Legible Street Art

graf-2.jpg

This is just a quick update on a new graffiti program in Paris (that will surely be mimicked elsewhere too): 

Artist Mathieu Tremblin recently took to the streets of France on a rather quixotic mission to improve the legibility of ugly graffiti. Mimicking the scale, color, and layering of each tag, Tremblin created his own replica in a perfectly crisp font. It’s hard to say if either version is more aesthetically pleasing, but he definitely gets an ‘A’ for effort. (via Design You Trust, thnx Nikki!)

I have been reading Pickering and Scott lately, especially on the practices associated with “legibility” (in this case, to the state, through the use of population categorization schemes, various forms of statistical analysis like the census and birth rates, and so on). This street art project almost seems like a state-sponsored translation project.

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

5 thoughts on “Legible Street Art

    • The reading list right today is the following:

      Hacking, I. 1990. The Taming of Chance. Cambridge, England and New York: Cambridge University Press.

      Leibler, Anat. 2004. “Statisticians’ Ambition: Governmentality, Modernity andNational Legibility.” Israel Studies 9 (2): 121-149.

      Curtis, Bruce. 2002. “Foucault on Governmentality and Population: The Impossible Discovery.” The Canadian Journal of Sociology 27 (4): 505-533.

      When it comes to Pickering, I see something like this and think mangle, mangle, mangle — shifting relations colliding with one another in unforeseen ways — especially in light of research on state legibility (i.e., making things visible or clarifying what already “exists” to inhabitants with “local knowledge”).

      On Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 10:35 AM, Installing (Social) Order wrote:

      >

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      • thanks, and yes to the mangling also the degrees to which abstraction works (and fails) ya know maps/terrains and all, nothing like statistical “smoothing” to ruin a day/life. for me the part of pickering that has been resonating most recently is the emphasis on temporary (and relative) degrees of stability and the efforts/resources/etc that such an achievement requires, what is to be explained is not how things might/could change but to what degree they might ever be constructed/assembled.
        https://syntheticzero.net/2014/10/09/open-systems-assembling-environs-w-richard-sennett/

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