Statues and sprays: Graffiti as a spatial practice of resistance against dominant discourse



Rok publikování 2022
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Popis Since statues are present in public space that we inhabit, they are part of our everyday life. They can serve different functions. For instance, aesthetic on visual level but also symbolic as part of cultural, political, or power relations. As a society, we lay wreaths at some statues, while others are torn down and replaced. These spatial practices prove that statues are representative of our cultural values and our behavior towards them demonstrates our beliefs and attitudes. Statues can play a significant role in resistance against dominant culture and values. Nowadays, it has become a relevant issue, as the Black Lives Matter movement is related to spraying and tearing down statues of historical figures with links to a colonial and/or racist past. It has happened in Central Europe as well as in Nordic countries. That is why we have chosen the spraying of Churchill’s statue in Prague as a topic for analysis in this paper. Our goal is to show the influence of geography on the process of creating media discourse on different levels, through the analysis of Czech media articles. Firstly, we will examine the role of the place itself as it creates a discussion about legality/legitimacy of such behavior. Secondly, we will discuss the meaning of the statue, what it represents, as there are different meanings and representations for different groups (of population and media). Lastly, we will analyze the connection to other global events which creates a discussion about values that are symbolized by the statue and the writing. Articles chosen for analysis were published shortly after the event. We have divided them into two categories – mainstream and disinformation media. The latter has a more negative regard towards this practice and views it as a violation of public order. What is more, the authors of the writing were automatically labeled as leftist. Churchill was presented only as "the one who defeated Hitler", granting him an incontestably positive role. The former, on the other hand, draws attention to some negative aspects of Churchill’s legacy. However, the overall impression in articles from both media categories was considerably positive.

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