Blake Norris’ “Julia” video part, presented by Thrasher, features a myriad of Bay Area street spots. Spots which Blake not only kills, but through skateboarding defies the common understanding of how public space is used.
Public spaces have fallen under strict social control. Whether truly public or privately owned-public space, the combination of social expectation and capitalist, neoliberal ideals of efficiency and self-sufficiency have limited the extent to which city occupants can engage and play in their cities. These rules and regulations may be enforced via signage, security, or tacit expectations of the space. Steeped in capitalist ideology, public space is not only the means to a money-making end, but a tool of social control and innate exclusion. Public space must encourage a play of transgression. When acts committed in public space are transgressionary they not only return agency to the city dweller, but encourage a discourse between the body, built environment, and public interaction. This thesis asserts that via a new formal approach to the organization of public space, and by extension, the affordance of transgressionary play, the neglected and underused spaces of the city will become bastions of creativity, expression, and free thought for all to impart their mark on.