A new issue of Laboratorium journal guest-edited by Natalia Samutina and Oksana Zaporozhets
A new issue of the Laboratorium journal (Russian review of social research) guest-edited by Natalia Samutina and Oksana Zaporozhets came out of print and became available online. This issue of Laboratorium features a special section dedicated to street art or, more broadly, to vernacular images in the contemporary urban environment. The idea first occurred to the editors during their collaboration in the “Street Art in Contemporary Society” research group at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics, Moscow, in 2013. It took shape at a conference organized by the International Visual Sociology Association, “The Public Image” (held at Goldsmiths, University of London, July 8–9, 2013), where Natalia Samutina and Oksana Zaporozhets chaired a panel “Street Art, the City, and the Public: Changing the Urban Vision.” Presenters from eight countries tried to conceptualize the place of street art in the city, considering it as a relatively new and blossoming urban phenomenon. The article by Natalia Samutina and Oksana Zaporozhets “Berlin, the City of Saturated Walls” and two articles of the conference presenters are in the issue’s special section. In addition, reviews of the Center junior research fellows Alisa Maximova and Alexandra Kolesnik on recent books on urban imagery are published in the reviews section. Alisa reviewed a book by Rafael Schacter “Ornament and Order: Graffiti, Street Art and the Parergon” (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014), Alexandra reviewed a book by David Ensminger “Visual Vitriol: The Street Art and Subcultures of the Punk and Hardcore Generation” (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2011).
“Berlin, the City of Saturated Walls” abstract:
“Saturation” is the term suggested by the authors to describe the present state of the visual environment of Berlin, the city that acquired a reputation as the European capital of street art. Saturation is a consequence of the gradual infiltration of graffiti and street art into everyday life and the visual environment of Berlin, and their acceptance by city residents. Berliners’ fondness for street imagery is enhanced by the experience and memory of the independent reappropriation and rearrangement of urban space the city underwent after unification. The memory of the Berlin Wall plays a significant role in sustaining Berlin graffiti and street art cultures. It makes evident the history of the images and their creators and their role in urban communication. Simultaneously it normalizes the ephemerality of street imagery. Visual saturation in Berlin is complemented by the activities of “mediators,” who draw various audiences’ attention to graffiti and street art and encourage the interaction of all interested parties.
Full issue is available online.