GRAFFITI OR STREET ART? NEGOTIATING THE MORAL GEOGRAPHIES OF THE CREATIVE CITY

Authors


Cameron McAuliffe, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia. E-mail: c.mcauliffe@uws.edu.au.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: In cities such as Sydney, a succession of wars on graffiti has produced a moral geography of artistic practice. At the same time, the rise to prominence of creative cities discourses and the subsequent revaluation of creativity as a postindustrial salve unsettles the dominance of the normative criminalization of graffiti. The profusion of cultural plans and public art policies, along with metropolitan initiatives promoting the creative city, provide opportunities to resignify graffiti as productive creative practice. Set in a discursive world of murals, street art, and “legal graffiti,” some graffiti writers are grasping these opportunities, deploying multiple subjectivities in order to negotiate the moral geographies of the creative city. This article looks at contemporary state responses to graffiti in Sydney and the ways graffiti writers and street artists work within and beyond the various attempts to capture, enclose, and engage graffiti and graffiti writers.

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