Streetnotes (2016) 25: 153-161 Section II: Mosaics of Spectacle and Resistance 153 Traces of Austerity, or The Writing on the Wall

Chris Vanderwees
In this series of photographs, I document, juxtapose, and recontextualize graffiti, signage, and written messages found in Toronto's downtown core through 2013 and 2014. I approach each image, each captured inscription, through the political and ethical demands of the trace and as communicative of other traces. Photographs in this series are meant to stand alone, but are also recontextualized through their associative connections to a larger and continuously expanding narrative that conveys
more » ... ve that conveys marks of socioeconomic inequality, difference, and privilege in times of austerity. In this sense, each photograph expresses an imminent ethical demand through the traces of unknown others. This series ultimately aims to identify existing conditions for potential collective struggle through aesthetics of the other's inscription as a political proposition. These images stage an affective and aesthetic encounter with the language of the other and the traces of that language, encouraging the viewer's engagement with possibility and difference beyond dominant ideological actualizations that unevenly distribute power and privilege in contemporary life.