Metatheoretical considerations for a definition of street art

Can algorithms identify street art?

  • Andrea Lorenzo Baldini Nanjing University
Keywords: street art, definition, algorithm, machine learning, value of art, ephemerality, subversiveness, formalism


What is street art, exactly? In this paper, I address a fundamental concern about street art: its definition. The subject has been widely debated, but I approach it from a novel perspective: metatheoretical. I'm particularly interested in deconstructing the potential functions of a definition of street art, as well as the goal of definitions of street art. I then survey the literature from this vantage point, providing a well-reasoned summary of some current alternatives. I conclude by wondering if any of these definitions could be turned into an algorithm. I believe in a moderate level of optimism. Though algorithms can identify street art under certain conditions, they appear nonetheless incapable of capturing types of definitions such as evaluative definitions that include predicates whose application conditions are highly discretionary and contextually sensitive.

How to Cite
Baldini, A. (2023). Metatheoretical considerations for a definition of street art. SAUC - Street Art and Urban Creativity, 9(2), 8 - 14.