Monsters Take to the Streets! Monstrous Street-Art as Pedagogy of Resistance to Post-Olympic Regeneration in Hackney Wick?

Book chapter


Firth, R. 2016. Monsters Take to the Streets! Monstrous Street-Art as Pedagogy of Resistance to Post-Olympic Regeneration in Hackney Wick? in: Munteán, László and Post, Hans Christian (ed.) Landscapes of Monstrosity Inter-Discipinary Press.
AuthorsFirth, R.
EditorsMunteán, László and Post, Hans Christian
Abstract

This chapter explores geographies of gentrification and resistance in relation to the monstrous through the lens of street-art in post-Olympic London. It takes as a geographic case study Hackney Wick, which has for a long time been a bastion of alternative and creative living due to cheap rents in large, ex-industrial warehouse spaces. The artistic sociality of the area is imbued within its landscape, as prolific street artists have adorned ex-industrial warehouses and canal-side walls with graffiti and murals. Since the announcement of the 2012 Olympic Games, the area has been a site of intense political and aesthetic contestation. The post-Olympic legacy means that the area has been earmarked for redevelopment, with current residents facing the possibility of joining thousands already displaced by the games. The anxiety of dispossession is reflected by monstrous characters and sinister disembodied teeth, eyes and fingers embedded within the landscape, painted by local artists. Using geographically sensitive mobile and visual methodology to document the landscape and artwork, the chapter analyses and interprets the monstrous themes using a range of theorists including Mikhail Bakhtin, Georges Bataille and Nick Land. I argue that monstrous street-art lays visible claim to public territory for aesthetic purposes at odds with the visions of redevelopers and the needs of capital. Whilst street-art and graffiti do not fit easily within frameworks of organized political resistance or collective social movements, they operate as a kind of epistemological transgression that triggers transformative affects in the viewer. This creates conditions for pedagogies of resistance to gentrification by expressing and mobilizing political affects such as anger and anxiety, raising awareness of geographical politics, and encouraging the viewer to question the status quo of the built environment.

Book titleLandscapes of Monstrosity
Year2016
PublisherInter-Discipinary Press
Publication dates
Print2016
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Oct 2016
ISBN978-1-84888-370-3
Web address (URL)http://www.interdisciplinarypress.net/product/landscapes-of-monstrosity/
Additional information

This chapter originally appeared in László Munteán and Hans Christian Post (Eds.), Landscapes of Monstrosity, 2016, first published by the Inter-Disciplinary Press.

Publisher's version
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/8531x

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