Graffiti was the missing piece in our puzzle to remain teenager forever. (Ruzd Drm crew. Berlin 1999)
Becoming an adult is a complex and sometimes very painful process. The responsibility, the renunciations and the loss of wonder are not always easy to accept. Terrorized from this transition some kids decide to stop for a while in a halfway stage to take their “out of cell time”, before that the tranquility and the carelessness will vanish forever. I decided to tell this suspension through the community of the graffiti writers, that in this activity they find the perfect tool for such evasion. In the obsessive research of a momentary freedom, they tend to substitute the real world with their micro-reality, to which they feel to belong much more. For this reason, their existences got catapulted in this limbo populated by myths legends and heroic deeds, where often they remained locked for the entire life.
The graffiti sub-culture, born in the New York ghettos during the years of the Warhol’s prophecy of the “15 minutes of fame for all”, was the expression of the sense of inadequacy and depersonalization, that groups of persons felt in a society that would have never perceived them. Therefore they tried to chase that fame, writing their invisible stories on all urban surfaces, to shout their existence out into the world.
Almost half a century later, this “movement” infected the entire western world, taking roots on several social nets. Not anymore a tool of expression just for the less fortunate social classes, but an occasion for everybody to rebuild their own identity, although in a parallel world, free from the personal limitations.
The appeal of being outlaw, the obstacles, and the theatricality of the location where their “missions” take place, make their life appear as those of modern knight-errant, in a constant request of new adventures.
For the last two years I have been following several groups of graffiti writers between Europe and Argentina. Among intrusions, climbing, infinite running and a lot of adrenaline, this is the story of their escape and to a certain extent also about mine.
Valerio Polici (1984) is an Italian photographer. He studied photography at I.S.F.C.I. school in Rome. He is mostly interested in developing personal long term projects, focusing on the private and the intimate aspect of social anthropological issues.