Representation of Murals and Branded Outdoor Advertising: Critical Implications for Sustainable Geographical Public Spaces


  • Taufik Murtono ,Bambang Sukma Wijaya


Visual Communication; Outdoor Advertising; Public Space; Commercial Space; Geographical Space


This paper focuses on the war of visual display in geographical public spaces between murals and branded outdoor advertising in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia, concerning space representation and representational spaces. Using Lefebvre's perspective on space as representation, we dissect the space discourse and the texts on murals and branded spaces by borrowing a social semiotic analysis knife. The three space materials that we studied show the battles between murals and branded space, both in position, size, layout, and shape of space material. The representation carried out in every space material also has implications for social discourse, both in terms of the field, tenor, and discourse mode. We conclude that amid the spread of brand messages in the public spaces, the mural sought to take a position as an oasis of social criticism, the guardian of culture and symbols of public heroes through a guerrilla space medium. The mural shows us that something is missing (and maybe trying to be removed) in urban public spaces: the discourse on manners and customs, etiquette, and traditional narratives and wisdom. This study gives insights that a city needs a fresh breath of public discourse through more spacious spaces to not drown by the repressing branded spaces.