Graffiti and the perceived injustice: The relational texture of Barcelona’s public space
In this article, I approach graffiti as a relational entity across social and power dynamics in Barcelona. Taking a broad understanding of graffiti beyond its material dimension, I examine what graffiti does and what it becomes in the public space of the city. In this context, I see public space as an interface of political meanings and perceived injustice between the city’s inhabitants. This allows me to address graffiti as a heterogenous movement, which stimulates protest practices across shared spaces and times. To access this entanglement of relations, I propose the concept of “graffiti texture” as a way to explore the relationships between sensory and symbolic orders in the city. This texture is not only created by material surfaces or substances but is also permeated by a plurality of social networks shaped by multiple ways of making and seeing the city. Drawing on my ethnographic material from Barcelona, I engage in “multi-temporal” analogies between graffiti produced in the city and events linked to the Spanish civil war, gender relations, and protests. The connections between them will be used as active sources of analytical thought and story making to search for unlikely connections between graffiti and the transformation of human perception across times. Moreover, to support and contrast my argument, I incorporate the voices of graffiti artists and other actors from my ethnographic research in Barcelona.