Tag Conf and Unlock Fair come to Amsterdam

unlock book fair Amsterdam

Amsterdam welcomes two events that are set to deliver great insights into tagging and gather independent graffiti and street art publishers from all over the world: the Tag Conference (6th – 7th December) and Unlock Book Fair (8th – 9th December)

We chatted with Javier Abarca, one of the leaders of the early Spanish trainwriting scene and the graffiti and street art researcher who started Unlock Book Fair in Barcelona in 2016. Unlock Book Fair gathers independent publishers of graffiti and street art books, magazines and fanzines, encouraging discussion through talks, screenings, book launches and lively roundtables.

The internet and social media have made books and zines obsolete to a certain extent. In many regards they are not any more the most efficient communication channels. But, at the same time, the prevalence of the internet has created a desire to go back to the haptic and sensual qualities of printed matter. And, most importantly, the internet has made promotion and distribution much more feasible for small, independent projects without access to mainstream channels

This year, the book fair weekend is taking place in Amsterdam for the first time. The topic will be the relation of punk and graffiti: one of the most important chapters in this relation took place in Amsterdam. This city had a thriving punk-originated tagging scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The organizers have been working closely with local punk graffiti legends such as Diana Ozon and Hugo Kaagman.


The book fair weekend will be preceded by the Tag Conference, where academics and specialists gather to explore tagging from different points of view -from art history to archaeology and from philosophy to archival studies. A total of 17 papers have been selected to kick off a discussion on “Name writing in public space, in history and today”.

Below you’ll find the speakers and the special guests that will liven up the two-day conference.

StreetArtToday Unlock book fair

After the Tag Conference it’s time for Unlock, the book fair presenting books, publications and fanzines about graffiti and street art. This year’s topic “Punk-related Graffiti” will then be examined through rare documentations, talks, launches, screenings, events and a selection of obscure publications on the topic.

Below you’ll find the list of independent publishers that are attending the book fair.


The Tag Conference


  • Javier Abarca (ES), The ‘flechero’ indigenous tagging culture of Madrid
  • Coletivo ArdePixo (BR), Pixação, São Paulo: marginal identity takes over the city
  • Marta Bazzanella and Giovanni Kezich (IT), Tagging the Dolomites
  • Gabriela Berti (ES), Tag writing: visual resistance and symbolic capital
  • Gabriele Boero (IT), Melina Riccio’s tagging phenomenon in Genoa and Italy: a case study
  • Enrico Bonadio (IT), The case for the copyright protection for tags
  • Valentine Carneiro (BR), Graffiti in Brazil: example of a social, ideological and political construction of a border between “pichação” and “grafite”
  • Jake Carter (AU), Omniscience and temporality: higher mathematics in intuitive gestural calligraphy
  • Vanessa C. De Franceschi and Fabio Vieria (BR), Marking the invisibility: pixação and appropriation of the city
  • Lisa García (ES), The Western tag: calligraphy or cacography?
  • Erik Hannerz (SE), “That’s a dude”: writers’ reconstruction of bodies through tags
  • Susan Hansen and Erik Hannerz (UK/SE), Image-based tags as ideogrammatic reduction
  • Malcolm Jacobson (SE), Graffiti ruined my life, however without graffiti my life would be ruined
  • María Fernanda López Jaramillo (EC), Tagging and skateboarding, the day I met Fun
  • Michael Macdonald (UK), Tags from an ancient desert: nomads who used literacy purely for tagging
  • Charles Nolan van Linden (US), Resisting removal: the persistence of tags in Atlanta
  • Orestis Pangalos (GR), Tags in popular culture
  • Ludwig Schult (DE), Strategies of singularisation


  • Tobias Barenthin (SE), Tagging the name, physical writing in education
  • Daniel Berio and Frederic Fol Leymarie (IT/UK), Computational models of graffiti form
  • Carlo McCormick (US)
  • Tobias Morawski (DE), From tag to piece, from New York to Berlin: the Graffitiarchiv
  • Stefan Wartenberg (DE), Verehrters Phantom

StreetArtToday Unlock book fair

The Tag Conference: Save the Date!

Thursday 6th of December


Westside Slotermeer (Burgemeester de Vlugtlaan 125)

Friday 7th of December


Broedplaats LELY (Schipluidenlaan 12)

Free entrance

Unlock Book Fair: Street Art and Graffiti

Most of the publishers at Unlock are small projects who don’t have access to mainstream book distribution channels, which is the main trait that makes a publishing project independent. Their publications cannot be found in bookstores, you need to order online from the publishers themselves. Unlock offers a unique opportunity for aficionados to check and browse numerous different titles from across Europe and the world, while also meeting the publishers and artists behind the books.



  • 288kk Press, publishing house, PL
  • A Paper Book, publishing house, NL
  • Adam Void, self-publishing author, US
  • Artkitchen gallery / Decultclub, publishing house, NL
  • BAMN magazine, magazine, NL
  • Chemistry Publishing, publishing house, NL
  • Cut In The Fence, publishing house, US
  • Dokument Press, publishing house, SE
  • Dutch Graffiti Library, publishing house, NL
  • Éditions Carton-pâte, publishing house, FR
  • Éditions Peinture, publishing house, FR
  • Editions Terrain Vague, publishing house, FR
  • Éditions Vers le Futur, publishing house, FR
  • Espora, magazine, ES
  • Frank Fickeisen, self-publishing author, DE
  • Futura publications publishing house, GR
  • Graffneck, bookstore, CZ
  • Hitzerot, publishing house and bookstore, DE
  • International Neighbourhood, publishing house, DE
  • Invalid Books, publishing house, RU
  • Jens Besser, self-publishing author DE
  • Klick Klack Publishing, publishing house, DE
  • Lawjamba Zines, fanzine, NL
  • Livor Mortis Zine, fanzine, UK
  • Microcosm, publishing house, US
  • Nicolas Dolto, self-publishing author, FR
  • Nokkio institute of zines, publishing house, BE/HU
  • Nuart Journal, magazine, NO
  • Page Five, publishing house, CZ
  • Podpolie Books, publishing house, DE/BY
  • Possible Books, publishing house, DE
  • Puresu de Tokyo, publishing house, JP
  • sorrysomethingwentwrong.com, publishing house, AT/DE
  • Stickit, publishing house, NL
  • Street Spirit Mag, magazine, ES
  • Trafo Gallery, publishing house, CZ
  • Urban Creativity, publishing house, PT
  • Urbanario, publishing house, ES
  • Zelle Asphaltkultur, self-publishing collective, DE
  • Zugriff, magazine, DE


We are lucky enough to have true legends in our lineup. The highlights are local punk graffiti legends Diana Ozon and Hugo Kaagman, New York star author and curator Carlo McCormick, and local graffiti godfather Boris Tellegen aka Delta INC

Unlock Book Fair: Save the Date!

Book Fair

8th and 9th of December

Saturday 11–19h

Sunday 11–17h

Broedplaats LELY (Schipluidenlaan 12)

Free entrance

Evenings program

7th and 8th of December


Vondelbunker (Vondelpark)

Free entrance


Cover Photo: Gallerie Anus, 1979. Foto van Martin Alberts. Stadsarchief Amsterdam Beeldbank

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