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Brook, R., 2019.

The Materiality of Entropy

Output Type:Presentation
Venue:Social Surfaces 0161 Symposium, Manchester

This talk is about how street artists engage with the city and why that matters to architecture. It's also about a particular form of urban art that is grounded in the graffiti tradition. Using interviews with artists Eltono, Momo, Steve ESPO Powers and Truth, and photography we'll look at sites, the modes and means of application and the networked characteristics of repeat monikers in the form of marks and objects in the urban realm. The phenomenological aspects of any discourse concerning materiality in architectural criticism can be seen to have diminished during the latter part of the twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first. It is in the environmental and experiential realms of activated and participatory (street) art that materiality has found resonance with the ethereal and sensational and a dialogue with space. This type of art can provide contemplative halts to the constant mobility of contemporary existence. A critical examination of the materials, tools, sites and methods of art and artists who work, or have worked, in the spaces of the city will be shown to connect these to urban theories and morphologies. The urban interstice, a by-product of other actions of construction, provides a space for material and physical interaction by those concerned with temporality and mutability. The role of the interstice in the city, as part of its networks and infrastructures and within its imposed orders, is discussed in relation to art and architecture. It is proposed here that art that occupies the residual and interstitial spaces of the (western) city with a temporal nature potentially provides more salient commentary about the state of urban development or the forces of urban evolution than a study of contemporary buildings (architecture) has the capacity to do.