Title

What the Walls Say: Finding Meaning and Value in Tel Aviv’s Street Art

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)

Department

Colby College. Anthropology Dept.

Advisor(s)

David Strohl

Second Advisor

Winifred Tate

Abstract

This thesis explores street art in Tel Aviv, Israel through anthropological concepts of value. By defining street art as an interstitial practice—one that exists between permeable, socially defined boundaries and is characterized differently by different power structures—I attempt to define some of the different regimes of value that apply to street art. Using the emerging market of “street art tours” as a fieldwork site, I look at how street art is presented and re-presented to both tourists and locals. By situating my research in a historical and geographic context, I hope to understand the ways different value schema, from economic to aesthetic to political and more, are overlaid in different ways by different actors onto the same works of art. I also address how these interstitial value schema, which can be contradictory and seemingly oppositional, interact within the systems of power that street art operates within. I argue that these power structures cause different actors in the street art world to privilege and prioritize different forms of valuation.

Keywords

street art, graffiti, public art, value, interstitial, Israel, Tel Aviv

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