The “black-and-white mural” in Polytechneio: Meaning-making, Materiality, and Heritagization of Contemporary Street Art in Athens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The campus of the National Metsovian Polytechnic in central Athens has been a signi cant cornerstone in the socio-political landscape of the city. Within the history of modern Greece, Polytechneio is regarded as a symbol of resistance against the Greek military dictatorship (junta) in 1973. In March 2015 and during times of austerity politics, the west façades of the Polytechneio were covered by a “black-and-white mural” (Tziovas 2017: 45). This paper examines how and why this black-and-white mural has been discussed often controversially from di erent kinds of recipients, leading to an ardent public debate within Greek society from a cross disciplinary point of view: 1) semiotics, 2) design, and 3) cultural studies. For our analysis, we use data from primary and secondary sources. Primary data sources include photographic documentation of the eld. Secondary data sources include photographic material and newspaper articles circulated online, as well as, relevant academic literature.
First, we examine how this mural was integrated into the constructions and intersubjective experiences of public space from the perspective of semiotization of space. Second, we discuss the practicalities involved for the ful lment of this mural from the perspective of design-scope. And third, we advance the discussion around the issues of cultural preservation and heritagization of street art and gra ti. Our goal in this paper is to avoid binary interpretations, and instead, to induce in an intermediary way the signi cance of public dialogue, which this mural achieved to trigger.


External organisations
  • Lund University
  • University of the Aegean
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Visual Arts


  • Semiotics, design, cultural studies, Athens crisis, street art
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-65
JournalStreet Art & Urban Creativity Scientific Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 10
Publication categoryResearch
EventLisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity International Conference 2018 - Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 2018 Jul 52018 Jul 7

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