Street art as process and performance: the subversive ‘streetness’ of video-documentation

Hansen, Susan (2018) Street art as process and performance: the subversive ‘streetness’ of video-documentation. In: Urban Art. Creating the Urban with Art, 15-16 July, 2016, Berlin, Germany.

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This working paper is a response to the common framing of street art and graffiti as a form of creative expression that does not always ‘translate’ well when removed from its indigenous urban context and placed in institutional gallery space. This framing is grounded in the apparent lack of correspondence between decontextualized works of urban art and the site-specific signification of street art and graffiti in situ, as the latter apparently invokes a phenomenologically powerful element of risk by recalling a dynamic creative performance. As RJ Rushmore notes, work on the street “is a kind of documentation of… a performance. Writers have to climb fences, repel down buildings, and break the law in highly-visible places without being seen.” Accordingly, this paper argues for a greater priority to be given to a mode of displaying work in gallery space that more effectively conveys this vital element of performativity – artists’ video-documentation of their creative process as performance. Four artists’ videos are described here as case studies that illustrate the subversive promise of this alternative approach to the rendering of street art in institutional contexts. Such documents are seldom subject to scholarly analysis nor displayed as works in their own right in formal art spaces, perhaps as they are not marketable in the same way as physical paintings or prints, however more recently artists’ videos have been included in some museum shows as additional cultural artefacts or ‘supplements’ to more conventional works of urban art.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Published in: Urban Art: Creating the Urban with Art - Proceedings of the International Conference at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 15-16 July, 2016, published July 2018 - ISBN: 978-989-97712-8-4
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Forensic Psychology Research Group
Item ID: 22180
Notes on copyright: ©Authors and Editors. Permission was granted by Urban Creativity to include the published paper in this repository (
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Depositing User: Susan Hansen
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2017 16:00
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2019 05:46

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