The narrative turn in the social science back in the ‘80s proposed that an event is not what happens, but what can be narrated. Never has this been truer. For the street art scene, this is even more so. It actually changes what happens as well.
To reach out for the large crowds it’s the stories on the Internet that counts. These are a biased interpretation of the actual event/work. So artists adapt to the eye of the camera. With greater focus on technique, colouring and size, this tends to push towards painting on more commissioned or legal walls, or unexposed walls.
The contextual element of street art is hard to capture in photography. One also reacts different on an image on the screen than on the streets. The art has to be a complete symbol in its own right to work on the screen. It has to contain and symbolize itself in order to function out of context. The symbolism as well has to be more global, as local messages most often will not function out of a local context.
This pushes street art closer to the ordinary art scene, leaving behind some of its elements, but gaining new territory and a broader audience. Probably there will still be local street art commenting on local issues in a contextual interplay with its environment, but he gap between these two forms of street art will broaden. Most likely, we will reach a point where the differences demand a conceptual differentiation – different names. My argument is that these changes are due to the power of the Internet and social media, and only indirectly caused by commercialization of the field.