About jlunafreire

Juliana Luna Freire (Ph.D.) is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Framingham State University (Massachusetts, U.S.).

Grey Matters: Urban Cleaning and Graffiti on the Streets of São Paulo

Here I will refer to some recent events in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, and the public backlash as street graffiti is erased by the recently elected Mayor João Dória. The decision started as part of a larger project called “Cidade Linda” [Beautiful City]. Consider some the video below showing some of the images of the art on the walls of the city (in Portuguese): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE2HyBMy4NU

Screenshot 2017-03-11 15.52.41

São Paulo, a grey metropolis with high skyscrapers, has a history of street art dating back to the 1980s: please refer to Marcelo Pinheiro’s blog in brasileiros.com.br on the relation between graffiti, Hip-Hop, and the empowerment of the young generations from the poor suburbs of São Paulo, or the distinction between graffiti and pichação in the Cities Project, created by the Guardian with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. The relationship of the city with graffiti has also led in the past to a series of events called Bienal Internacional Grafitti Fine Art, in its third edition in 2015, and which brought about 60 artists from all over the world to the Parque Ibirapuera, in São Paulo.

My goal is not to initiate a dialogue on artistic merit of graffiti versus street writing, as many have already done (see the books Street Art: The Graffiti Revolution, Graffiti Worlds, Protest Graffiti, for example), but to probe the models of urban resistance that have been occurring since these very recent events. By cleaning the city center and eliminating undesired art forms, these institutions are initiating a strong process of commodification of protest art, specifying areas for that purpose, as well as “authorized art courses” to teach what the government is defining as such. Thus, the governmental discourse is engaging in a dangerous dynamic that determines that art needs first to be appropriated by mainstream discourse before being “allowed” on public space.

As background information, “Cidade Linda” [Beautiful City] was announced by the new Mayor João Dória on December 30th, 2017. A recent court decision from February 14th, 2017, will prevent Mayor Dória from erasing any more grafittis without authorization from Conpresp (Municipal Council on Heritage)(Gonçalves do Carmo, 2/14/2017). What the events have been pointing to is a perception of art, street art, and cultural intervention contributing to political programs of urban gentrification.

His twitter post erasing some walls in the city, dressed up in an orange jumpsuit, has also brought national attention, in this case due to the performativity (or excess) of the political action.

To further complicate how the decision-making of erasing the graffiti was done, in later justifications the Mayor equates street intervention artists with criminals:

“A prefeitura não vai ter tolerância com pichador. Não há diálogo com contraventor. Todo pichador é bandido. (…) Pichador não tem nada a ver com grafiteiro. A prefeitura vai gastar o que for necessário para proteger a cidade”

[The government will not have any forgiveness with street artists. There will be no dialogue with transgressors. Every street artist is a bandit. (…) We should not confuse taggers with graffiti artists. The city will spend whatever is needed to protect the city] (Folha, 2/17/17).

It is clear that a clear-cut distinction between certain forms of urban wall intervention called pichação (graffiti writing or tagging) from grafiteiros (graffiti murals) is being drawn. But as a result of the first interventions, “Secretary admits that Avenida 23 de Maio became ‘too grey’” (my translation, Diógenes, 1/24/17), now considering redoing other graffiti and promoting a festival to go along with it.

As a response to the erasure of the graffiti, another intervention was done on January 24th on Avenida 23 de Maio. This time, instead of the tagging of the street artists, we find an ironic joke with the signature of the Mayor, the artist behind the grey artistic intervention. It is unclear how the rest of “Programa Cidade Limpa” will affect public space, and whether the criminalization of graffiti will be carried out. What we know so far is that the decision is leading to a larger discussion that begs further examination of the relations between street interventions, public space, and city gentrification under the lenses of urban studies.

Further Reading:

Gonçalves do Carmo, Sidney. “Justiça proíbe Dória de cobrir grafite sem consultar órgão do patrimônio.” Folha de São Paulo. Feb. 14, 2017. Web. Feb. 25, 2017.

Folha de São Paulo. “Doria diz que pichadores são possíveis ladrões de celulares e serão vigiados.” Cotidiano. Feb. 17, 2017. Web. Feb. 25, 2017.

Diógenes, Juliana. “Secretário admite que a 23 de Maio ‘ficou muito cinza.’” O Estado de S. Paulo. 24 Jan 2017. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Juliana Luna Freire (Ph.D). is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Framingham State University.

Introducing Juliana Luna Freire, another JUCS Assistant Editor

Hello! My name is Juliana Luna Freire and I am an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Framingham State University, just outside Boston. My scholarship focuses on 19th to 21st-Century Latin American and Spanish Literature, Cultural Studies and Film with a focus on ethnic identity, urban space, and gender. I am excited to join the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies editorial team.

juliana

I also previous experience in local and international editorial boards, including volunteering with The Arizona Journal of Hispanic Studies, working as editor and editorial assistant of the graduate journal Divergencias (the University of Arizona), having peer-reviewed for journals such as Hispania, Crisolenguas, Rocky Mountain Review, and currently am member of the editorial board of Pró-Letras, published by the Universidade Federal da Paraiba, in Brazil.

My dissertation was entitled “Ethnic Minorities in Brazil and Spain: Erasure & Stigmatization, Gender, and Self-Representation of Indigenous and Roma Communities” (2012). Specifically, I have published articles on urban space and its relationship to discourses of identity (race, ethnicity, and national affiliation) in contexts of contemporary globalization, bringing into the discussion the relationship between New Media and the use of city areas. This research project has led to a manuscript focusing on Roma self-representation in Spain, as well as other published articles. At the moment, I am doing research on systemic violence and its representation in the Luso-Brazilian world, and the ways how “rhyzomatic revolutions” have been taking place in increasingly networked societies (Castells, Merrifield).

Anyway, I am looking forward to participating here, and thank you for reading!

 

 

Calendar for Online Hispanic Urban Theory Discussion Group

We would like to invite you to a continuation of a series of events that the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona has launched in Virtual Reality for the academic year of 2015-2016. They will take place at Cibola, the Department’s home in Second Life. Next conversation will be between Malcolm Compitello (The University of Arizona), Susan Divine (College of Charleston), Juliana Luna Freire (Framingham State University), Megan Saltzman (West Chester University), Silvia Ruíz Tresgallo (Wisconsin-Stout), Matt Feinberg (Oberlin College) and the new Cibola Manager Laura Vazquez Blazquez (ABD, The University of Arizona). It will be about the relationships between urban studies and Hispanic culture. Everyone is welcome!

We meet on Thursdays (please see dates below) at at 5:00 p.m. Tucson time (7p.m. EST).

Here’s our tentative schedule:

2/4 – “The Urbanization of Consciousness” by David Harvey (led by all)

2/18 – “The Invisible Political Economy of Architectural Production” by David Harvey and “Architecture is now a tool of capital, complicit in a purpose antithetical to its social mission” by Reinier de Graaf (led by Malcolm Compitello and Megan Saltzman)

Date TBA – “Theses on Urbanization” by Neil Brenner (led by Matt Feinberg)

Date TBA – Section of Cities of the Global South Reader (led by Silvia Ruíz Tresgallo)

– TBA (led by Juliana Luna Freire)

– TBA (led by Susan Divine)

TBA  – “Rethinking the geographies of cultural ‘objects’ through digital technologies: interface, network and friction” by Gillian Rose or Extract from the book: Food and Urbanism by Susan Parham (led by Laura Vázquez Blázquez)

We hope to see you at the event. In order to access Cibola, you will need to install Firestorm in your computer (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/cibola/26/180/28). If you need help, please contact any of us.

Online Urban Theory Discussion – Cibola

We would like to invite you to a continuation of a series of events that the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona has launched in Virtual Reality for the academic year of 2015-2016. They will take place at Cibola, the Department’s home in Second Life. Next conversation will be between Malcolm Compitello (The University of Arizona), Susan Divine (College of Charleston), Juliana Luna Freire (Framingham State University), Megan Saltzman (West Chester University), the new Cibola Manager Laura Vazquez Blazquez (ABD, The University of Arizona), and Palmar Alvarez-Blanco (Carleton College). It will be about the relationships between urban studies and Hispanic culture. Everyone is welcome!

For Thursday, 2/4, we will be discussing Harvey’s “The Urbanization of Consciousness”. If you need the text, please let us know. We will meet  at 5:00 p.m. Tucson time (7p.m. EST). 

We hope to see you at the event. In order to access Cibola, you will need to install Firestorm in your computer (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/cibola/26/180/28). Everyone is welcome to attend and participate. If you need help, please contact any of us.

Discussion of Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis

Good afternoon,

We would like to invite you to a continuation of a series of events that the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona has launched in Virtual Reality for the academic year of 2015-2016. They will take place at Cibola, the Department’s home in Second Life. Next conversation will be between Malcolm Compitello (The University of Arizona), Susan Divine (College of Charleston), Juliana Luna Freire (Framingham State University), Megan Saltzman (West Chester University) and the new Cibola Manager Laura Vazquez Blazquez (ABD, The University of Arizona). It will be about the relationships between urban studies and Hispanic culture. Everyone is welcome!

For Thursday, 1/21, we will be discussing Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis. If you need the text, please let us know. We will meet  at 5:00 p.m. Tucson time (7p.m. EST). 

We hope to see you at the event. In order to access Cibola, you will need to install Firestorm in your computer (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/cibola/26/180/28). If you need help, please contact any of us.

Roundtable on Hispanic Urban Studies (Online)

Good afternoon,

We would like to invite you to a continuation of a series of events that the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona has launched in Virtual Reality for the academic year of 2015-2016. They will take place at Cibola, the Department’s home in Second Life. Next conversation will be between Malcolm Compitello (The University of Arizona), Susan Divine (College of Charleston), Juliana Luna Freire (Framingham State University), Megan Saltzman (West Chester University) and the new Cibola Manager Laura Vazquez Blazquez (ABD, The University of Arizona). It will be about the relationships between urban studies and Hispanic culture. Everyone is welcome!

This time, exceptionally, we will have it on this upcoming Monday, Dec. 21, at 5:00 p.m. Tucson time (7p.m. EST).

We will be discussing the text Coming Insurrection in order to continue our discussion on Spanish politics, 15-M, Podemos, and the upcoming elections . The texts are available here in English: https://tarnac9.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/thecominsur_booklet.pdf, in Spanish: http://www.rebelion.org/docs/86360.pdf and a summary:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Coming_Insurrection.

For our following meeting we are considering discussing Henri Lefebvre Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time, and Everyday Life.

We hope to see you at the event. In order to access Cibola, you will need to install Firestorm in your computer (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/cibola/26/180/28). If you need help, please contact any of us.

Roundtable on Hispanic Urban Studies – Online on Nov. 5

We would like to invite you to a continuation of a series of events that the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona has launched in Virtual Reality for the academic year of 2015-2016. They will take place at Cibola, the Department’s home in Second Life. The third conversation will be between Prof. Malcolm Compitello (The University of Arizona), Professors Susan Divine (College of Charleston) and Juliana Luna Freire (Framingham State University), and the new Cibola Manager Laura Vazquez Blazquez (ABD, The University of Arizona). It will be about the relationships between urban studies and Hispanic culture. It will begin this upcoming Thursday, Nov. 5, at 5:00 p.m. Tucson time.

We will be discussing three texts: Errejón, Martínez, and the Introduction, published at the Special Theme: Geografías del 15-M: Crisis, Austeridad y Movilización Social en España​. All texts are available here: http://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/issue/view/80

We will also be meeting on Nov. 19 (Thursday)​, to discuss the article by Bécquer Seguín entitled “Podemos and its critics”, published at the Radical Philosophy 193 (Sept/Oct. 2015).

We hope to see you at the event. In order to access Cibola, you will need to install Firestorm in your computer (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/cibola/26/180/28). If you need help, please contact any of us.