Many of this issue’s illustration are photographs of pieces from the project “Backjumps”, which was realized in the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin during the autumn of 2003.
This show clearly marked the changes that have taken place in graphic street-culture over the last years. Today’s street-activists/graffitti artists have proven capable of creating an aesthetics of unaffected urban communication, something that is new in principle. Taking this show as an example of a subculture that is emerging through an international net-work, we can identify three very important qualities:
1. Direct democracy Graphic street-culture relates to society immediately without the help of institutional mediation.
2. Politization – The aesthetics of the street correspond closely to today’s political avantgarde, the “movement of the movements”, or the motion of the multitudes.
3. New visual language As poetic system, graphic street-culture has all of the characterstics of an artistic language: its plastical completeness is structured by communicative codes. It actively works in public spaces as well as exhibitions or galleries and is both self-referential and capable of critical reflection.
Needless to say, urban art is just as diverse and self-contradictory as any other phenomenon of contemporary creativity. But today, it is more and more similar to the “theft of air” (Ossip Mandelstam), which is one of the necessary subject of any authentic form of art.
This issue is illustrated with pieces by SWOON, WK Interact, Banksy, and details of world stickers wall at urban-art.info