“Selling streetness as experience: the role of street art tours in branding the creative city” is now free to access on the Sociological Review Journal website. Particularly relevant for anyone interested in Bourdieu, Becker and the sociology of art, and also in how the street art world becomes established as a part of the creative cities discourse.
*Teaser* from the conclusion:
When the tours of the future come to Shoreditch, they might be tours of urban memory, where guides invoke past works from the glass elevations of the most recent high rises, and participants use augmented reality apps to ‘see’ into the pluri-vocal past through the screens of their devices. Surfaces which are still there will bear symbolic traces of works that were painted over, or weathered away, and places will become iconic because of these desirable absences. However, when even the surfaces are gone, there will be little left to show or tell, except how the showing and telling itself played a part in the gradual disappearance of its object. Where will all the inscriptions be, and where will the preferential art and its supportive surfaces go? Artwashed, financially fuelled, tours-enabled condos will have gone up instead, the dystopian result of removing the very thing they had banked on. In fact, they were not banking on independent surface scribblers and the buzz of multiple surface occupations at all, but on their branded, regulated versions, which will contain nothing but the aura of a city that is long gone.
Free access here.