central creative concern

What is graffiti on digital spaces?

Some people view graffiti as a type of vandalism, and indeed, in many jurisdictions, it is illegal for people to sketch, spray-paint, draw, or otherwise deface public spaces. Others consider graffiti as a popular street sub-culture, and can be used as an expression of art. Graffiti may be used to communicate social or political messages. It has also been associated with other pop cultures, such as hip hop music, break dancing and skateboarding.

While many studies in the humanities have previously been focused on how graffiti art has existed in its physical form, on the sides of buildings, under bridges, or on park benches, we will explore how graffiti is defined in the digital space. What is graffiti as a subculture? As a new digital genre, how should this be redefined? How does it transcend its physicality online? What are the traditional aspects of graffiti, and what new types of graffiti are there out there?

Our group will compare the ways in which graffiti and digital graffiti are similar and different. Our creative concern connects with Florian Hartling's article on how the internet forms a new concept of authorship. We are going to attempt to reconceptualize what graffiti is on digital spaces, and as such, there is no "death of the author", but rather "birth of reader-authors".

Group Members: Anita Cheong, Winnie Sham & Elaine Kuo

UBC English 474A Summer Term 2010