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Surface reflections: Personal graffiti on the pavement

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There are personal inscriptions on roads and sidewalks everywhere - artworks, romantic longings, political rants - and yet this kind of graffiti often goes unnoticed. In this article I peruse the pavements to see what the writing there might reveal. I find that, like the graffiti on vertical surfaces, pavement inscriptions are declarations of identity, but they often lack a sense of deliberate subversiveness. Many have been written by ordinary people overcome by some momentary preoccupation, but their choice of pavement as canvas is not arbitrary. It seems that beneath the everyday world there is another one, familiar but strangely distorted like reflections on a wet roadway. My explorations suggest that pavement inscriptions float on the surface between these two worlds. Like marker buoys they indicate the presence of unconscious aspirations and anxieties submerged below.
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Keywords: Eternity; city; collective unconscious; graffiti; pavements; streets

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Macquarie University

Publication date: 2011-11-11

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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