Urban Street Art

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Lefebvre saw commodification infiltrating every aspect of our lives, particularly how we live in our urban spaces.   Street art has long been the domain for a form of resistance to, and communication of, culturally relevant themes. By taking their art into the street, street artists create an easily accessible and powerful platform through which to express ideas. Usually street art contains messages of subversion or a call to social action, but whatever their motivation, artists are also challenging the knowledges of power regarding the ownership, use and aesthetic of public spaces. Often art created by street artists becomes so identifiable that it is appropriated for commercial use….profit from protest, underscoring perfectly, perhaps, Lefebvre’s point.

No Maps For These Territories – William Gibson

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William Gibson is one of the pre-eminent writers of Cyberpunk fiction.  His short film No Maps For These Territories , expresses a poetic and textual approach to space as conceived by Michel de Certeau and is both beautiful and thought provoking,  This is the ending sequence to the movie.

Heterotopias – Roadside memorials

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Roadside memorials are not mentioned in Foucault’s list of Heterotopias yet they have become increasingly important within modern culture as sites of grieving and memorial, often tended with as much care and thought as a real gravesite.  This distinction as a place of ‘difference’ inside our everyday space, closed to all except those for whom it has meaning,  certainly qualifies the roadside memorial as a heterotopic site.  There is continued debate over whether roadside memorials should be allowed.  Many view roadside memorials as a distraction and therefore a danger to other motorists while others see them as important places for expressions of grief, and subsequently serve as a warning to the dangers of the road.   Sensitivities are particularly roused around the fact that the memorials are often erected on public land, the memorial site carving out a very private closed space within a ‘open to all’ public space.

Roadside memorials would seem to be a site for more sustained sociological investigation particularly in regards to it’s proliferation and resistance and the meaning behind both.

Postmodern Spaces

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Edward Soja gives a talk on the very postmodern, fragmented space of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. From the outside the Bonaventure does not stand out from the high-rise office buildings that surround it, however the internal space is  confusing. The interior of the Bonaventure is purposely built to disrupt our logical and linear understanding of building space, even the entry is hard to find, and like another very famous hotel you may ‘check in but you can never leave’…that is until you find one of the establishment to help you.