Imaging Egypt's Political Transition in (Post-)Revolutionary Street Art
Ruiter, A.D. de
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This thesis offers a conceptualisation of the interrelations between street art and social media within the temporal and spatial context of (post-)revolutionary Cairo by focusing on the reasons as to why street artists in Cairo select graffiti as their medium for political expression in a time in which many other media of communication, most notably social media, are available. Based upon in-depth interviews with Cairene street artists, on the one hand, and a literature study on the concepts of collective action framing, contentious performances and the relation between the political and the aesthetic, on the other, this thesis provides an analysis of (post-)revolutionary street art in Cairo that seeks to clarify why certain politically engaged young people in Cairo select graffiti as the medium of communication to make their political voices heard. It is argued that the particular appeal of street art for the graffiti artist lies in its ability to function simultaneously as a medium of communication and a contentious performance, combined with the particular power of the aesthetic to change conceptions of social reality of the audience through what Jacques Rancière has called the distribution of the sensible. Graffiti and street art thus present artists with singular possibilities to express one’s political ideas and appeal to the public that are not offered by social media because street art, in a unique way, combines the power of framing, the power of performance and the power of imagination.