, T. L., Dutcher, L. W., Hargrove, S. M., & Cook, E. A. (1972). Social Analysis of Graffiti. The Journal of American Folklore, 85 (338 (Oct.-Dec.)), 356-366. Wikipedia (2010). Graffiti terminology. Retrieved 02.11.2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti_terminology Youth (Sub)cultures in Changing Societies Conference , 2-4 February , Tallinn , Estonia
  16. 46. Eugen Gl a van University of Bucharest Faculty of Sociology and Social Works [email_address]

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