<body> Public Ad Campaign: Gregory Snyder-Graffiti Lives
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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gregory Snyder-Graffiti Lives

On the first page of Graffiti Lives-Beyond the Tag in New York's Urban Underground, Gregory Snyder articulates why I think public interaction with the visual environment is such an important public health issue. It not only engages those individuals who physically alter the space they live in, but also those who consume that alteration (happily or not), creating a participatory interaction in public space. This is by no means a small achievement and one of the achievements of a properly functioning city and residency.

He writes, "I lived in New York for three years, but suddenly I was in an entirely different city; it felt like the walls around me had burst to life. I began to explore my city looking at graffiti, and this gave me a greater appreciation of the diversity of its architecture and it's people. I learned to take photographs, improved my penmanship, and got into lots of fascinating conversations."

Somewhat related, later in the book he writes, "Graffiti writing incites stories, and the desire to write graffiti in part comes from the need to be part of the story." "Stories are an essential part of city life, and the way that graffiti animates spaces is an enjoyable, fascinating aspect of the urban experience. French architecture critic Michele de Certeau agrees with this notion, arguing that graffiti is in line with a collection of urban activities in which we make our own stories and produce the memories that make space habitable. This lived space is the space of everyday experience, in contrast to the planned, ordered city that seeks to impose a metanarrative on space. This may be more than just enjoyement; the author of the reknowned Marxist text The Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre, believes that transforming space in this fashion is potentialy radical, and that the reevaluation of space is as critical to social change as economic and political restructuring."

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