The modern day metropolis is so often pictured as smooth, glossy, fluid, clean and mobile. In high-end time lapse films, airline magazine spreads and endless commercials, the city is pictured as a place where you can move friction-free. Of course, this smooth mobility is only achievable by those rich enough to be able to afford it. Urban infrastructures are elite spaces, and so like the static spaces of the neoliberal city, they attract subversive re-appropriation.
The pictures here highlight how artists have brought the creative activism of subversive graffiti into (or onto) these commercialised infrastructures of urban mobility. As trucks and vans move consumable goods of the elite urban economy around the city, they carry with them the viruses of activism. Like the New York subway trains in the 1970s, the graffiti trucks of Paris are a mobile gallery of graffiti and its affront to the sterile spaces of urban commodity movement.
Graffiti on walls and static spots, as much as they are reclaiming the right to the city, under the rubric of urban neoliberal logics will become ‘no-go’ areas; places that are fiercely marginalised by agents of real estate capital. But graffiti trucks parade the subversive reclamation of space throughout the city, bringing the political act of graffiti to the people.
Marc Vallée is a London-based documentary photographer whose work explores the tension between public and private space in the context of contemporary youth culture. Marc’s pictures, self-published photography zines and photobooks have been published and exhibited worldwide. Grab a copy of The Graffiti Trucks of Paris zine.