City Journal Contemplates Inscriptions of Crisis

City is a journal of provocative, cutting-edge and committed insights into, analysis of, and commentary on the contemporary urban world. We record and analyse ’the city’, cities and their futures, and urbanization from multiple perspectives....

Against the wall
Introduction to the Special Feature: Inscriptions of ‘crisis’: Street art, graffiti, and urban interventions

Anna Carastathis &Myrto Tsilimpounidi
Published online: 08 Jul 2021

[a quick excerpt] In March 2011, large-scale demonstrations erupted in the city of Daraa, prompted by the arrest and detention of children who were accused of writing graffiti against the regime on the walls of their school. The protests in Daraa were said to have broken through the ‘wall of fear’ (Masalmeh quoted in Sterling 2012), sparking the people’s uprising across Syria. Watching these expressions of dissent unfold through our computer screens, we were reminded of a song we grew up singing, referring to the resistance to the colonels’ dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974): ‘the street had its own history/someone wrote it on the wall with paint/it was a single word: freedom/later they said that children wrote it’ (Mitropoulou 1974).