The rapidly escalating Coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally altering public life in cities and communities around the world, with the paradigm of social distancing emptying public spaces, suspending modes of sociability based on physical proximity, and fortifying border regimes.1 Amidst the sense of radical uncertainty emanating from these developments, we can begin to trace an emerging visual culture of this unfolding crisis: a digitally mediated assemblage of infographics and public service announcements to hand washing memes and viral videos of quarantined Italians serenading one another from their balconies.
Unsurprisingly, street artists and graffiti writers too are finding ways to respond to the situation, often playfully engaging with the visual narratives already in circulation: from face masks and toilet rolls to public messaging mirroring the general consensus to “stay home” and “wash your hands.” What follows below is a brief inventory of some pieces and themes from the first months of the Coronavirus crisis. A more extensive and continuously updated record is kept by Twitter user @Emily_Lykos, whose threads on Coronavirus train graffiti and street art were the point of departure for this post. The article Graffiti virus ou Corona virus published by the French graffiti blog drips.fr is also of interest, especially to those curious about responses from the global graffiti scene.
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|1.||↑||For an excellent analysis of the problematic entanglements between entanglements between quarantine, ethno-nationalism, and health care privatization see Angela Mitropoulos’ Against Quarantine, https://thenewinquiry.com/against-quarantine/.|