Seattle Times explores the meaning of graffiti

Pacific NW cover

by Richard Seven, March 18, 2007

“FREMONT BUSTLES at its odd Bohemian-yuppie pace, but Tom Dobrowolsky, a University of Washington graduate student rapt by how we communicate in, and with, public space, stops to regard a metal door. Set back in a foot-deep alcove, it has become a temporary bulletin board, a chat room of sorts, of spray-painted scribbles we call graffiti tags.

“These marks can’t be confused with graffiti art. They are labels, brands, and unreadable to those outside the subculture. It’s a private conversation in public, like that cellphone yakker on the bus.

“Who left marks on the door? Which came first? Do they reply directly to one another? Are they part of the same group? How long have they been there, and why are they still?

“‘The city is a library,’ says Dobrowolsky, who co-directs the UW’s Urban Archives project, which catalogs examples of ephemeral street communication…”

read more in thisSeattle Times article

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