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HANDS OFF! – GRAFFITI AS A MEANS OF EXPRESSION OF A WORLD IN CONFLICT. PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS IN CLASS ANALYSIS
In a world undergoing major changes, where mass media are not always trustworthy and political leaders seem to be leading society into a dead end, new forms of protest emerge and old forms take different approaches. Alongside people’s gatherings and movements defending their rights, political graffiti (also known as post graffiti), which aim is to criticize political tendencies, policies and politicians (Posener, 1982; Chaffee, 1987), especially those which negatively affect nowadays economy and society, is taking new forms and importance. Being a popular form of protest since its inception (Liz Gogerly, 2012), graffiti has always been side by side with the less favored ones and it has developed as dissatisfaction grows, being a form of expressing subjectivity in the construction of collective identity, two apparently conflicting worlds that mingle with this practice. As such, manifestations of protest can be seen all over Europe and symbols are chosen to defend discomfort and announce rebellion. This symbology characteristic of graffiti is what motivated our proposal.
Bearing in mind the growing importance of this artistic way of expression, not only as street art, but especially as an expression of a changing world, our proposal is aimed at Design university degree students and is twofold: on the one hand, it has the objective of introducing and studying graffiti as means of effective communication, its origins, purposes and phases, especially as an expression of two worlds in conflict – the subjective and the collective/social world, and; on the other hand the analysis of this visual piece of discourse by considering their topics, colors, language, symbols and connections with texts, images and ideas that served as an ideological background.
To achieve these objectives the following methodology will be followed: students will search for and select several graffiti works from Banksy, Vihls, and other European graffiti writers; from the works selected only 10 will be chosen, respecting the topic of a world in conflict within European borders; finally, students will be invited to analyze those 10 final works according to a fixed discourse analysis established before.
With this study we wish to compile a series of graffiti works that symbolize European identity, society and culture, and also show our students a different form of artistic expression that is portraying the sense of unhappiness European citizens are living and make them be critical and analyze the big changes society is experiencing.