Framing Graffiti: “War on Terror” and Iconoclasm in American Writing on War

Sudebi Giri

The English & Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. ORCID ID 000-0002-4749-4613. Email:

Volume 9, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n2.03

Received May 31, 2017; Revised July 07, 2017; Accepted July 07, 2017; Published August 06, 2017.


The paper proposes that the ongoing narrative of “war on terror” and its subsequent framing operates within an iconoclastic project, where alternative forms of media, such as graffiti and street art are tactically employed through transmedial narrations. The logic behind frame-break— as a process of movement from one media to another— entails that the difference between iconoclasm and vandalism is rendered ineffectual in a war situation, turning into a tool that distorts images of power, stereotypes and epistemological frames. The techno-fundamentalist nature of “infoterrorism” transmitted by dominant electronic media is critically counteracted by a mode of “poetic terrorism,” in which media images are pirated and subverted, thus, engaging with individual histories of war and loss. The paper— with the help of Masha Hamilton’s What Changes Everything (2013) and recent American writing on war elucidates upon how the notional ekphrasis of graffiti in these writings enters the conversation of “war on terror”.

Keywords: War Images, Graffiti, Iconoclasm, Frame, Ekphrasis.

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