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Statistical Analysis of U of Chicago Graffiti

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the off-the-wall dept.

Science 157

quaith writes "Quinn Dombrowski, a member of the University of Chicago's central IT staff, has been recording the graffiti left in the Joseph Regenstein Library Since September 2007. To date she has photographed and transcribed over 620 pieces of graffiti; over 410 of them are datable to within a week of their creation. She has now published in Inkling Magazine a statistical analysis of the entire graffiti collection covering such subjects as love, hate, despair, sex, anatomy, and temporal fluctuations of each of these. After November, both love and despair graffiti drop off significantly until spring, while sex graffiti reaches its one and only peak in December before declining for the rest of the school year. The story includes links to all of the original graffiti photos, which the researcher has made freely available to use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license."

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do not pay interest to graffiti (2, Insightful)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058550)

It's still illegal and often makes local people unhappy.

I know there's banksy but he's one in a billion.

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058876)

I know you're trying to be a troll here, but you're absolutely right.

skip the me-tooes, overrated AOLeer$ (0, Offtopic)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059256)

!gro.nih5oruK aviV

"do not pay interest to cultural phenomena (0, Troll)

k2r (255754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059340)

because they are illegal!"

I don't consider your comment insightful.

Re:"do not pay interest to cultural phenomena (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060882)

I am proud to say that in going through the photos on the site, I found something I wrote!

Helped that I knew what too look for since it was about the only thing I ever wrote on the side of a study carrel in the reg

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti (1, Troll)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059668)

Who stuck a pinecone up your ass? I'm supposed to ignore graffiti because it's illegal? Really?

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061766)

Do you always just repeat what other people say incredulously?

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059740)

This is the same reason I've ignored the "findings" of Galileo until 1992. Up until then, he was just some heretic trying to upset everyone.

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060224)

If art is a crime may god forgive me

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061674)

If the examples in the linked article are art, may God forgive us all.

Banksy (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060312)

Someone defaced one of his paintings recently. It's the one near College Green (Bristol) that is a window on the side of a house with a guy hanging on the window ledge.

Re:Banksy (2, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061410)

Can you really "deface" graffiti? Isn't graffiti just defacement (vandalism) itself, so how can one really deface it? If this Banksy person had permission from the property owners, then his piece isn't graffiti. If he didn't secure their permission, then he should be hunted down and thrown in jail.

Don't mean to sound overly troll-ish, but I'm getting sick of people glorifying graffiti.

terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060660)

It's still illegal and often makes local people unhappy.

I think that meets the criteria of a terrorist action. Let's have a Senate committee start a federal task force to data mine SWIFT data for possible suspects.

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061320)

the researcher has made freely available to use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license

I do not take kindly to this researcher releasing my copyrighted chronicles of a man from Nantucket.

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061432)

It's still illegal and often makes local people unhappy.

What isn't illegal in the U.S. now days? /sarcasm
As a local of an area with a lot of creative graffiti artist I can say that a lot of what I see is very interesting and much nicer than looking at the bare concrete...

Re:do not pay interest to graffiti? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061602)

You don't solve crime by ignoring it.

My Hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058554)

Could this all be just one guy who just hasn't found slashdot yet?

graffiti is for faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058558)

only a total fag would plaster his gay name over something worthwhile.

It figures that some gay shit like this would come out of Chicago, home of Barack Hussein Obama.

Well Documented (3, Interesting)

spiffydudex (1458363) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058572)

I must say there is a good amount of documentation. Now I know that I am more likely to come across a happy smile face than a sad face.

Re:Well Documented (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058596)

Sort of makes you feel better about the human race, doesn't it? :)

Re:Well Documented (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058668)

Depends... Do you attribute it to drugs? ^^

Or repression?
After all, most people walk trough life in a walking daze.

Re:Well Documented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058718)

and drugs make you feel bad about the human race why exactly?

Re:Well Documented (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058912)

yo what drugs u into? im all about the opiumnitrous / dxm / ketamine / acid / weed / hydrocodone / ultram / oxy / demerol / morphine / codeine / dihydrocodeine / heroin / mdma / salvia / 5-meo-dipt / 5-meo-amt / amt / rohypnol / ghb / mda / hash / kavakava / adderall / dexedrine / ritalin / ephedrine / caffeine / alcohol / cocaine / shrooms / tobacco / xanax / klonopin / valium / ambien / soma / flexeril / zanaflex / zoloft / paxil / ether / spraypaint / phenobarbital / ativan / air duster

Re:Well Documented (1)

brunokummel (664267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059804)

..... Now I know that I am more likely to come across a happy smile face than a sad face.

Only if you live in the University of Chicago Library. =)

I wonder how much the results would change in other places....

Re:Well Documented (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061438)

Oddly enough on my way in to work this morning, I noticed they'd repainted the elevator doors which formerly had a bit of everything, but they still hadn't done the wall which had a little smiley. I chuckled a little, having read your comment earlier.

License? (4, Insightful)

Lorens (597774) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058592)

Who is this researcher to relicense their works of art? Just because they can't complain!

Re:License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058604)

Drawing dicks on a bathroom stall is a work of art now? ...Well, it's a step up from modern art at least.

Re:License? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058654)

Nonono, it is modern art.

You appear to not understand that you've walked into my "Live Art" exhibit which can only be appreciated by those within it. "Dicks and your mom", a minor part of the exhibit, encompasses the oedipal desire inherent in males. The "Call me at 555-5555 for a good time" portion speaks of the hidden desire for pleasure which exists in the male psyche.

My exhibit, "Masculinity" encompasses all those themes and more, speaking largely of the sexual frustrations, desire for intimacy, and lack of release that all men feel. The bathroom is used because it's a place where men can feel comfortable and able to release their frustrations, if only for a moment.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get to work on "Femininity". No, no, I won't enjoy it. After all this is *art* good sir.

Re:License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058754)

The "Call me at 555-5555 for a good time" portion speaks of the hidden desire for pleasure which exists in the male psyche.

I've tried your 555-5555 number, and YOU HUNG UP ON ME???
WTF!

Re:License? (5, Informative)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059022)

Nonono, it is modern art.

You appear to not understand that you've walked into my "Live Art" exhibit which can only be appreciated by those within it. "Dicks and your mom", a minor part of the exhibit, encompasses the oedipal desire inherent in males. The "Call me at 555-5555 for a good time" portion speaks of the hidden desire for pleasure which exists in the male psyche.

My exhibit, "Masculinity" encompasses all those themes and more, speaking largely of the sexual frustrations, desire for intimacy, and lack of release that all men feel. The bathroom is used because it's a place where men can feel comfortable and able to release their frustrations, if only for a moment.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get to work on "Femininity". No, no, I won't enjoy it. After all this is *art* good sir.

You could not possibly be more wrong. What you are describing is postmodern art, the antithesis of modern art.

Modern art sought to find universal ideals in form and materials. Eg. Paint is colour on a flat surface, so a modernist painting should emphasize colour and flatness. A painting of landscape, or portrait, etc. is trying to be something other than paint on a surface, modernism saw that as false. Truth to materials was a primary concern.

Abandoning all concern for a skillful execution of final object, and spouting pretentious bullshit descriptions about context and how an object relates to an audience is the domain of postmodernism. another big part of postmodernism was to attempt to just make people think modernism was wrong about everything.

The icing on the wrongness-cake is your final sentence, where you talk about not enjoying it, since it is art. Postmodernism is the first time in art history where humour and a cheeky wit have been acceptable. postmodern artists sometimes do just do it for the lulz.

Re:License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059142)

Can I just say I have no idea what the hell I was talking about and your quote here

spouting pretentious bullshit descriptions about context and how an object relates to an audience

is exactly what I was doing the entire time.

Pretentious bullshit is my métier, sir. Also

The icing on the wrongness-cake is your final sentence, where you talk about not enjoying it, since it is art. Postmodernism is the first time in art history where humour and a cheeky wit have been acceptable. postmodern artists sometimes do just do it for the lulz.

Well then obviously what I've been saying is not post-modern art at all if you say I haven't been explaining post-modern art. Ergo, quid pro quo, ego te absolvo.

Re:License? (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059278)

postmodern artists sometimes do just do it for the lulz.

I bet they don't refuse teh dolRRs, though.

Re:License? (-1, Flamebait)

koreaman (835838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060280)

What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Re:License? (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060284)

Many non-art followers mix up "contemporary" with "modern"; even many people who claim to know art sometimes mix the two terms. Maybe he meant "contemporary"?

Re:License? (2, Informative)

supercrisp (936036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060592)

Your capsule summary is way off. What about Dada? Futurism? Constructivism? Mondrian? Schwitters? None of these people or groups is doing quite what you claim for Modernism, yet they're all Modern. Then you have Postmodern people like Agnes Martin who are doing something like what you claim for the Moderns. The situation is far more complex and interesting than simple parody or a textbook glossary entry makes it appear. If you have time to check them out, Modern, PoMo, and contemporary plastic arts are pretty rewarding. And some of those "pretentious bullshit descriptions" can be pretty interesting and revelatory as well. The line about Modernism and universal ideals is almost fine for a sophomore college class, but it certainly ignores a wide, wide range of artists (and writers), and frankly that notion is highly politicized, emerging from the New Critics, Clement Greenberg, and Hugh Kenner. It's pretty dated.

Re:License? (2, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060118)

I saw graffiti on the toilet doors of the Tate Modern - the only way I knew it wasn't meant to be part of the exhibitions is because there wasn't a placard explaining what the graffiti was about.

Some modern art is skillful, interesting and so on. But my general rule is that if you need a placard explaining that it's art and why it's important, it isn't very good art. For example, the exhibit that was nothing more than a standard rectangular mirror hanging on the wall (!) (if she bought that mirror, can they sue her for copyright infringement? Is my bathroom mirror infringing on her copyright?)

I think it'd be funny to just hang up some joke fake placards, next to the graffiti, or next to random doors, bits of rubbish, or other features of the building, and see how long it takes to get noticed... (Indeed, for all I know, that's what someone did with the mirror - I can't really tell.)

Re:License? (2, Funny)

Finn61 (893421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058624)

Kilroy?

Re:License? (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058658)

Well, what did you expect, from a mindset is not attached to physical reality?
That it would make any sense at all?

The wall with the graffiti is a physical object.
A paper photo in your hand would be a physical object.

But neither the graffiti itself, nor a photo of it, are physical works.
They are ideas/information. Other rules apply.

“Licensing”/“copyright“ is a concept, based on the misconception that ideas/information would be physical objects, and the false need of some people, to control that information.
Trying to argue with it, using logic, is (because of that false base assumption) by definition impossible.

The real physical rules for information are: If it’s out there, it’s out. Period.
So you either never give it out, and won’t be able to prove that it exists at all. Or you give it out to your chosen group.
Which can for example be people that you trust. Or, as in this case, everybody.
In case you gave it to everybody who wants it... well, you should have thought earlier about that everybody could store and copy it at will. (Just like looking at the physical wall and then telling someone, or drawing it from memory, is storing and copying.)

It does not matter if people want to accept that. Just as it does not matter if people want to accept gravity.
You can try to enforce weird rules of behavior onto people, trough mental tricks of psychology. And it may be easier to do in this case, than it is for gravity. But in the end it’s futile. Because you can’t control the whole world. Even with ACTA.
If nothing else, you will end up banning the ability to look at it, because some people became really good at memorizing and reproducing it later. And everybody who can’t remember it, will by definition not remember that it existed.

Re:License? (4, Insightful)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058880)

You can use the same logic to say that having laws against murder and rape is equally futile, because you can't physically prevent people from doing whatever they want to do without massively encroaching on their basic rights. In fact, the final conclusion of such logic is that every single law that exists is pointless because it contravenes the laws of nature, and therefore is unenforceable. Of course every law is about stopping people from doing things they're physically capable of doing. That's kind of the whole point. Why would you make legislation mandating the laws of nature / laws of physics be obeyed?

This kind of "information is different and therefore laws to control it are stupid" thinking is therefore not in itself a compelling argument for why laws should be changed/scrapped and the idea of "intellectual property" should be completely rethought.

Re:License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059258)

You are the ugly red-headed stepchild of Bad Analogy Guy aren't you? Admit it, come on!

All jokes aside every law is about dealing with the crime well after the fact. Police are like garbage men, they come to clean up after the trash is visible, Here is another quote, "When seconds count, police are minutes away". The law, half of the time only serves to make sure you can get to work at the end of the weekend. The same types who make the law, are the sons and daughters of the same people who enacted prohibition, all because they thought it would help their productivity of their workers. They thought drinking would prevent them from maximizing the usefulness of their "wageslaves", I mean employees.
Work for yourself, the sooner the better. Fuck employers. Period, Full Stop.

Wish I had mod points (4, Insightful)

ericvids (227598) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059328)

This may be the BEST counterargument ever to "all information should be free". Bravo!

However, while I genuinely want to mod you up, I do believe that CURRENT laws to control information are stupid. Similar to how laws can sometimes be unfairly and maliciously used to allow known murderers to remain innocent and walk freely, many patents and copyrights are unfairly and maliciously used to prevent people from contributing to the greater good of humanity. Patents in particular are a minefield -- something's clearly wrong with a system that encourages trolls to cripple the true innovators.

Back to the topic, I believe what the researcher did, copyrighting her photographs, is all right, regardless of whether she released it under Creative Commons. I don't believe she was copyrighting the actual message on the graffiti anyway, just the expression of it on photograph. (Of course properly the copyright should be attributed to both HER and whoever made the graffiti, but then I would suppose THAT's public domain since the original author didn't stake a claim to it...)

Re:License? (3, Interesting)

bidule (173941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060522)

You can use the same logic to say that having laws against murder and rape is equally futile, because you can't physically prevent people from doing whatever they want to do without massively encroaching on their basic rights.

No-no-no, no-no-no!

Laws are not there to forbid you, but to protect me. I have the basic right of living, you cannot kill me. The fish does not have that right, so you can kill and eat it. Then it gets more complex as laws become the mirror of society: you cannot hug all the fishes and must share them, so killing is limited. On the other hand, you can share information because it cannot take part in a tragedy of the common.

Well, that's the theory. In practice it's something on which you can go ad absurdum.

Re:License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060888)

you cannot hug all the fishes and must share them, so killing is limited

That's no good. I want to hug all the fishes by myself. Then I will kiss them and squeeze them and call them "My Squishies". There will be no killing of My Squishies.

Re:License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058930)

“Licensing”/“copyright“ is a concept, based on the misconception that ideas/information would be physical objects,

Except that it's not. Where the hell did you get this bizarre idea from? It's nowhere in copyright law, which separates "the work" from the physical object it is presented upon.

Its not a "false need" (1, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059594)

"and the false need of some people, to control that information."

  What a load of reactionary BS. People control information for a number of reasons but copyright is there so the people who created the work - you know , the ones who spent months or years creating a piece of music or a book (surprise! They don't just magic themselves into existence!) - can earn some money from their efforts before ungrateful and clueless morons like you think you're entitled to it for free just because you can copy it easily.

Grow up!

Re:Its not a "false need" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059946)

"People control information for a number of reasons but copyright -was- there so the people who created the work [..]"

Fixed it for you.

No , you didn't. (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060838)

Its not past tense much as you'd like it otherwise.

Re:No , you didn't. (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31061772)

Its not past tense much as you'd like it otherwise.

Hummm death+50 years sounds like past tense in some cases.

Re:Its not a "false need" (0, Offtopic)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060180)

People control information for a number of reasons but copyright is there so the people who created the work - you know , the ones who spent months or years creating a piece of music or a book (surprise! They don't just magic themselves into existence!) - can earn some money from their efforts before ungrateful and clueless morons like you think you're entitled to it for free just because you can copy it easily.

Isn't insisting that other people behave in a certain way just so you can make money kinda implying a sense of entitlement on your part? And no, hard work doesn't entitle you to get money, even if you persist for years; and it most certainly doesn't entitle you to enforce rules designed to make you money on others.

Maybe you should consider getting a day job, and composing/writing on your free time? Then you wouldn't have to try to control other people to make profit, and the rest of us wouldn't have to subsidy you indulging your creative impulses through government monopoly.

Grow up!

Oh the irony.

Re:Its not a "false need" (-1, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060870)

"and no, hard work doesn't entitle you to get money"

Yes it does if you decide to sell your work instead of giving it away.

"even if you persist for years; and it most certainly doesn't entitle you to enforce rules designed to make you money on others."

What is this , Communism 101?

"Maybe you should consider getting a day job"

Got one thanks. How about you Mr Left Wing Student?

"Then you wouldn't have to try to control other people"

Nothing to do with controlling. If you want the work pay for it. Don't expect to get it for free if its not being given away free. And don't even start to bleat about your rights since you obviously have no idea what rights are.

"through government monopoly"

And which "government monopoly" would this be? Or are we heading off into conspiracy theory here?

"Oh the irony."

Hardly. You're a cookie cutter lefty and sadly typical of the type. Mind you , you probably didn't even think your post up - you probably just copied it.

Re:License? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058694)

For some of the drawings that might be the case, but the vast majority are short snippets of text that probably aren't copyrightable at all. If anything's copyrightable, it might be the photograph, which is what the license is releasing as CC.

Re:License? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060076)

If anything's copyrightable, it might be the photograph, which is what the license is releasing as CC.

But in the US, a trivial reproduction of public domain material itself cannot be copyrighted. So surely claiming Creative Commons on these images is still bogus?

Re:License? (3, Funny)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059612)

It's okay, this is all a part of the wider Google Graffiti settlement.

Re:License? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060694)

What about the provenance?

This stuff is not even signed.

An image based search like gazopa would help identify the various Palmer calligraphy schools as well as the

exquisite line art and the rare pastels.

Case in point: The down arrow on highway 603 going to Kiln, MS. titled "Shortcut to Mexico."

Re:License? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061100)

If you write a graffiti on someone else's wall do you really believe you own any copyright to it???

I would say the owner of the wall owns the copyright to the graffiti. I mean someone writes something on your house and you take a picture, of course the picture is yours!

It could be different if the "artist/writer" takes the picture himself he can try to claim some copyright,
but he would have to accept to clean the wall ...

Window into their heads ... (3, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058612)

They're thinking, they're feeling. And they want you to know. That's why they paint it on walls, cliffs and carve it into the school benches. There's this school of thought that believes that it will go away if nobody reads it. But they've really never done something, stood a few feet away and sighed about getting it off your head. Ignoring it and waiting for it to go away is dumb.

Keeping tabs on the expression gives you a much more clear indication of what the pulse of the otherwise silent are thinking. This is a fun experiment because nobody wall painting is doing it because they want to be part of a statistic ... unlike a girl with a clipboard asking questions.

I remember being in a train in melbourne, riding past a few walls full of legal graffiti (union lane?) and wondering what the line between art and vandalism really was.

Re:Window into their heads ... (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058664)

I remember being in a train in melbourne, riding past a few walls full of legal graffiti (union lane?) and wondering what the line between art and vandalism really was.

You can stop wondering. The line is drawn with the permission of the property owner. Vandalism is a crime unrelated to the artistic merit of the work, it has to do with property ownership rights.

From an artistic point of view, it is drawn when the intent is to deface or damage instead of create.

Re:Window into their heads ... (0)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058886)

From an artistic point of view, it is drawn when the intent is to deface or damage instead of create.

I would object to that line. There is something called creative destruction. There are artworks whose purpose it is to be destructed. And I know several ruins which were actually built to be ruins.

Re:Window into their heads ... (1)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060144)

Mmmmm...a specific exception, and the intent would STILL be of the artist who did the creation.

If *I* (or anyone) creates a piece of art whose purpose is to be destroyed -- Indian sand painting? -- that is one thing. If some jerk comes along and beats my statue to dust, claiming it was to make people think or the act was his commentary, that isn't art or acceptable.

Re:Window into their heads ... (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060532)

I would agree that the violent destruction of a statue is not acceptable, but I think it is wrong to assert it cannot be art. Attempts to define art in anything but a completely open-ended manner are always doomed to failure. What you consider senseless destruction another man may consider art. Who are you to define what other people are allowed to consider artistic?

Re:Window into their heads ... (0)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058946)

What if the intent is both to damage and cause those observing the damage to think? As in, not so much smashing something you don't like because you hate it but smash it in a way that you hope will make people think about how said thing affects something else? Artistically your purpose is still very much to destroy or damage something but with the hope that those viewing the destruction will have thoughts "created" in their heads, basically creativity by proxy where the proxy happens to be the destruction and subsequent observation of the destruction.

/Mikael

Re:Window into their heads ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059330)

I'm pretty sure the property owner didn't "permiss" that anyone destroy their property period. Your line of thinking is flawed. The End.

Re:Window into their heads ... (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059438)

The word you are looking for is "permit".

Also, laws that dictate property rights do not dictate whether or not an action, lawful or not, is artistic.

/Mikael

Re:Window into their heads ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059108)

There is no line between vandalism and art, because they're not disjunct. They're orthogonal concepts. Vandalism can be art. But even when it is art, vandalism is still a crime. It boils down to two separate questions: What is art? What is vandalism? All four combinations (art and vandalism, art and not vandalism, not art and not vandalism, vandalism and not art) exist.

Re:Window into their heads ... (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059702)

Mod this coward up, he speaks the truth.

art/vandalism not mutually exclusive (4, Insightful)

k2r (255754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059408)

I don't agree.
From a judicial POV some act may be vandalism / destructive act to property without the owner agreeing.
From an artistic POV the same act may still be art.

Of course "doing art" so someones property without agreement is a problem.
However, the "lines" are not so easily spotted: What about chalking on the pavement or laser-projections on a publicly owned building?

Re:Window into their heads ... (2, Insightful)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059762)

Often the line is drawn by the officials whose job it is to remove graffiti. Someone commissioned a graffiti artist to paint a piece on their shop front. The council then removed the piece from his property without his permission or even his knowledge for no real reason other than being over-zealous.

Or there's the Banksy piece that was done in the centre of town which went to a public vote on whether or not to remove it. The city voted to keep it.

Remember - not all graffiti is tagging and vandalism.

Re:Window into their heads ... (2, Insightful)

miro2 (222748) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059836)

Actually, they are orthogonal categories. Some things are art, some are vandalism, some are neither, and some are both.

Re:Window into their heads ... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058776)

I remember being in a train in melbourne

Have you been around long enough to remember MAX+GJE? Any ideas on where it came from?

Blah... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058656)

When the library at the local community college had a wooden tables in the study area, there was a rich history of graffiti from 20 years of students studying for exams. When they build a new library with modern non-wood tables, the graffiti no longer existed. The florescent pen graffiti on the condom machines in the restrooms was a poor substitute.

Re:Blah... (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059060)

When the library at the local community college had a wooden tables in the study area, there was a rich history of graffiti from 20 years of students studying for exams. When they build a new library with modern non-wood tables, the graffiti no longer existed. The florescent pen graffiti on the condom machines in the restrooms was a poor substitute.

Did any of it say "insert baby for refund"?

Re:Blah... (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059626)

When they build a new library with modern non-wood tables, the graffiti no longer existed. The florescent pen graffiti on the condom machines in the restrooms was a poor substitute.

I agree with that underlaying thought; the sterility of our society makes it not as authentic as it can be. It's like holding a book, with some smudges, signs of usage, people leaving trails and the object being a subject of a living, organic process.

While I feel it shouldn't be "allowed", it should to a certain degree be tolerated as organic expression and a capture of time.

It's not just a modern phenomomen, in pompei they already knew grafitti [pompeionline.net] which painted a picture of daily life for us today.

Some more UChicago graffiti (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058684)

We also have some brilliant graffiti in the grout between the tiles in the downstairs bathroom in the Bartlett dining commons. For example,
"I'm a celebrity, get me grout of here!"
"Commutator subgrout of prime order"
"I'm on the groutside looking in"
"What's this all agrout?"

Re:Some more UChicago graffiti (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058750)

That's a lot like our library where we have this gem, written in pencil, using different fonts and sizes, on a concrete pillar:

Structural concrete
Structural concrete
Structural concrete
I FUCKING LOVE STRUCTURAL CONCRETE!

I like to think of graffiti as being real-life anonymous troll posts, especially when others cross them out an/or respond to them.

Re:Some more UChicago graffiti (1)

ockegheim (808089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059134)

What would be interesting is graffiti from the toilet cubicles, with a Slashdot-style way to filter the boring racist and homophobic stuff to -1. And rate stuff like:

"Nothing is more overrated than bad sex. And nothing is more underrated than a good shit"
(5: Insightful)

[On a newly painted door]: "Virgin door- not any more"
(2: Funny)

Re:Some more UChicago graffiti (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058908)

What's it all agrout, Alfie?

Re:Some more UChicago graffiti (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059164)

This is also all over the bathrooms of Reed College, along with some variations:
"Grout White Whale"
"Trade Groutes"
"Wireless Grouter"
"404 Tile Not Found" (written on the tile, rather than between)

It also migrated to the men's bathroom at Powell's Books (a local independent book store), prompting a response of "I hate Reedies."

(For those of you not familiar with either school, there exists somewhat of a psuedo-rivalry between the two, as the intersection of their two applicant pools is pretty large).

95% of grafitti provided by the researcher (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058700)

she faked it, she is woman

Interesting, but... (3, Insightful)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058706)

I doubt any widely-relevant conclusions at all can be drawn from this analysis. It is somewhat interesting, but the hundreds of samples (which is not really that many) are probably created by a mere handful of individuals, most all of whom belong to a particular group - male undergraduate students, 18-24, residing in or near a certain Chicago neighborhood. So certainly there is no way to apply any findings to any larger group. A fun exercise for statistics nerds, perhaps, but of little scientific value.

Re:Interesting, but... (0)

srothroc (733160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059090)

It doesn't have to be useful to be neat.

Re:Interesting, but... (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060006)

A fun exercise for statistics nerds, perhaps, but of little scientific value.

The same can be said about making posts to Slashdot.
I don't think you really have the right to complain about other peoples hobbies not being scientific when you do the exact same thing, just like all of us do.

Perhaps if she was claiming this was scientific in some way, your statement could be read as a criticism instead... But all we have is some IT geek having senseless fun, and others complaining it is not scientific. Whatever happened to the Slashdot for nerds?

Re:Interesting, but... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060372)

Quinn calls it a "pseudo-scientific" analysis on her blog and adds "disclaimers for the pedantic." '
http://www.crescatgraffiti.com/2010/02/02/pseudo-scientific-analysis-of-graffiti-with-disclaimers-for-pedanti/

Interesting (3, Interesting)

oljanx (1318801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31058756)

But a sample of 620 pieces over three years isn't large enough for useful analysis. I'd like to see this concept applied to graffiti large cities. I'm sure there are crews responsible for removing the graffiti that could document it in the process.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059182)

Not to mention reverse graffiti! A differential analysis between colored and reversed graffiti would indeed be interesting.

Re:Interesting (2, Interesting)

jaminJay (1198469) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059588)

I wonder if the FOIA would include all of the photos snapped along the lines before the scrubbers paint a fresh new "canvas" up... There would be literally decades of data, and I believe they already do analysis such that they can identify any person's style such that, if nabbed for one, you're done for all.

PS: I know this occurs because I was at a freshly tagged station when the poor sod was taking (digital) photos and documenting everything before painting over them in a not-quite-the-same tan. Interest was piqued, questioning ensued.

Re:Interesting (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059736)

I don't know about other cities but in Bristol, UK there are at least two people whose job it is to find, photograph, document and then remove graffiti.

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31058784)

Holy fuck, that shit is fucking awesome! Well done, Quinn!

I was going to post some ASCII graffiti here, but couldn't because of the lameness/whitespace filter, so I posted my graffiti comment on inklingmagazine.com [inklingmagazine.com] .

No conclusions .... (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059028)

All that work and she hasn't been able to come up with any conclusions or reasons for her observed results. Surely that's the (only) point of spending such a long time collecting that data. However, it only represents one single place in one single country so it's not really representative of anything. Plus she breaks the data down by month, so there are really only two data points for each time period, therefore no possibility of showing a year-on-year (let alone generational) trend.

Maybe she should come back in 10 years or so, when there's a reasonable body of data. Then there'd be the start of something worth publishing.

Barbarians at the gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059192)

Only a fool would damage a library.
I remember when I was younger in school, checking the Merck index and I would find certain pages related to drug precursors were not in the books I ordered for viewing. I asked the librarians if they had been censored and the librarians assured they had not. They didn't know about it, it didn't affect my research as an "academic", whatever that is, I feel that destroying books of any kind is surly a slight against all of modern civilization. Only a barbarian would damage a book, regardless of their motive, be it for profit or otherwise. Damaging a library isn't any better.

Re:Barbarians at the gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31059748)

I used to agree with you, until I read the first half of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianetics:_The_Modern_Science_of_Mental_Health [wikipedia.org] . At that point I was at serious risk of getting a concussion from all the facepalming and decided that for my own sake I should stop reading. I intend to burn the book one day.

But with that exception, I haven't found any books that deserves destruction.

The result of the analysis (-1, Troll)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059616)

Graffiti is done by underachieving teenagers and immature 20-somethings who generally can't spell, have no respect for other peoples property and have little or no talent artistic or otherwise anyway.

Now move along please, nothing more to see

Copyright violation? (3, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059628)

Just wanted to throw out that technically she's violating the copyright of the graffiti owner, and cannot be distributing that work. I think all the graffiti authors should step forward and claim their share of her enormous royalties. If you are a graffiti writer, please click [this is a joke] to claim your giant prize.

Re:Copyright violation? (1)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059752)

I think all the graffiti authors should step forward and claim their share of her enormous royalties

...or claim their guilt in defacing private or state property. I'm sure the college would love to employ free custodial labor with a looming prosectution held over the head of the guilty to scrub bathroom walls and re-paint for them.

Re:Copyright violation? (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060070)

...or claim their guilt in defacing private or state property. I'm sure the college would love to employ free custodial labor with a looming prosectution held over the head of the guilty to scrub bathroom walls and re-paint for them.

Very true point.

But think about it a minute. In the USA, if you can not determine how many people downloaded her infringing images, you are guaranteed a minimum of $80000 per potentially infringed work.

At those rates, I'd probably be willing to admit guilt to defacing public property, pay the thousand dollar fine, and then pay someone an hourly rate to clean everything for me.

I'm pretty sure I'd still have quite a bit of cash left!

Of course we all know it doesn't really work that way. Unless the graffiti artist can convince the court that their scenes tag is the name of a corporation they work for or something ;}

Re:Copyright violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31060438)

Not at all. Simply draw your grafitti in a sketchbook, then register the copyright, then draw it up on the wall. When suing the researcher, defend the copyright on the legal original in the sketchbook, not the illegal copy on the wall. Deny making the copy on the wall.

Of course, there is a more fundamental flaw with this legal strategy: Never sue poor people.
http://www.gocomics.com/bloomcounty/1986/06/22/

Re:Copyright violation? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060348)

Not necessarily. Somebody can take a picture of the Eiffel Tower or another piece of 'art' (the French would disagree on my definition of art though) and sell that picture for profit and/or have copyright on that picture. However if you paint another wall the same as the graffiti-artist did on the original wall or you make it look like or claim that your picture is the original art then you could run into copyright issues.

Re:Copyright violation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061052)

Not necessarily. Somebody can take a picture of the Eiffel Tower or another piece of 'art' (the French would disagree on my definition of art though) and sell that picture for profit and/or have copyright on that picture.

Well there's also the fact that the Eiffel Tower is public property. So regardless if you consider the structure a piece of art, its image would be in the French equivalent of Public Domain (well, mostly anyway [wikipedia.org] ). Of course, since the graffiti in this article is a collection of anonymous works on the walls of a public building, the totality of it might be considered a "gift" to the University.

However if you paint another wall the same as the graffiti-artist did on the original wall or you make it look like or claim that your picture is the original art then you could run into copyright issues.

IMHO, we can only hope that copyright is reformed so that some day the above situation is most absurd case of copyright tort society has to worry.

Soldier Port-a-John graffiti overseas (3, Interesting)

adosch (1397357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31059742)

I think regardless of where you find it or what type of person are, graffiti is pretty entertaining and intriguing. I think the most amusing graffiti I've seen that encompasses about every walk of life, rank or status and is among the same topic fairing FTFA above was in a Port-a-john during different points in my life, most notably when I was deployed in Iraq. Considering the type of foot traffic that hit these port-a-john's is much more broader than the foot traffic that hits a university library and the fact that, at least when I was in basic training, it was a push-up affair every time you didn't have a black ballpoint pen on your person, the odds were pretty high for someone to carve their opinion in any artistic form into the wall for everyone else to ponder AND respond to.

It's almost a comical affair now to realize I used to go out of my way to keep track of all the "Black Ninja Rule Number n" and actually look for them when I was pouring sweat trying to take a crap or try to unbuckle 50lbs worth of gear and stow it beside me with I pissed in those crackjack boxes.

Re:Soldier Port-a-John graffiti overseas (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31060378)

Truck stops are famous for bathroom graffiti. I've seen truck stops in the midwest that gave up on trying to keep it erased and provided a dry-erase board and marker. Seriously.

Missing pictures of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31061020)

So the article says that there are virtually no pictures of Vajayjays in the graffiti, I find this odd. As somebody who spends a good deal of time working on construction sites and has seen a great deal of stuff on the walls. I definitely see more pictures referring to female genitals than male.

Can anybody else corroborate?

Also on a side note perhaps one of the best was a drawing of a bear and a tree stump asking of bears $hit in the woods. Seen any others of interest?

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