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    Heidegger, Graffiti and Street Art: Graffiti and Street Art as Saving Power Against the Danger of Modern Technology

    Short, Alice M (2021) Heidegger, Graffiti and Street Art: Graffiti and Street Art as Saving Power Against the Danger of Modern Technology. Masters by Research thesis (MA), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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    In this thesis I shall make the claim that through a reading of Heidegger’s The Origin of the Work of Art we can re-examine our understanding of graffiti and street art, moving beyond our common conceptions. Research concerning this topic is negligible. The two instances where Heidegger is brought into connection with graffiti and street art fall short of making any significant steps forward in reimagining graffiti and street art. Through textual analysis and hermeneutic study, I shall work to reinterpret graffiti and street art in light of the ideas presented in Heidegger’s essay on art. While graffiti and street art are the defining art movements of the 21st century at present we think about graffiti and street art as either vandalism or as artworks. Through outlining Heidegger’s understanding artworks, I shall suggest that graffiti and street art can be seen as both originating an understanding of our world and originating space. This will reveal the importance of graffiti and street art, going beyond the understanding of this phenomenon as something trivial, a mere cultural appendix. Furthermore, I shall present the argument that the modern mega city, a ubiquitous city, is a symptom of what Heidegger refers to as modern technology, which is shown through the order and instrumentality of the city. I shall then contrast graffiti and street art with modern technology, which Heidegger claims is detrimental to our understanding of Being. I shall conclude that graffiti and street art, far from being mere acts of vandalism or aesthetically pleasing works or art, are in fact a saving power against the danger of modern technology that is evident in the cities of the globalised world.

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