At the end of the 20th Century, the development of the ‘Urban Culture’ became a common ground feeding the ways of relation and expression of suburban young people. Graffiti, Hip-Hop and Break-Dance provide them with codes and symbolic universes used for conquering the environment and make it theirs. Tags fill up walls together with elaborated pieces. Hip-hop is the neighbourhood soundtrack and, in circles, some youngsters dance under the urban blocks.
If in 1977 architect Bernard Tschumi wrote in his ‘Advertisements for Architecture’ that ‘to really appreciate architecture you may even need to commit a murder’, protester, dealers and taggers had become the one and only genuine urban critic of the ‘Subaltern zone’.
“A YOUNGSTER FROM TOULOUSE SUBURBS EXPLAINED THAT: WHY AM I DESTROYING MY NEIGHBOURS CARS? BECAUSE SARKOZY DOESN'T COME HERE TO PARK HIS ONE. IT'S A STUPID STUNT, I KNOW. BUT WE DO THAT TO MAKE OURSELVES HEARD. WE COULD ATTACK THE CITY HALL OR MONUMENTS IN THE CITY CENTRE BUT I DON'T HAVE ANY BUSINESS COMING THERE: IS HERE WHERE I WANT THINGS TO HAPPEN. IF IN MIRAIL THERE WERE MONUMENTS WE WOULDN'T BURN UP OUR PARENT'S CARS”.
Limits of architecture get blurred before police stalking. Walls are jumped, fences are gone through. Architecture is masterly practised by the inhabitants whose surroundings lack of strict patterns of social behaviour that traditional city used to have. The space is lived from transgression, desecration, ‘restoring space to the free use for human beings’ as Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben would say.