Our cities’ trains, walls and bridges are covered with huge coloured scribbles. Citizens complain, mayors (regardless of their political orientation) enact anti-vandalism initiatives, and a few zealous individuals roll up their sleeves and remove the scribbles. Are graffiti just a manifestation of teenagers’ incivility? The authors of this book offer an alternative viewpoint. Graffiti are a key component of hip hop culture, which has been defining urban youth worlds for four decades. Besides conveying protest and identity, graffiti also represent a bottom-up version of 20th-century art movements, including muralism and pop art. An issue that is often described in terms of decorum and public order thus emerges, ultimately, as a struggle between those who believe they are legitimately in charge of the urban scene and those who are pushed out of it.
Alessandro Dal Lago used to teach in the Universities of Milan, Bologna, Genova, Pennsylvania and California.
Serena Giordano is an artist and teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Genova.