Radical Communications explores unauthorized messages we see in the cities we live in and their impact on the construction of social reality. Michael Tsangaris treats the city as a text and examines the political slogans, graffiti, and street art of Athens as complex visual signs in an alternative communication system. He argues that the legitimacy, aesthetic value, and social acceptability of these expressions depend on the time, place, and social group or individual that interprets them. Finally, his analysis reveals the contradictory character of the contemporary city. It shows a city of social inequalities, cultural diversity, multinational encounters; of conflicts between age groups and political, economic, and epidemic crises; a city of one-dimensional thinking, apathy, and consumer fetishism but also a city that aspires to the dream of a better society and holds utopian promise.
Michael Tsangaris is senior teaching fellow at the Department of International and European Studies at the University of Piraeus in Greece.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Alternative media and the City
Chapter 2: Reflexing on unauthorized urban graphics
Chapter 3: Understanding unauthorized urban graphics
Chapter 4: Recuperation of unauthorized urban graphics
Chapter 5: Unauthorized urban graphics and gender
Chapter 6: A Psychogeographic research
Tsangaris uses Athens as his canvas, focusing on unauthorized urban graphics, which in recent decades have emerged as a major medium of aesthetic intervention and social protest in Athenian cityscape. But do not let yourself be fooled by his aesthetic analysis and the images of graffiti. This is a deeply political book. Using the Greek capital as a case-study, the writer discusses the urban space we are losing and the urban space we are reclaiming. This is a political debate that takes place every day, in artistic terms, within all our cities.
In Radical Communications, Michael Tsangaris brings theoretical depth and a critical scope to wall writings, a media too often categorized as mundane, irrelevant or, as the author rightfully shows, straightforward theft. With this book, Tsangaris aims to deconstruct these assumptions. In an overall convincing analysis, he shows how unauthorized urban graphics are much more than drawings, doodles or squiggles: they are radical discourses on political and social issues that mark the everyday life of their intended audience…. Tsangaris’ book provides a great introduction to the topic of wall writings which would be of interest for undergraduate students, in communication, media studies and urban studies. It reviews the relevant literature and provides a great overview of some key debates in the field. His analysis also has the merit of reintroducing Athens as a prime site of study, which is refreshing. The author knows his research site extremely well and this leads to some truly compelling findings.