Surprised by the Unexpected: Rooftops: Graffiti

Rooftops are some of the best places to write on the walls without permission:  the tags and pieces can be seen by everyone walking down the street and looking up. That is a matter of fact, and yet… You walk down Manhattan, on your yearly visit.  You walk in an attempt to belong to the city if even for an hour or two. Up you look and up you see them: fresh pieces, unfinished pieces, fading pieces on rooftops.  Writings on rooftops:  illicit aesthetic practices that shape the cities and shape our experiences with and of cities. Colors on cement, writing on the edge, literally.

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Methods:  you need to look up and then move away and re-position yourself. Taking the time to write on the wall, taking the time to walk, to document, to write.  Taking the time to write ephemeral pieces. “Like monumentality,” observes anthropologist Sasha Su-Ling Welland, “ephemerality also memorializes, not the victor, but his shadow histories, their radical potential, and their precarity.”   Precarious you walk, looking up to the precarious pieces, allowing yourself to be surprised by the unexpected.

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