"Framing Counterspaces: Forms and Meanings of Graffiti in Berlin's Linguistic Landscape"

Document Type

Open Access Film

Publication Date

Fall 11-5-2012


Languages, Cultures & Linguistics


Street art and graffiti are integral parts of Berlin’s urban space, which has undergone dramatic transformations in the past two decades. Graffiti texts constitute a critical comment on these urban transformations. This talk analyzes the connection between the phenomenon of street art and trajectories in urban planning in post-wall Berlin. My current research explores the meaning of various forms of street art (such as graffiti, posters, sticker art, stencils) as texts in Berlin’s linguistic landscape. Linguistic Landscape research pays critical attention to language, words, and images displayed and exposed in public spaces. The field of Linguistic Landscapes has only recently begun to include graffiti texts in analyses of text and space to fully comprehend the semiotics of the street. In the case of Germany’s capital, graffiti writing enters into a critical dialogue with the environment and provides a readable text to understand the city.

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