The surfaces of cities are worlds of political discourse and spatial production.
They are objects of legal contention, and social spaces of visibility and display.
I believe cities can deeply reveal themselves through their surfaces, and my current research is dedicated to showing different ways in which this might happen.
Surfaces as legal territories…
Surfaces as thick material formations…
Surfaces as cultural archives…
Surfaces as urban commons…
Surfaces as claims to the right to the city.
I work between these dimensions, through frameworks such as surface semiotics, visual culture and legal geography, to investigate urban surfaces and inscriptions and to establish the foundations for what might become a discipline of surface studies.
I argue for the right to the surface as a form of right to the city, which is something I have been writing about here and here. This is why my website is called “THE RIGHT TO THE SURFACE IS THE RIGHT TO THE CITY”.
I also wrote a manifesto on the right to the surface. You can read it (and suggest edits) here.
Click through the links below to read some of my thoughts on surfaces and inscriptions, which I’ve organised in five categories here (based on the five chapters of my PhD thesis). The links also show images I’ve been working with, and examples of the surface semiotics work I have been developing.
(about semiotics, inscriptions, and research methods…)
(about graffiti, street art and their institutional appropriations…)
(about street art tours, Shoreditch and the creative city…)
(about anti-graffiti legislation, private property and public order…)
(about Leake Street London and the spatial value of graffiti writing…)