Spatial Narrations: Graffscapes and City Souls

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Semiotic Landscapes, 2010, 1, pp. 137 - 150
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For a small subcultural tourist group, graffiti have become an object of their travelling gaze. Jinman (2007), for example, reports that Melbourne's graffiti have achieved international renown to the extent that tourists head straight for some of the best-known alleys. One such is Hosier Lane, just off Federation Square in central Melbourne, where two young Korean women, having seen Melbourne street art on Korean television are now examining and photographing 'a dense, lurid collage that ranges from rudimentary signatures drawn in marker pen to giant dayglo paintings and intricate paper prints pasted on the wall. "Very good," says one, indicating a playful image of a moon-faced Asian child hugging a docile killer whale. "I like it very much'" (p. 11). &lch graffiti tourism can be seen as part of the broader domain of hip-hop tourism (Xie, Osumare and Ibrahim, 2007), which in turn is related to music tourism more generally (Gibson and Connell, 2005). As Xie et al. (2007) explain, 'The ghetto or the hood, which were once a source of sublime terror and fear, have been transformed by Hip-Hop into an enticing landscape for tourism: an image, a sound, graffiti mural waiting at a distance for visual and sensory consumption by those who come from farther afield' (p. 456).
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