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Flooding culture : street art and graffiti as means of opposition

Bengtsen, Peter LU (2014) London Conference in Critical Thought 2014 (Aesthetic Refusals)
Abstract
This paper examines the use of street art and graffiti to oppose and attempt to change public policy. The case under discussion is Doel, a small village near Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium. Since the 1970s, Doel has been under threat of demolition and flooding to allow the expansion of Antwerp's industrial harbor. As a consequence of the plans, the village is today almost entirely abandoned. In December 2013, only 188 official residents remained, and most buildings had been sold to the government. According to the network Heritage Community Doel & Polder, the “government [has done] everything to leave the properties they [have] acquired susceptible to decay and plunder”, and this has given “rise to the argument that ‘polder’ heritage is... (More)
This paper examines the use of street art and graffiti to oppose and attempt to change public policy. The case under discussion is Doel, a small village near Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium. Since the 1970s, Doel has been under threat of demolition and flooding to allow the expansion of Antwerp's industrial harbor. As a consequence of the plans, the village is today almost entirely abandoned. In December 2013, only 188 official residents remained, and most buildings had been sold to the government. According to the network Heritage Community Doel & Polder, the “government [has done] everything to leave the properties they [have] acquired susceptible to decay and plunder”, and this has given “rise to the argument that ‘polder’ heritage is without worth and can be torn down”.



Street art and – especially – graffiti have often been associated with vandalism and neighborhood decline (e.g. the highly contentious broken window theory). In Doel, however, the effect has been partly different. As inhabitants have moved out, graffiti writers and street artists have decorated the numerous empty buildings. This has led to many tourists traveling to see the artworks and, by extension, becoming aware of the controversy surrounding the village. Rather than being perceived as signs of urban decay, the artistic interventions – most likely contrary to the intentions of authorities – have created positive attention, and added cultural value to Doel. They have become part of an effort to oppose and change public policy and preserve the village. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
graffiti, street art, art, Banksy, gadekunst, gatekunst, heritage, gatukonst
conference name
London Conference in Critical Thought 2014 (Aesthetic Refusals)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
efa8cfbf-c69b-4958-9011-46c2005de9f1 (old id 4689558)
alternative location
https://www.academia.edu/7499234/Bengtsen_P._2014_._Flooding_culture_street_art_and_graffiti_as_means_of_opposition
date added to LUP
2014-09-26 11:21:21
date last changed
2016-08-15 09:14:45
@misc{efa8cfbf-c69b-4958-9011-46c2005de9f1,
  abstract     = {This paper examines the use of street art and graffiti to oppose and attempt to change public policy. The case under discussion is Doel, a small village near Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium. Since the 1970s, Doel has been under threat of demolition and flooding to allow the expansion of Antwerp's industrial harbor. As a consequence of the plans, the village is today almost entirely abandoned. In December 2013, only 188 official residents remained, and most buildings had been sold to the government. According to the network Heritage Community Doel &amp; Polder, the “government [has done] everything to leave the properties they [have] acquired susceptible to decay and plunder”, and this has given “rise to the argument that ‘polder’ heritage is without worth and can be torn down”.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Street art and – especially – graffiti have often been associated with vandalism and neighborhood decline (e.g. the highly contentious broken window theory). In Doel, however, the effect has been partly different. As inhabitants have moved out, graffiti writers and street artists have decorated the numerous empty buildings. This has led to many tourists traveling to see the artworks and, by extension, becoming aware of the controversy surrounding the village. Rather than being perceived as signs of urban decay, the artistic interventions – most likely contrary to the intentions of authorities – have created positive attention, and added cultural value to Doel. They have become part of an effort to oppose and change public policy and preserve the village.},
  author       = {Bengtsen, Peter},
  keyword      = {graffiti,street art,art,Banksy,gadekunst,gatekunst,heritage,gatukonst},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Flooding culture : street art and graffiti as means of opposition},
  year         = {2014},
}