Wrangling the Wild Graffito: Containment and Trickster Discourse in a Central Arizona University Town

Larry Ellis (Arizona State University)

On a street corner just north of the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, an eight square foot cube of rusty iron was installed by the city to deflect graffiti from public buildings to a containable space. Chalk was provided, as well as prompts to direct the efforts of participants, and at intervals the spaces were erased to make room for new rounds of conveniently constrained folk expression. Despite the efforts of the city council, postings on the tower subverted control in texts that reaffirmed the uniqueness of individual utterance.

Part of 09-11 Student Centered Folklore, Saturday, October 15, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm