30 August 2007
The work and profiles of all of the artists can be seen at the link above.
The exhibition illustrates a phenomena that I have been observing amongst group shows of this kind.
Firstly there is a distinct "style" that is required that is rooted in pop art and cartoons.
Secondly there is a token female presence. There will be one female who is also working in a distinct , but "girly" style and is often the girlfriend of one of the male 'stars'.
The dolls, or underground toy characters are usually made by the women and the robotic figures by the men.
23 August 2007
Friday August 24
Special program for the opening of the exhibition OFF SCREEN. Free entrance
1700 – 1740 hour
Justin Bennett (UK, 1964)
24 hour recordings, 2003-2007
Sundial is a series of works which analyze the daily rhythm of a particular city. Over 24 hours, Justin Bennett makes sound recordings in a single location. Then these recordings are edited together into a short (8 to 12 minute) piece that follows the rhythm of a day from midnight to midnight. The public can hear a realistic 3-dimensional representation of the soundscape, but compressed into a very short timescale. He has already produced versions in Barcelona (2003), Den Haag, Rome, Guangzhou, Paris (2005) and Vienna (2006) Each city, each location sounds completely different, but also the rhythm changes from place to place.
1745 – 1835 hour
Nathalie Bruys (NL, 1975) and Maria Barnas (NL, 1973)
Max A Max B, 2002/3
radio theater (and publication)
About leading a double life (Amsterdam and Berlin) and what remains of Max when you enter the memories of people who have known him.
1845 – 1915 hour
Jacob Kirkegaard (DK, 1975)
The live performance by Jacob Kirkegaard contains subtle volcanic vibrations in the earth around the area of Krisuvik, Geysir and Myvatn in Iceland. These very condensed and rhythmical trembling sounds from inside of the earth were captured using accelerometers (high-sensitive contact microphones). The accelerometers were placed below the surface of the earth at various places around the geysers. Here they picked up sonic characteristics of volcanic activity right below the surface of the earth.
More information about the exhibition:http://www.montevideo.nl/en/index_agenda.php?cat=e&id=222
Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst
17 August 2007
Artist Profile - Vivienne Binns
The work of Vivienne Binns explores what it means to be an artist in Australia with local and European histories, engaging with cultures in the Asia Pacific region. Her abiding interests are the function of art making as a human activity, which occurs in all social groups, and the manifestation s of this through out social environments especially in patterning and surface treatments.
15 August 2007
A series of stencils for gallery exteriors.
Graffiti is an act of vandalism.
Does making the subject of that criminal damage an image of merit question its classification as a crime?
Can beauty be is used to damage property?
If that image is subsequently vandalized which is the greater crime the decoration of a white wall or the vandalism of the image?
Ahh... the curatorial choices!
Trust Melbourne to turn grotty lanes into must-see galleries, writes Richard Jinman.
The words are written in black marker pen on the wall of Pushka, a tiny cafe in a laneway near Little Collins Street. "The important things in life are the things we don't notice."
The author has a point. Melbourne's smallest art gallery - a glass-fronted box called Twentybythirty - is built into the wall just a few metres away. I hadn't noticed it until Bernadette Alibrando pointed it out.
Alibrando is the founder of Walk-to-Art, a company that organises walking tours of Melbourne's art scene. She leads me to the tiny gallery and we peer at its contents: a herd of small plastic animals grazing in front of a computer screen. I've no idea what it means but it's certainly, um, intriguing.
Over coffee in Pushka, Alibrando tells me what to expect from the four-hour tour besides sore feet. It isn't an introduction to big institutions such as the National Gallery of Victoria or smart commercial spaces where the work costs $30,000 a pop. Rather, it's a walk on the wild side; an insider's view of artists' studios, artist-run spaces and Melbourne's graffiti and stencil art-smothered laneways.
Alibrando, the daughter of Sicilian migrants who talks fast and smiles often, is an insider. She graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts 11 years ago and found her calling setting up shows, running artists' studios and working as an art consultant.
Walk-To-Art is an opportunity to "take people out of their comfort zone," she says. "To go to places they wouldn't find on their own or might not feel cool enough to visit on their own."
We leave Pushka and set off down Presgrave Place, one of the many Dickensian laneways that criss-cross Melbourne's central business district. Alibrando is describing the city's art scene as she walks. It's more low-key than in Sydney and prices are less inflated, she says. But there's a plethora of emerging artists; a new generation is jostling for attention.
Our first stop is another unusual gallery, Platform. We walk down a flight of steps on Degraves Street and enter an underground throughfare called Campbell Parade.
It looks nondescript at first. Then you notice the art - images and words by Richard Hout - mounted in glass-fronted cabinets set in the pink-tiled walls.
It's seen (and ignored, presumably) by the thousands of people who stream in and out of the entrance to Flinders Street Station at the other end of the parade.
"It was a derelict throughfare that was used as a toilet," Alibrando says. "Two guys from Monash [University] cleaned it up 12 years ago and it's become the oldest artist-run space in Melbourne."
Quirky galleries are everywhere in the Victorian capital, it seems. At 141-143 Flinders Lane, two enterprising artists have turned a wooden box containing the building's mail slots into a tiny gallery called Mailbox 141. In the 15 spaces once occupied by letters and bills, artist Daniel Dorrall has installed a miniature show called Lemmings which incorporates toy soldiers and manages to be funny and macabre.
Much of the art in downtown Melbourne isn't in a gallery at all, of course. It's sprayed, glued, painted and bolted to the walls of the laneways. Anyone can admire it but it helps to have a guide who can lead you straight to works such as Heather B. Swann's Gates of Hell, a collection of 49 dogs' heads made from black resin that protrude menacingly from a wall in Degraves Place.
Next up, Alibrando takes us to Centre Place and Hosier Lane, two holy sites for fans of Melbourne's street art scene. Every available inch is covered in graffiti ranging from crude "tags" to sophisticated paintings and intricate printed designs pasted directly onto the wall. It's so garish you could easily miss the light boxes - installed by an organisation called Citylights - that are a curated display of cutting-edge street art.
The man behind Citylights is Andy Mac. An artist and champion of Melbourne's street art scene, he operates his own gallery - Until Never - on the third floor of a building near Hosier Lane. Today, it's showing a collection of stencil art by Regan Tamanui, an artist better known in graffiti circles as Ha-Ha.
Mac, a wiry man dressed in a camouflage jacket, explains that Tamanui used up to 30 stencils to create these works portraying Melbourne identities ranging from Kylie Minogue to Mark Philippoussis. They cost from $550 to $2000 each. That seems quite reasonable for an artist whose work has recently been bought by Canberra's National Gallery.
We've been walking and gawking for several hours now but Alibrando's enthusiasm is undiminished. "We're catching a tram," she says handing me a ticket and indicating the stop on Flinders Street.
Twenty minutes later we arrive in Docklands, where Melbourne's film studios and a collection of smart, utterly generic residential towers are replacing the abandoned infrastructure of an earlier industrial age. Alibrando leads me to a giant building on the wharf with rusted roller doors.
Inside is glass artist Miles Johnson, looking like a fishmonger in a beanie, plastic apron and boots. The building is vast - easily the size of several football fields - and Johnson occupies a corner of it, moulding simple, sensuous forms in a kiln heated to 1100 degrees. His gas bill is $1000 a week.
"Just keep an eye on that because it can explode," he says indicating a translucent glass globule cooling in a bucket.
Johnson's work, which is displayed in a haphazard way on several tables, is for sale but there's no pressure. He seems just as happy to chat about his work, his passion. "My dad's a painter and I've been around art all my life," he says. "It suits my personality. [Glassblowing] is a real skill, a lifelong endeavour."
It's a feeling Alibrando understands. As we leave the wharf and head for the wine and cheese that marks the end of every tour, she tells me she is exhibiting her own work for the first time this year.
"A good piece of work will move you every time you look at it," she says. "It will trigger something."
Walk-To-Art tours take place on Wednes-days and Saturdays at 2pm. The groups have a minimum of two people and a maximum of eight. Cost is $98 a head. For more information, see http://www.walktoart.com.au or phone 0412 005 901.
Five of the best
1. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Housed in an uber-cool rust-coloured building, the centre presents work by major local and international artists. 111 Sturt Street, Southbank.See http://www.accaonline.org.au.
2. Neon Parc. Hidden away near the entrance to a car park, this small upstairs space is so cutting-edge it's dangerous. 1/53 Bourke Street, Melbourne. See http://www.neonparc.com.au
3. Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces. Emerging artists exhibit at this complex of galleries and studios. 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. See http://www.gertrude.org.au.
4. Uplands. A cool commercial space named after a skate park. Studio 2 & 3, 249-251 Chapel Street, Prahran. See http://www.uplandsgallery.com.
5. West Space. A little hard to find but worth it. Small gallery, big ideas. Level 1, 15-19 Anthony Street, Melbourne. See www.westspace.org.au.http://www.smh.com.au/articles/
Friday 24 August 2007 from 09.00 to 17.00
new Central Public Library, Amsterdam
The Khatt Foundation and Mediamatic will host a full day of lectures, presentations and celebration of new Arabic cultural expression. We will address the positive perceptions that art, design and typography can generate and the productive collborations that bridge the gap between Eastern and Western cultures. The symposium program will go beyond the stereotypes of what is associated with Arabic culture in the West. The lectures address fashion, film, media, dance, political posters, books, printing, typography, technology, and topics of cross-cultural collaborations.
Speaker will include Goeffrey Roper (Aga Khan University, London), J.R. Osborn (San Diego), Nadine Touma en Pascal Zoghbi (Beirut), Fawzi Rahal (Dubai), Brody Neuenschwander (Brugge en bekend van zijn werk voor de filmer Peter Greenaway), Mula Halasa (London) en Tarek Atrissi (Hilversum). For latest updates and detailed information about the lectures and the Typographic Matchmaking project, please visit the Khatt Foundation Website at http://www.khtt.net/symposium
Your conference package will include the book Typographic Matchmaking, by Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès of the Khatt foundation, and bonus CD with the Arabic fonts (which has a retail price of 30 Euro), lunch and a reception. The cost of the symposium is 45 Euro (20 Euro for students with valid ID). Payment at the door. Register directly at http://www.mediamatic.net/khatt_rsvp. After registering your name will appear on the website as a 'registered visitor'.
At 17.00 the EL HEMA exhibition will open at the Mediamatic exhibition space. The El Hema is a temporary shop where the new Arabic typefaces are used in the styling of the exhibition and in the products, such as Arabic chocolate letters, fashion with Arabic text and several other products. The EL HEMA is also a design competition. The El HEMA is open till 4 November on Wednesday to Saturday from 18.00 to 22.00 and on Sundays from 14.00 to 18.00.
Symposium: new Central Public Library, 7th floor, Oosterdokskade 143, Amsterdam.
El HEMA takes place at Mediamatic, PostCS building, ground floor (side entrance), Oosterdokskade 5, Amsterdam
14 August 2007
Greetings to all,
Wolf and Pack is proud to announce the 6th, in a continuing series of artists featured in the Wolf and Pack Gallery, Laser 3.14.
We at wolf and pack have been following Laser's work, since we first arrived here in Amsterdam over three years ago. It started as appreciation and evolved in to a friendship. Were happy to announce his show at our gallery, the night of Sunday August the 19th 2007 starting at 5PM (17:00 for those that count to 24).
Laser 3.14 is a unique voice of New Amsterdam, prolific in his efforts to reach all people with his unique brand of street expression. Laser 3.14 blurs the boundaries between fine art, street art, new and old styles. Pushing the limits of what to expect from your local construction site wall, often thought provoking, never dull, his words have found themselves touring the entire city, they have landed at 232 Spui straat.
So take a moment and plan ahead to a night of art, drinks, people, music, future memories.
See you all there,
232 Spui Straat 1012VV
- Afternoon with Twist
- Art Show Lap Dance
- Cholo Style
- Critical Taxonomy of Graffiti
- Emergence of New York City Graffiti
- Graffiti and the Public Space
- Graffiti Art
- Graffiti Art and Crime
- Graffiti Bibliography
- Street Math WildStyle
- Graffiti Infroduction
- The Great Graffiti Wars
- Hesh Daim Interview by David Paul from the Bomb
- HipHop Graffiti
- History of Graffiti-arpone
- Inscribing Transgression
- It's All Under Control
- Personal Advertisment
- Perspective on Graff
- @ The Phun Factory
- Ramellzee Breakdown Metaphysical Style
- So You Wanna Write On Walls Huh?
- Staffan Jacobson View
- Style and Techniques
- The Merits of Art
- Tracy 168
- War on Graffiti
- Women Writers
- Writing and Your Health
6de International Meeting of Styles Antwerpen
23 - 26 august 2007
12 - 02 uur
graffiti - art van Thursday untill Sunday
Expo "The Energy Show" http://www.myspace.com/theenergyshow
Live DJ's - summerterras
Thursday 23 august
WK "uit de maat dansen"
Movie "Kroonjuwelen" an organisation with "Diamantmuseum" for the expo Bling Bling
A movie about the origins of graffiti in Amsterdam
Friday 24 august
The next generation of Antwerp beatbox
Senses Overloaded (Lamont - 2Tall - Teknar)
Saturday 25 august
Antwerp graffiti-jam on the legendary Muntplein
Afterparty: DJ Mauz + Teknar - DJ Wicked - Beatcritics
Sunday 26 august
B-boy battles: Bonnie & Clyde, 2 on 2 battle
Chill out in Kavka and enjoy the walls!
Line up graffiti
From Belgium: Arkis - Casroc - Waf - Omri - Arcenciel Collective + guests - Caz1 - Polak - Linez - Skull - Saik - Fuck1
From other countries: TCF: Ziml - Seza (UK) - TPN Pryme - Rocket - Replete - Sune - Rota (UK) Supa (It) DNYE - Zone (Den) 3steps (D) Madamoiselle Kat (F) Versoë (Fin) Nada One and Kika (CH) Focus en Disco Inferno (Phunky-Reus-Ser-Sky92-Telmo) (NL)
© 1997 Josephine Noah
”Wildstyle” is a form of graffiti composed of complicated interlocking letters, arrows, and embellishment. Like all forms of graffiti art, it is spray painted on walls, trains, and other public surfaces, frequently illegally, and is intended to impose on public visual space, and to challenge viewers’ ideas of who has the right to represent themselves publicly, and what art is. It is created both for, and in defiance of, the audience, which is made up of other writers 1 and both supportive and unsupportive members of the public.
The reasons why people write are diverse and ever-evolving. Some motivations cited are resistance and rebellion, fame (literally making a name for oneself), and the desire to create beauty and share art with their community. Most writers fall somewhere on a continuum blending these desires and more.
Wildstyle is intentionally hard to decipher. Dondi, from New York, has said that when he writes for other writers he uses wildstyle, and when he writes for the public he uses straight letters (Chalfant, 1984, p.70). Part of the thrill of the creation of wild letters is the mental and artistic challenge presented both for the writer and the reader. The passion for patterns is one of the binding forces of the community. Copious amounts of time are spent by writers in sketching, piecing, tagging, and bombing 2, examining pictures in graffiti magazines, trading flix (photographs) of graffiti art, and meeting to pass around sketch books filled with one’s own and others’ art to fill with more sketches.
Another excitement of wildstyle is its subversive implications; it is a way of writing messages in huge letters on walls that is translatable only by a very small population of cohorts. Vulcan proposes, “The whole meaning of the art is that it’s a communication language... My main thing is taking letters and distorting them, changing them, mutating them. It’s about evolving the alphabet. Just because somebody said this is the way it’s supposed to be, it doesn’t mean it has to be; you can individualise the alphabet. You can make it your own” (Miller, 1993, p. 32).
Usually, perhaps eighty percent of the time, what is written is the artist’s name; a way of gaining fame and recognition within the community of graffiti writers and aficionados. Other messages are also communicated, sometimes the name of a loved one, or a concise personal philosophy. The letters themselves, it is hypothesized, are a reworking of Arabic lettering incorporating African and Latin rhythms, signifying motion and flow (Miller, 1993).
While these theories about graffiti’s roots and meaning are generally written by academically inclined graffiti artists and outsiders, any non-academic writer will tell about the synonymous “funk” in wildstyle lettering, meaning movement, vibrance, spirit.
My intention in this paper is to discuss the forms of mathematics that have been developed in the design, painting, deciphering, and evaluation of wildstyle. The brief preceding background presents a basic summary of the driving purposes of this form of expression, from which the technical elements valued in the art take shape. Mathematical forms of thought have been both appropriated and adapted from formal math, and, even more pervasive and significant, have been invented to serve the functions of this community. This is what has been termed “street mathematics” (Nunes, 1993).
Nunes, Schliemann, and Carraher convincingly summarize the relevance of street math as follows: ”Sociologists will be interested in analyzing the social conditions under which street mathematics appears and what relationship it bears to variables commonly used to describe a society. Anthropologists will be interested in street mathematics as cultural practices that have an organization surpassing the level of the individual and that are in some way transmitted within the culture. Educators will be interested in such questions as whether children at a given grade level are likely to know particular mathematical concepts from their experiences outside school, whether the new knowledge they gain in school can increase the power of their knowledge outside school, and whether classroom teaching of a novice and a street expert should be different. Finally, psychologists will be interested in the organization of knowledge in street mathematics, its forms of representation, its power to generate solutions to problems, and its acquisition.
(Nunes, et al., 1993, p. 6)”
The community of graffiti writers exhibit particularly rich, sophisticated, efficient, application-specific forms of street mathematics, from which educators can learn much.
An analysis of math use in the graffiti community is particularly compelling because it is a counter-cultural group composed of people and an activity that is generally conceived of as criminal and unintellectual. The results, then, are particularly challenging to common conceptions of intelligence. It is interesting to note the ways in which writers themselves speak of the mathematics of graffiti. It is common for there to be discussion of balance, flow, and symmetry as mathematical elements, as well as perspective visualization (letters are frequently drawn three-dimensionally). However, I have not, in my interviews or readings, heard any mention of the value of school/formal mathematics in learning these skills. The informal mathematical elements used in the practice of their art seem to be conceived of as learned within and specific to the application.
Super LP Raven in Bomb the Suburbs says, “[Wildstyle] is mathematical... graffiti is mathematically constructed... It’s about proportion, balance, syllabic distribution... It should be, after you study someone’s wildstyle once, you should be able to read anything they do in that style - if th style makes sense” (Upski, 103-104).
Giant has talked of his use of “axonometric architectural renderings” 3 and the pyramidal form he uses to construct his pieces; there is “inherent balance, strength, and power associated with pyramids”, he says.
Delux and Eskae and members of their crew, the Aerosol Syndicate, study sacred geometry and incorporate the “natural” proportions, symmetries, and patterns prescribed by it to create their artwork. Delux, who studies mechanical engineering, has also found that his engineering and graffiti skills symbiotically enhance each other, enriching his skills in both domains.
Interestingly, the mathematically inclined artists that I have interviewed became interested in mathematics after they began graffiti, and then began to incorporate these formal knowledges into their work. This intellectual and theoretical angle to their artwork seems to be highly respected by other community members, which may have powerful implications for motivation in school education.
Additionally, there are numerous informal mathematical skills employed by writers that they do not conceive of as mathematical. This may be because it is uncommon for people to think of skills that are learned and used independent of school as “real” mathematics, or, as Nunes, et al., say, “The mathematical skills involved in everyday activities go unrecognized. They are so embedded in other activities that subjects deny having any skills” (1993, p. 11).
Specifically, those in use here include pattern creation and deciphering, and tools and practices of measurement and proportional translation utilized in production of pieces. Subsumed in these categories are the specific talents of spacial visualization, symmetrical and geometrical design and reasoning, and precise, consistent, and coherent application of pattern.
Encoding and decoding using patterning skills
Difficulty of deciphering by the uninitiated is a primary intent in the creation of wildstyles. To achieve the goal of being undecipherable to lay people while legible to other writers, there must be coherence and commonalities within the domain that are transmitted to new members of the community. It is common for a writer to be able to read a piece relatively easily that an outsider may not even realize has letters in it.
Writers employ a common schemata in the deciphering of wildstyle pieces. When coming to a piece by an unfamiliar artist that is not easily read, the first step is always to look for the signature 4 mentioned before, a wildstyle piece will usually spell the artist’s name, so if the signature is present and legible, the reader has a good idea of what the piece may say. It is still frequently no easy feat to see the letters, though. The subsequent step is to look for any relatively obvious letters in the piece. It is difficult to characterize the various directions this may take, as it is dependent on the particular codes of the piece and the strengths of the reader. Sometimes one or more letters can be found relatively easily, and from there, it can be guessed that they will be of approximately the same size and evenly spaced, and so it can be guessed where other letters should fall; features are then looked for in those spots.
Another frequently useful strategy that may follow or be concurrent with the aforementioned involves following a line as it weaves above and below crossing lines and distractions, to see if it is an embedded letter shape. This is useful in the frequent case that a letter is formed by only one continuous line, but sometimes the shape is instead implied by several unconnected lines touching. This is observed in the comparison between the first and second E’s in Figure 2 5. It is of course key to know what shapes to look for; this is part of the knowledge of the practices of the domain.
A knowledge of the standard shapes of upper and lower case Arabic letters is a basis, and from there writers become familiar with different common styles of letters employed and adapted by wildstyle writers. These are sometimes particular to regions, although regional variation is dissipating with the emergence of the internet, widely distributed international graffiti magazines, and writing on freight trains, which then exhibit regional styles across the country. Also, many times a writer will be familiar with the styles of known artists, and may be able to recognize consistent patterns across pieces that help in deciphering.
Following Super LP Raven’s comment cited earlier, stating that if the logic of a style can be determined, it should be easy to subsequently read anything else in that style. Finding the letters in a piece becomes an obsession for writers; Delux calls it “obsessive-compulsive pattern disorder”. It goes beyond wanting to know what a piece says; it is a game, an intellectual challenge, to find the words. Ambiguity is acceptable; that is, for there to be sections that look like letters but actually aren’t, or that may imply several letters. That is part of the complication and the “background noise”.
An important component of deciphering is being able to sort between letter and embellishment. Susan Farrell at Art Crimes 6 sees wildstyle deciphering explicitly as a form of problem-solving: she speculates that the difference between people who can “deal with” wildstyle and those who can’t is due to their problem-solving ability.
Practice, as well, is a key component. Readers come to automatize the variety of deciphering strategies they may try, and can sense when to terminate one line of analysis and try another, a typical quality of skilled mathematicians and problem solvers. Other factors helpful in reading wildstyles are patience and use of collaboration. Reading complex pieces may take twenty minutes, or even revisiting over several days. It is frequently a collaborative process, where people verbally speculate about what letters certain shapes may indicate, as they jointly attempt to decipher.
This is interesting in light of Alan Schoenfeld’s research showing that it is a commonly held student belief about mathematics that if one is capable of doing it, it should be done in less than five minutes, and that it is a solitary activity. In school mathematics, most students will quit quickly if they don’t see a known solution strategy, believing a problem to be impossible for them. In this form of street mathematics, however, multiple solution strategies are tried, and if they don’t at first succeed, new ones may be invented.
Collaboration is frequent also in deciphering, as well as in aesthetic and technical evaluation. Coherence of pattern within a piece is a very important factor in its evaluation. The patterns should be consistent throughout a piece, and not random or done to look interesting or complicated without having a precise pattern or design in formation of letters throughout. It is commonly noted that when novices first come into the graffiti world, they usually want to do wildstyle, and they may start drawing designs that look intricate and tricky, but actually have no solid foundation. There should always be a strong “ghost” of a letter underneath the distracting extra lines, shapes, and fill-in (colorful designs which fill the letters in a piece, and may contribute to obscuring the lettering).
What makes a coherent pattern and what doesn’t is a complicated topic that I don’t at this point have a solid enough understanding to go very deep into. I will explore this more in future research. [ed. note: See especially Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern by Douglas R. Hofstadter, which is one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking books I’ve ever picked up.]
Informal “tools” used in production: measurement and proportional translation
Precision and cleanness are critical in respectable graffiti, both in design and in painting. I have already briefly discussed conventions of letter design; there is an equally strong emphasis on skill and technique in the actual painting. If one is an excellent sketcher but cannot transfer these to walls, a critical element of the art is lost. Enlarging a sketch onto a wall with accurate proportions is no easy feat. Works may be in the range of ten to 25 feet across and three to eight feet tall, and may be extremely complex. Common measuring devices which could be applicable, such as rulers, tape measures, compasses, chalk line, and levels, are never used. The idea is considered quite preposterous; other tools specific to the domain have been invented to produce the precision that is so valued in the community.
Certain factors have contributed to the need to develop alternate measuring tools: one is that conservation of time is frequently a factor, as many pieces are done illegally; a second is that artists must carry a large amount of supplies (mostly spray cans) to the sites, and for economy’s sake, carrying additional tools is undesirable. In response, writers have adapted the tools they have on hand to serve the functions needed: spray cans, their bodies, features of surfaces, and their mental design, mapping, and measurement skills, developed through extensive practice.
A spray can is one concrete measuring device used. The body of the can is slightly over six inches long, and three inches wide. In some designs, particularly large “straight” (non-wildstyle) letters, maintaining an even bar width is extremely important, and measuring this relative to can lengths or widths is one method of assuring consistency. This is done mentally in many cases, but there are instances where bar width may be three or more feet across, and mental estimations become increasingly imprecise.
Another use of cans is in determining straightness of lines. A line may be intended to be straight for, say, fifteen feet, and this is notoriously hard to do. Giant is reputed as being very skillful at this (he is one of few artists who even tries), and to do it with precision he will hold the can vertically along a sketched bar, and observe if there are slight curves relative to the straight edges of the can, performing multiple mental (non-numerical) calculations of relative slopes.
Simultaneously, the body is used as measuring tool. A common concern is keeping bottom and top borders an even distance from the base of the wall. This can sometimes be quite easily done using features of the surface, such as seams on cinder block walls, or bottom edges or lines of printed writing on freight or light-rail train cars. In other cases, where there are no such helping features, an artist may begin a piece at the left edge, and note where the bottom border falls relative to her or his body, and then continue with the height of that body part as bottom border throughout. The same technique can be used as a guide for top margin. Also, similar to the use of spraycan to measure bar width, hand span may be used to evaluate changes in bar width.
There are many more ways that surface features of walls are used in the production of a piece. One practice applied in mapping a sketch onto a surface is similar to historically used perspective drawing tools discussed by Ferguson (1992, p. 80), with the eye as “apex of the visual pyramid”, and the picture being drawn on an intermediate screen between the eye and the image being represented. The graffiti writer’s use, however, is inverse. The intermediate image is the sketch, held at arm’s length, and the artist mentally projects this image onto the surface behind it (see Figure 3). S/he then remembers where features of a sketch fall relative to features of the surface (such as cracks, brick seams, and other paintings). This process will usually be repeated several times during a production. In this way, also, right margins can be approximated as a piece is begun, so that if a piece is a collaboration (where two or more artists will simultaneously compose several pieces on a wall, frequently with edges touching), the next artist to the right knows where their left margin should be.
Some of the quantitative and proportional reasoning used by graffiti artists has been adapted from historically used art, perspective, and design practices, such as those commonly taught in high school art classes. The act of imposing a grid onto a picture to be copied proportionally onto another gridded surface is a standard and historically used representation that many of us are familiar with. While in most cases, this idea would be scoffed at by graffiti artists, one artist I spoke with is actually planning an extremely complicated piece that he would like to put on a cinder block wall, precisely because he can section it into the 2-to-1 offset rectangularly patterned surface. This is certainly an exception.
Yet another application of mathematics in the production of graffiti art is in producing the desired volume or flow rate of paint from the can. This is varied by switching the nozzle, or “cap”. There are two types of caps most frequently used: fat caps and skinny caps, also known as phantom caps. Fat caps produce a wide, less dense line, while phantoms make a thinner, dense, crisp line. The standard nozzles that come on spraycans have a quicker flow, which can cause drips if it is not moved fast enough. Artists have a very clear idea of how to produce wide and narrow lines, and opaque or translucent paint density, as well as flares, where a line morphs from thin and dense to wide and scattered. Caps are important, as well as technique with the spray can, including proximity to the wall and speed of hand motion. There are constant calculations being performed to determine: the given volume, width, and density of paint flow; what painting techniques will produce the desired outcome; and if it would be preferable to use a different available nozzle or seek out or invent a new one. Writers frequently experiment with caps from other kinds of aerosol products, testing its qualities, and sometimes even make their own by carving existing nozzles. I am unsure of whether they generally have an idea of what painting effect they want and can predict how to modify a nozzle to make it happen, or whether they carve nozzles in various ways without any predetermined desired outcome, but to test possibilities.
Directions for further research
One topic that I haven’t covered is the use of perspective in graffiti art. Writers commonly use one-, two-, and multiple-point perspective, which I don’t have an extensive understanding of myself, so noting and analyzing the complexities of its use are difficult at this point. The majority of pieces are designed such that they appear three dimensional, for example, by painting a shadow cast onto the wall under the letters.
Additionally, it is a relatively new phenomenon for some artists, notably Erni and Sleep, to portray letters as though they are actually three-dimensional figures, like sculptures, weaving around each other (see Figure 6), whereas most wildstyle appears to be two-dimensional letters weaving above and below each other, and casting a shadow.
Also, calculation of the amount of time necessary for a piece and number of cans of paint needed must be performed, as one must balance how long a piece will take with the reasonable amount of time it is possible to work at a site without being caught (if it is an illegal spot).
This is one of the more solidly numerical forms of mathematical reasoning, relative to the forms of mathematical thought I have mainly been addressing here. I would like to further examine the strategies of problem solving within this domain, including what sorts of metacognition are enacted, and what other strategies are used that are similar to or different from those productive in the solution of formal mathematics problems. One approach I have considered using, and have done informally already, is asking for think-aloud protocols as graffiti writers decipher a piece. This begs for a comparison to “novices”, however, and I’m skeptical about the validity of expert-novice studies, given the extreme variations between subjects in addition to their experience with wildstyles. I do think that research of this sort would be extremely interesting, though, if it can be designed in a legitimate way.
Also, as I mentioned, I would like to study in more depth what qualities make a coherent pattern, which is critical in the quality and decipherability of styles. It is widely commented that being able to create a solid pattern is a skill that comes with extensive practice and study. I am acquiring a basic feel for determining a piece’s success in fulfilling that criteria, but in many ways it still defies explanation for me. This has also been made difficult by the fact that the vast majority of pictures that are encountered in magazines, on the internet, and in writer’s photograph collections, are of pieces that have been judged positively. I would like to tour more pieces in the streets and have artists evaluate the pattern-coherence of works of more varied skill.
Symmetry, more often referred to by writers as “balance”, is extremely important as well, and can involve quite complex geometric reasoning. Some artists choose to sometimes make their pieces precisely symmetrical, while usually it is sufficient for the piece to be generally symmetrical, meaning the height, width, and outline will be approximately equivalent around a vertical line of symmetry. Given that, writers have a deep knowledge of the construction of letters, including their reverses. This shows highly developed spacial visualization and, I would say, problem-solving skills, as artists determine how to construct two letters so that they are reverses of each other, while maintaining the integrity of each letter. This is a complex topic that I’d like to investigate.
Wildstyle artists, I have argued, have developed sophisticated forms of mathematical thought specific to the needs of their realm. Pattern observation is now considered critical in the development of functional and innovative formal mathematical thought, and it is apparent that wildstyle artists exhibit this talent flexibly and impressively in the practices of their community. Simultaneously, many forms of quantitative reasoning, primarily non-numerical, arise in situation-specific settings in the production of graffiti. This analysis challenges what is often seen as a dichotomy between intellectual reasoning and creativity, with little overlap realized between the two.
Not only is it apparent that there is far more complex reasoning involved than may at first be apparent in this art, but parallel to that, what has formally been conceived of as mathematical thought, particularly in the realm of problem-solving, can be a creative endeavor as well.
“Writers” is the usual term used by graffiti artists to describe themselves. These are forms of art production in public.
Piecing is the creation of “masterpieces”, tagging is quickly writing one’s name with marker, spraypaint, or other device, such as is frequently seen on mailboxes, phonebooths, desks, etc.
Bombing is going out with the primary intention of tagging many surfaces. Giant describes this as techniques commonly learned in architecture drafting classes, including use of 30-, 45-, and 60-degree angles, and one- or two-point perspective drawing.
A signature is the same or similar to the artists’ tag; if his usual tag is difficult to read, it will probably be simplified as a signature.
Translations and credits for all artwork are listed on the References. [ed. note: few images have been used in this version but we hope to have them all at some point.]
Ms. Farrell is the curator of Art Crimes, a comprehensive web site which performs a powerful role of organization, education, and information dispersion within and about the graffiti community: http://www.graffiti.org
Art Crimes http://www.graffiti.org. Bukue. Personal Interviews. 20 November 1996-ongoing. Chalfant, Henry and Cooper, Martha (1984). Subway Art. Delux. Personal Interview. 26 November 1996 and 30 November 1996. Eskae. Personal Interview. 30 November 1996. Farrell, Susan. Personal Interview. 20 November 1996. Ferguson, Eugene (1992). “The Tools of Visualization”. Engineering and the Mind’s Eye. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Giant. Personal Interview. 17 November 1996. Miller, Ivor (1993). “Guerilla artists of New York City”. Class, 35 Nunes, T., Schliemann, A., & Carraher, D. (1993). Street mathematics and school mathematics. Cambridge University Press. Schoenfeld, Alan (1992). “Learning to think mathematically: Problem solving, metacognition, and sense-making in mathematics” (pp 334-369). In D. Grouws (ed), Handbook for Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning MacMillan. Sundance. Personal Interview. 30 November 1996. Walsh, Michael (1996). Graffito. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. Wimsatt, William Upski (year unknown). Bomb the Suburbs. Chicago: Subway and Elevated Press Co.
subject index july 2007
the world's leaders gatecrash Mebike
Me Bike Festival Amsterdam - Carhartt Store
Being in Second Life
Social Fabrics: Second Life
Graffiti on News 19 Dec 2006
The Dot Master series
Laser 3.14 @ Wolfandpack
graffiti - articles
Street Math in WildStyle Graffiti Art
6de International Meeting of Styles Antwerpen
Curating, Collecting and Archiving Media Art
Robots at Play Prize 2007
Melbourne street art tours
symposium on arabic visual culture
Vivienne Binns - Tasmania
10 August 2007
DATABASE OF VIRTUAL ART & DEPARTMENT FOR IMAGE SCIENCE
:: DANUBE TELE LECTURE "MYTHS OF IMMATERIALITY" :: is now archived
:: „MYTHS OF IMMATERIALITY: Curating, Collecting and Archiving Media Art” ::
Lectures and debate with
- Paul SERMON, media artist and scientist, UK
- Christiane PAUL, curator for New Media at the Whitney Museum, NY
In case you were not able to follow Danube TeleLecture #3 live from the MUMOK
in Vienna, you can now view the lecture in our archive
During the last decades media art has grown to be the art of our time, though it has
hardly arrived in our cultural institutions.
The mainstream of art history has neglected developing adequate research tools
for these contemporary art works, they are exhibited infrequently in museums, and
there are few collectors. Which practices and strategies in curating and documenting
of media art do experts in the field suggest?
The discussion was moderated by Dr. Michael Freund, from Austrian leading
newspaper “Der Standard”.
:: The DEPARTMENT FOR IMAGE SCIENCE at Danube University Krems is an
institution for innovative research and teaching on the complete range of image
forms. The Department is situated in the Wachau, Austria - a UNESCO world
heritage site - in the Goettweig Monastery and is housed in a fourteenth century
castle. It is the base of the public documentation platforms www.virtualart.at and
The Department's new low residency postgraduate master's programs in
MEDIAARTHISTORIES www.donau-uni.ac.at/mediaarthistories, PHOTOGRAPHY,
and IMAGE MANAGEMENT are internationally unique.
Next Tele Lecture :
We will be happy to welcome you live or via streaming for
our Tele Lecture in November.
Guest will be the media theorist Lev MANOVICH.
The Department for Image Science Team
*The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Being in Second Life *
when hostess Melinda Rackham is joined by special guests:
Annabeth Robinson, Patrick Lichty, Stephan Doesinger, Dr Ricardo Peach
Christy Dena, Kathy Cleland, Adam Nash and Dr Fabio Zambetta
Neal Stephenson's Metaverse reigns supreme. One of it's current
incarnations- the multi-user virtual universe Second Life claims a
population of 8 million avatars. SL is embraced by many as an innovative and
safe fantasy scape - enabling play, creativity, education, companionship,
love and lust. It is reviled by some as a cesspit of antisocial isolationist
addictive behavior; and SL is dismissed by others as simply an over-inflated
hype driven commercial venture expounding the values of property acquisition
and commodity exchange. Whatever your perspective, SL is serious business
with an exchange rate which fluctuates against the $US and an estimated
Second Life avatar electricity consumption equivalent to the average citizen
of Brazil. In this seemingly infinitely expandable universe aesthetic
endeavors, creative constructions and artistic performances are enacted
---> Annabeth Robinson (UK) is a Second Life Artist focusing on interactive
and sound driven projects, Metaverse consultant and Sim builder, Lecturer -
Design for Digital Media at Leeds College of Art and Design. aka AngryBeth
---> Patrick Lichty (US) is a technologically-based conceptual artist,
writer,independent curator, co-founder of the Second Life based performance
art group, Second Front, animator for the The Yes Men, and Executive Editor
of Intelligent Agent Magazine. http://www.voyd.com/voyd/
---> Stephan Doesinger (Austria) is a conceptual artist and architect. His
second book "Learning from Sim City," will be published in September. He
initiated Bastard Spaces the 1st Annual Architecture and Design Competition
in SL to be announced at Ars Elctronica. aka Doesi Beck
---> Dr Ricardo Peach (AU) is the Program Manager for the Inter-Arts Office
at the Australia Council for the Arts, which is funding a SL residency. Born
in Volksrust, Mpumalanga in 1968, he and his family migrated to Perth,
Australia in 1980. aka Ricardo Paravane
---> Christy Dena (AU) is researching changes to art and entertainment in
the age of cross-media production for her PhD at the University of Sydney.
Dena works as an industry strategist, mentor, educator and journalist. aka
Lythe Witte http://www.christydena.com/ http://www.lythewitte.net/
---> Dr Fabio Zambetta (AU) lectures at School of Computer Science and
Information Technology at RMIT University Melbourne and researcher in the
area of 3D embodied conversational agents, 3D virtual environments, and
interactive storytelling. aka Fabio Forcella
---> Kathy Cleland (AU) is a writer, curator and lecturer in the Digital
Cultures Program at The University of Sydney and is currently completing her
PhD investigating avatars, digital portraiture and representations of the
self in virtual environments. aka Bella Bouchard
---> Adam Nash (AU) is a media artist, composer, programmer, performer and
writer who works in networked real-time 3D spaces, exploring them as live
audiovisual performance spaces. His work has been presented at SIGGRAPH,
ISEA, and the Venice Biennale. aka Adam Ramona http://yamanakanash.net/
---> Dr Melinda Rackham (AU) is the Executive Director of ANAT -
Australia's peak body for artists working with emerging technologies. Her
Ph.D. explored the nature and construction of avatars and multi-user Virtual
Reality Spaces. aka Marina Regina http://www.subtle.net
Join us at -empyre-
10.000 euro cash prize to the most playful robotic system
The Robots at Play Prize 2007 is an international prize for the most playful and/or interactive robotic system. It is given in connection with the Robots at Play Festival in Odense, Denmark, on 23-25 August 2007, and sponsored by Fionia Bank. The festival and prize is chaired by Professor Henrik Hautop Lund.
Robotic systems are entering into the daily life on citizens all over the world. Vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, toys, playgrounds, rehabilitation equipment, fitness equipment, etc. are becoming robotic systems. In such a development, it is crucial to design robotic systems that are interactive and well integrated into the daily life in its natural surroundings, being at home, in the urban space, in sports club, in theatre, in hospitals, in developing countries, etc. This design challenge demands integration of different disciplines such as robotics, design, interaction design, and arts.
The Robots at Play Prize of 10.000 euro is aimed at reinforcing the integration of such disciplines and societal understanding in robotics. The prize promotes robotic systems for use in all aspects of daily life for the benefit of humans and interactivity with humans.
A prominent example of such a system is playware, which combines robotics, design, arts, play studies and industrial development to create the playgrounds of tomorrow - playgrounds that are based on robotic components in order to create joyful physical activity in fight against obesity. The Playware is developed by one of the committee members and therefore not nominated for the Robots at Play Prize, and serves only as an example.
Call for candidates:
The international Robots at Play Prize is open to any candidate robotic system world-wide. It is open for anybody world-wide to suggest candidate robotic systems. Candidate robotic systems will be evaluated during the festival by an academic/industrial committee based upon their qualities in terms of being
and also in terms of their
· potential impact on society
The committee will evaluate the nominated candidates. Nominated candidates are invited to join the Robots at Play Festival in order to showcase their robotic system to the public, as part of the evaluation for the prize. The Robots at Play Prize 2007 ceremony will be held on evening 24th August 2007 in Odense, Denmark, during the Robots at Play Festival.
Candidate descriptions including abstract, www-information, photo, and inventor/developer contact information should be sent to the committee chair Professor Henrik Hautop Lund, University of Southern Denmark, by email: hhl at mmmi.sdu.dk, no later than 1st August 2007.
The committee consists of members from the Academy of Fine Arts, RoboCluster, and Danish industry
Robots at Play Festival:
The overall aim of the Robots at Play Festival is to spread knowledge about robotics by presenting interactive robotic systems in the daily life of the citizens. Therefore, the festival takes place on an open city square, in art museums, library, bars, cinema, etc. in the city centre of Odense that has nominated "play and robotics" as its future focus for industrial and city development. Apart from the prize, the festi-val hosts numerous events like robot construction, robot bazaar, robot film presentati-ons, play, learning, robot art exhibition, robot art performances, RoboMusic development, a stage show, an international Playful Robotic Art conference and a debate on robotics ethics. All events take place in the centre of the city amongst the citizens in their daily environment. Please have a look at the video from last year's festival, and the descriptions of activities and photos of some of the robots from the forthcoming 2007 festival on the web-site.
+ info: please, write you to Luigi Pagliarini
Robots at Play Festival, Odense, Denmark, 23-25 August 2007: http://www.robotsatplay.dk
Henrik Hautop Lund, professor
Chair of the Robots at Play Festival
Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute
University of Southern Denmark
Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
Tel: +45 6550 3574 Fax: +45 6615 7697
hhl at mmmi.sdu.dk
What is this thing Horse Bazaar?
Horse Bazaar is a Melbourne based organisation involved in the production and distribution of new media and visual arts. We offer a range of media, production and design services. We also run two fine bars, Horse Bazaar and North Bazaar, which incorporate innovative projection systems for the display of contemporary visual media. Developed by individuals committed to the support of Melbourne's emerging digital culture Horse Bazaar’s bars blend lounge and exhibition space to produce a unique environment for the display and enjoyment of the arts, be they digital, sonic, conversational or dance floor. These venues provide new media artists with an unprecedented opportunity to exhibit digital works outside of a formal gallery context. Above and beyond being digital artspaces, the Bazaars are warm friendly places within which to socialise, work (we offer free wireless) or to party on and indulge yourself with a fine cocktail and a late night boogie. The cultural programming, visual arts, live music, and eclectic range of DJing are guaranteed to serve up taste expanding treats for any cultural aficionado.
Horse Bazaar run a generous annual digital arts prize, the Horse Bazaar Prize, which is fast becoming a coveted trophy and welcome addition on the international digital art circuit. The 2006 Horse Bazaar Prize will be announced in late November. In 2006 Horse Bazaar are producing the inaugural Digital Fringe, an annual web based digital arts festival that runs in conjunction with the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Digital Fringe will screen in venues, 3G handsets and on a variety of public spaces and screens all over Melbourne.
==============*Jean Poole - Winner of the MONA Horse Bazaar Panoramic Digital Art Prize
Horse Bazaar and The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) (www.mona.net.au
*Jean Poole* received *$4000* for his winning entry *Animals really are funny people*. The artwork will screen in the Musem of Old and New Art when it opens in Tasmania in 2009.
VCA student *Kel Wells* won the student prize and received *$1000* for her entry *Shucker*
*Angela McNeice*, won the 'Mastermind Prize" chosen by Horse Bazaar, and received a *$500 drink card* for her brilliant piece *Touchtongues*
The Mona Horse Bazaar Prize for panoramic content is an open digital art prize for the production of screen-based content that best uses Horse Bazaar’s unique panoramic projection system. The screens are custom-built for the environment and extend for nearly 20 metres around the bar.
Top entries are currently screening on rotation at Horse Bazaar - 397 Lt Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Australia.
**For more information see http://www.horsebazaar.com.au/
Horse Bazaar - 397 Lt Lonsdale St, Melbourne
North Bazaar - 222 High St, Northcote
Fashion and digital technology have been interdependent at least since
the development of Jacquard's loom. in the 1800's. Currently, social
media are merging fashion and adornment with digital communication
through "embodied" forms of communication, such as the Multi User
virtual Environment, (or MUVE), Second Life. Within these environments,
much emphasis is placed on the customization, adornment and clothing of
virtual bodies, or "avatars". Entire sectors of virtual economies are
being devoted to virtual fashion, and physical fashion is beginning to
be taught in the virtual. What are the social functions of online
fashion, and how can creative practitioners work with aspects of virtual
fashion to create new forms of communication?
As part of the Social Fabrics exhibition, a Second Life event will be
held during or concurrently with the event in Dallas that will explore
the communicative and performative aspects of virtual fashion.
Furthermore, for this event, curators Patrick Lichty and Susan Ryan
challenge artists and designers using Second Life to create new forms of
adornments that actualize aspects of social interaction in online
spaces. These could include reactive garments, works that collect
memory or records of interaction, and more. In addition, fashion
artifacts that illustrate specific aspects of social interaction in
Second Life are also encouraged.
Artists and designers using Second Life are invited to submit proposals
to Social Fabrics SL. Please include a 500 word description of the
project's concept, a 250 word technical description, special
requirements (if any), images or sketches, and contact information.
Depending on the final venue, participants must be available to take
part in the final event, which will be a pre-CAA in-world exhibition
where in-world Second Life video documentation will be compiled for
display at the Dallas event and on the socialfabrics.org website.
Image documentation (300 dpi JPG or TIFF images) will be required by
January 15th for inclusion in the exhibition catalogue.
Proposals must be emailed by no later than October 15th to Patrick
Lichty (aka Man Michinaga) as PDF or Microsoft Word file, at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected proposals will be notified by Nov. 1.
Social Fabrics SL will take place on I AM Columbia Island in an event
site sponsored by Columbia College Chicago.
What is Second Life?.
Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is an Internet-based virtual world
launched in 2003, which came to international attention via mainstream
news media in late 2006 and early 2007 developed by Linden Research, Inc
(commonly referred to as Linden Lab). A downloadable client program
enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other
through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of a social
network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents
can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual
and group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and
services from one another.
To learn more about Second Life, go to the Linden Labs website at:
For more information on the Social Fabrics exhibition, visit:
if you are in Berlin and if you have time - feel invited to visit the big FINAL of the street art exhibition PLANET PROZESS ( http://urbangrassroots.net/ ). The concept of an permanently changing Exhibition comes to the end and will be celebrated with a big street-party.
The process of the changing of our piece of art the PUPLIC INNERSPACE (an installation in form of an appartment) is documented and will be presented in front of it.
Wann / When: Samstag den 11.08.2007 ab 14.00 Uhr
Wo / Where: Cuvrystr. 2-3, Berlin Kreuzberg
Eintritt frei / Free entry
mit freundlichen Grüssen
09 August 2007
lecture on street art
MC Doddgy Dutchie
Star Wars Help Desk
graf gran's garden gets up
graf gran gets buffed
Galo & TLP in LA
Graffiti als kunst in Musea
11 spring street
WSR07 - Rotterdam
Amsterdam Film eXperience
Geert Lovink - video lecture
Stroom Den Haag
call - The Australia Council's Second Life residency
Holland Doc: Droomwereld (De Toekomst, Second Life)
Australian Second Life
08 August 2007
07 August 2007
02 August 2007
Brisbane Graffiti Artist Kieron Wilson’s exhibition of his recent works opens tomorrow night. Wilson’s Arcadia is far from the usual interpretation of the word, which relies on a nostalgic yearning for typically rural scenes of simple pleasure. Wilson's Arcadia is a palette of chromes and auto-paints, redolent of the street, done with the urgency of a tagger at midnight. Kieron will create an aerosol artwork live during the opening. The event will include nibbles but BYO drinks.
Opening 7pm Friday 3 August
3 - 24 August, Watch This Space Gallery, 4/9 George Crescent, Alice Springs