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Grafedia Elevates Graffiti To Art 166

joredbar writes " has a story about a new phenomenon called Grafedia. This is something new that I never heard of before. Grafedia is hyperlinked text, written by hand onto physical surfaces and linking to rich media content - images, video, sound files, and so forth. Grafedia can be written in letters or postcards, on the body as tattoos, on the street, or anywhere you feel like putting it. Viewers 'click' on these Grafedia hyperlinks with their cell phones by sending a message addressed to the word + "" to get the content behind the link."
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Grafedia Elevates Graffiti To Art

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  • Hmm (Score:1, Troll)

    Sounds like a good place for gnaa to troll
  • Lame (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:44PM (#12051720)
    Sounds like Garffiti for Metro lamers.
  • by Kittyflipping ( 840166 ) * on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:44PM (#12051722) Homepage
    Hmmm, now what would you do with a database of SMS-enabled cell phone numbers? Is it illegal to SMS ads to cell phones? What about if they SMS you first?
    • Unless they have some way to make it free for the suer. This is the same reason that fax spam company got slaughtered in the courtroom. They sent advertisements that interrupted the flow of buisness (and in the case of hospitals, emergency information), plus it cost the recipients money to recieve the email.

      I would go so far as to say telemarketing on cell phones could be punished for minute reimbursement, but IANAL on this one.
  • by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:45PM (#12051728) Homepage
    Seems like an interesting idea, but imagine 40 years from now having to explain the grafedia link tatoo. That doesn't sound to brilliant.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Unbelievable. Just when you thought people couldn't do anything more stupid with hax0r language and cellphones some idiot tries to start a new dumb fad.

    May stupidness rule the technology world!
    • by Buffo ( 773488 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:57PM (#12051804) Homepage
      Gotta agree; pointless... At least with old fashioned graffiti there was a slim chance that you could view something that was visually pleasing while you contemplated the fact that what you are looking at is basically an act of vandalism.

      Now all you get is a word, or a link, that is still an act of valdalism. But there's really nothing to look at. You've got to go look up the actual content using your cell phone, and then it might be something really lame - or worse, a goatse link.

      What's the point? How many people are going to take the creator's word that the relevent link will be pleasing/funny/informative/(insert adjective here)? Especially after the first penis-enlargement Grafedia works start showing up. (Hey spammers! Here's a new delivery method for you! Get your victims, er - customers, to actually come to you for a change!)
      • Even better, use it as a way to harvest email addresses. Keep updating content so that people will tell their friends. Even when they know that they are giving out their addresses to complete strangers, they'll continue to do it because they think that they can't stop the spammers anyways.

        I suppose Grafedia will claim to not sell addresses, but who's to say that they are telling the truth?

        If Grafedia is reliable, will you trust the next organization to show up?

        It would be great if we could charge them to
      • This doesn't actually make sense as a potential spamming medium. A spammer does what he does because he can reach so many eyes with so little effort. I mean he reaches cities worth of eyes. That effort to eyes ratio goes down the crapper when you have to take a few minutes to put your tag in each geographic location and then travel to the next one.
  • Pr0n? (Score:5, Funny)

    by skriptal ( 854745 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:46PM (#12051734)
    Will I be able to use this to get pr0n though?
  • by icebrrrg ( 123867 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:46PM (#12051735) Homepage
    this totally supercedes festooning the bathroom walls with the phone numbers of the girls who won't date me.
  • Oh, god (Score:5, Funny)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:47PM (#12051751)
    Way too much potential for tubgirl/goatse abuse here. I can imagine the horrors as the morning commuters follow a "hyperlink" to a giant, stretched rectum to start their week.
  • Sounds like the localized sms/email/forum things that people keep thinking is a good idea.
  • No content... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jericho4.0 ( 565125 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:51PM (#12051772)
    How is this any different from scrawling an URL? This is going to be used by a few lame advertising campaigns, where every graphedia will have to be acompanied by instructions 'put this word in front of'.
    • The difference is a scrawled URL would be seen as promotion. That's why something like Grafedia works. If advertisers did start using Grafedia (, checks could be put into place to thwart them a la Craigslist (i.e. users who message and get an ad can report it; if enough do, it's taken offline). As the grafedia faq says: "To a certain extent, though, grafedia is intended for an audience of insiders - those don't know about grafedia are not necessarily the target audience." So feel free
      • Re:um, no (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tyler Eaves ( 344284 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @11:28PM (#12051990)
        Sounds like a bunch of pricks trying to pretend they are intelligent...
        • Re:um, no (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @12:44AM (#12052305) Journal
          i thought the opposite, it reminded me of the kind of things some of my stoner friends would think up... "what if you could click on links i real life.... like on a web page.... but in real life......yea man you could click on it with your phone or something...." but the next day rather than realizing it was dumb they decided to actually do it.
          • i thought the opposite, it reminded me of the kind of things some of my stoner friends would think up... "what if you could click on links i real life.... like on a web page.... but in real life......yea man you could click on it with your phone or something...." but the next day rather than realizing it was dumb they decided to actually do it.

            Ha ha! I guess some people DO code better when they're messed up.
          • except that you're not clicking on the links..

            using something like semacode [] would make the 'clicking' seem more like clicking.
  • The only "useful" function this serice will provide is for spam and advertising. I can see it now.

    SMS "happymeal" to the thing and it comes back "H0t nude teens 4 free!!!"
  • Sounds like an effort to create a new "hip" advertising trend.

    No thanks.
    • I agree. I don't see the point. It's not enough that people spam blogs, forums, and other places, now they have to tag their b.s. in public places? This does nothing but ruin the environment, even if it's one of concrete or stone.

    • The plot thickens: you see, advertisement is now called an 'art' by dimwits for whatever reason they want. By lifting graffitti to the status of publicity, we are effectively bringing it to the level of art, gentlemen!

      This is so painfully not art. Really, I can swear, NOT ART.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:56PM (#12051799)
    This idea has been around for ages. They're called URLs. I can spray paint "" on a wall and you can "link" to that by typing in that address on your cell phone. Doesn't make it a hyperlink. If I gave someone my business card with an email address on it and said "look, my business card has hyperlinks!" they'd think I'm nuts. Much like I think the perpetrator of this ridiculous idea is.
    • But you don't get it. You see this is different because when users enter a grafedia address they call it "clicking" on the image. You don't call typing in URLs "clicking" so your idea is not innovative at all. Sorry.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:56PM (#12051800) Homepage

    In the name of all that's holy... what mad science is THIS?!

    He's actually HAND WRITING urls onto (sit down) PHYSICAL ... SURFACES...



    Its MAD! No... its more than mad.

    ITS I N S A N E !!!!

  • Semacode (Score:3, Interesting)

    by josh3736 ( 745265 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @10:58PM (#12051814) Homepage
    This has already been tried in the form of Semacode []. Much less of a pain in the ass than using a cell keypad to type in the 'link.'

    Besides, they want me to effectively pay to read graffiti (in the form of picture messaging [] charges)? I knew the whole IP situation was kinda getting out of hand, but damn!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check out some stencil graffiti people are creating, Stencil Revolution []. There's tutorials and galleries up there.. Sure, some of it's very amateurish but there's also very inspiring work...

    Sample 1 []
    Sample 2 []

  • great (Score:2, Funny)

    by Stalyn ( 662 )
    now the local street gang can inform me on how i can enlarge my penis or how their funds are tied up in some bank and they need my help... spam bangers!
  • by fliplap ( 113705 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @11:04PM (#12051854) Homepage Journal
    You know that graffiti has been art for a long time right?
    • You know that graffiti has been art for a long time right?

      Exactly. There are many (relatively) famous graffiti artists out there already, including Eric Haze []. Sega used to hold graffiti art competitions as a promotional tool for their Jet Grind Radio game.

      A good exhibit on graffiti as an art form and its hip-hop influences was at the Experience Music Project [].
    • Well, ever since I got a PDA, transcribing my class notes has allowed for some artistic interpretation.
    • Fine, I have no trouble with that. But could you please send me your contact details so _you_ can pay the thousands of dollars we spend each year to keep our apartment building free from 'art'?
  • I dont care if its art- If I catch you tagging grafitti links on one of my buildings, your next venue will be in the city pen. Grafitti, Art or No, is still wrong. As long as I still have private property rights, anybody who pastes links on my buildings isnt getting off lightly.
  • As an artist struggling to actualy be able to DO any art, I wish to hell I'd thought of this. This is one of those things, that even IF everoyne forgets about it in to years, your name is IN the art history books! An idea this intersting is somehting I might even participate in, just because the "idea" is so good, wether or not it gets co-opted and destroyed.
  • Yes, please come vandalize my property. I want gang symbols and political statements on my home or dream-business.
  • 'elevates'? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DNAspark99 ( 218197 )
    how does this crappy idea 'elevate' the art?

    As an occasional writer(graffiti artist), I take offence to that. []
  • So not only do I have to send messages, choose a word, and put it somewhere for people to find, or hand out?

    And if I want to retrieve.. say I found one somewhere.. I have to either use my phone, or some convoluted e-mail system?

    While I applaud the idea for its originality. I'd rather just have a webpage and a gallery.

    And if you are somehow to poor to have your own damn page (I mean, come on), but if you are.. how many free picture services are there out there? Nevermind the fall back on MSN or Yahoo or
  • I'm sorry... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @11:16PM (#12051933)
    But this is stupid and definitely non-news.

    Sounds like someone is using Slashdot to get some free press.

  • I'm gonna have a lot of fun with this. I can't wait till the n00bs get into it and make links that dont go to anything.
  • "Elevates" ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by popo ( 107611 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @11:19PM (#12051953) Homepage

    "Elevates grafitti to art" ???

    The implication is the "art" is somehow "higher" than anything else is silly.

    Anyone who has studied art philosophy (I majored) can tell you that art has no standards or prerequisites. Anyone can declare anything to be art. (Duchamp anyone?)

    You can literally shit on a canvas and call it art. In fact you don't even need the canvas.

    Grafitti *is* art.

    And for that matter so is Slashdot.

    If anything, art is "low" -- most other things have defining parameters.

    • Kudos!

      My favorite post to this article so far is the "if it's illegal, it's not art"

      Tell that to Michelangelo. Well you can't, cuz hes dead, but you get the point.

      Grafitti is art!
      • You might want to read more carefully. If everything is art, so is graffiti, sure... but so what? So is murder, getting high, and sitting still and doing nothing. (Do it for four minutes and thirty three seconds and it's even a copyright violation under the right circumstances.) If everything is art, "art" has no value whatsoever, it's just a meaningless, but emotionally-laden, word, to be waved like a flag... which is what you're doing, but without comprehension.

        You don't really want to turn to the "every
    • Shit on a canvas. That kills me. But your right, I have always wondered why people ooh and ahh over some paint. Yes it takes effort, and yes it takes work and skill. But so much money for so little return is crazy.

      But then there is the beloved happy tree guy.. God rest his soul.

      I dont know where I was going with this. But art is good, sometimes. But its up to the individual to figure out what art is to them.
  • by Heisenbug ( 122836 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @11:19PM (#12051955)
    OK, I shouldn't fall for the troll, but the idea that writing shorthand URLs on walls is art, but non-web-enabled graffiti isn't, is purely laughable. I browse at +3 so I won't have to see things that transparently stupid.

    I liked the article, just not the headline. The idea sounds like a fun experiment, though I can't see it scaling well enough to be worth trying '@grafedia.blah' when you see a random word written on a wall.

    The next question that's going to come up, of course, is if graffiti is in fact art already. Heh. I've already had the conversation where we talk about whether something is art or not. They're all the same, and I'm over it. For me it's enough to say, some graffiti seems lame, some makes me happy and I'm glad it's there. I recognize that y'all may disagree, and all I can say is, there's a city full of walls you can post complaints at.
  • How much does it cost? It'sobviously there to make money from little girls not paying the bills.
  • Anyone want to help? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goofyheadedpunk ( 807517 ) <> on Friday March 25, 2005 @11:25PM (#12051983)
    I was kind of curious about how quickly a wikipedia article could be taken from nothing up to something interesting, so please pop on over to the Grafedia Wikipedia article [] and contribute if you have anthing.

    I just started the crazy thing. I wonder how this will go.
  • After reading how this works, it is basically just an email auto reply for any given word

    In my mind, I jumped to thinking that users took a picture on their camera-phone and sent that picture to grafedia. Then image-comparison software would match that image to an image of the same graffiti that the author submitted. If a match was found, the system would retrieved the information that the author "attached." Now that would have been kind of cool! Think steganography meets UPC symbols.

    But no
  • WOW GREAT (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I can't wait to see the hundreds of grafiti links to []
  • Sounds sorta like warchalking, but I don't think that caught on either.
  • This MIGHT be cool if you took a *picture* of the "link" with your cell phone, and then grafedia matched the picture to the one in their database and gave you the content. That MIGHT make this cool, but probably not.
  • by bergeron76 ( 176351 ) * on Saturday March 26, 2005 @01:01AM (#12052367)
    This could be very intriguing if used properly.

    More importantly, it raises the question (to me): Why do we have extensions/suffixes on domain names?

    The reason I ask is because an apparently new medium of creativity has surfaced. When I read this article, I felt it was blemished by the ".net" that's intrinsically (and permanently) associated with it. In a world where we can put men on the moon, machines on Mars, and use international language/symbols on the internet; why do we still have to have 90's style suffixes appended to internet names?

    Do we gain any significant taxonomy by having .net/.com/.uk/etc?

    In the new global economy/world, I can't help but think that a better method of taxonomy should be created; and if it isn't, at least the existing obsolete method should be eradicated.

    That said, I think graffedia is (or will become) a much more significant historical milestone than many people realize.

    • Yes. The DNS-system is not flat system with suffixes, its a tree system. You don't have just, you have The point here is that the directory of names is spread over different server - one server for each domainname part, one for the root, one for com, net, us, se etc, one for and one for Each server holds only the data for that part of the tree. To flattern it all would require One Big Server serving _all_ requests, run by
    • Nothing is gained by having many TLD (top level domains). The purpose of a TLD was to denote what registry to look in as a last resort when looking up a domain name that was otherwise not cached in any of the DNS servers querried.

      Way Back When, When The Net Was Small, TLDs were used to distribute the load among the registries. With the advance of technology, there really isn't any functional reason to do so now.

      In the mean time, the registry has been used like an index. Rather than look something up first
  • I just think it's amusing that the people who actually intend to do this sort of thing think that their silly little random words scrawled on things are somehow inherently 'better' than a kid tagging his name.

    Newsflash, morons, no-one is going to pick up on this. The majority of people are going to say, "Hey, look at that annoying, stupid, and obscure graffiti!"

    Also, way to go flamebait on the title; there is a lot of worthwhile and interesting graffiti out there. It's not just about stupid kids marking t
  • Make some graffiti compatible with the CueCat.
  • At first I thought you pointed your camera phone at the graffiti, took a picture, sent the picture to a special address, and got some content back. Now that would be kinda cool. Some type of picture recognition thing...

    But this is just dumb.
  • Elevated to Art? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pjay_dml ( 710053 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @01:33AM (#12052477) Journal
    Where have you been the past couple of centuries?


    Also called Writing, Street Art, just to name a few terms, so that idiots like you, stop degrading us artists!!!
  • I wonder what "Cool 'Disco' Dan" [] thinks about this? Is this a new frontier for him?
  • You want to see graffiti art, look at Basquiat, Haring or Fab Five Freddy. Even with the loosest parameters of what "art" is, this ain't it. This is the modern equivalent of a "for a good time, call xxx-xxxx" message scrawled on a bathroom wall.
  • I'll take ideas that will never see the light of day for 200, Trebek.
  • In Australia I'd be paying 20 cents to send a message with my mobile. So I can see an ad? I get ads for free on the Internet!
  • You read the Wired story!
    You perused the slashdot comments!
    Now buy this ...thing... that's, well, see, you give me some money because I, uh,

    never mind.
  • Hyperlinks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @03:17AM (#12052803) Homepage
    Well that's silly. Those aren't hyperlinks. They're just printed URLs that happen to have been written by hand. This is about as innovative as a cuecat, and isn't at all new-- the one time I was in Cleveland, like four years ago, I could see from the rail system that someone or other had written out the full URL to the account for their hip hop group on the backside of a tunnel support, facing where the trains go by.

    If you want ACTUAL examples of semantic-web style hyperlinking in Graffiti, go to Houston. I'm still some of it is still there.

    A few years ago, I think over the summer, someone went and drew a whole bunch of graffiti in the area around Rice University. At least, that was where most of it that I saw was. All of the graffiti was the exact same thing; a little logo saying "GONE" in stylized cursive. The E in "GONE" would always trail off into a little arrow.

    The arrow pointed to the location of the next "GONE" logo.

    These were scattered, and the proximity varied. Some of them were quite a ways from each other, some of them seemed to be following a road, some didn't. The only one I remember the specific location of was that there was one on this electrical transformer box on the Main Street side of Rice. But if you found one of these and followed the arrows, it would pick out for you this meandering path through south Houston.

    I have no idea where the path lead.
    • Haha, yeah, THE MIGHTY IGLOO CREW! I got a real laugh the first time I saw it. And those were first put up quite a while ago, before web culture starting cracking into the mainstream like it has today.
  • by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @03:31AM (#12052838) Journal
    It seems you can see all/some/? images without sending email by going to:[word]. jp g

    For example, slashdot [].
  • by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @04:14AM (#12052941) Journal has some serious bugs in it's code and I'd be surprised if it didn't go down after getting hit by Slashdot and have all the uploaded images get wiped. Some I've noticed:

    Some words just don't work and images get shown as broken links; often the upload wouldn't take.

    In process of uploading an image, if you hit your Back button at the Accept/Reject screen, it locks the word as if it were already used when it's not.

    Random "division by zero" PHP errors.

    More random PHP errors of just about every flavor.

    Some email arrives with such mangled headers that Yahoo Mail can't even open the message, shows it as garbage.

    Slashdot's entry [] is too small to read easily (it says: "Hrumph, Slashdot. How do they always know?" then on the screen: "-5 Troll").

    Of course this could all be due to the server melting, but still :)
  • by kiddailey ( 165202 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @04:21AM (#12052956) Homepage

    So let me get this straight -- you send a text message to an e-mail address from your phone and a server somewhere sends you some crap, and also...
    • logs your phone number

    • matches your number with a record in a database the company bought from your cell phone provider

    • matches your personal information with your shopping habits from another database

    • begins sending you spam text messages and adds your number to every telephone solicitor's address book on the planet.

    Sorry, but no thanks.
  • Tinyurl (Score:3, Informative)

    by JaF893 ( 745419 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @06:51AM (#12053367) Journal
    This is stupid - have people not heard of Tiny URL []?

    It even supports mailto: [] as well as standard http links []. I think using tinyurl to directly link to your content is better than having to send an email to some crappy site and then get a link to the content.
  • At least they didn't call it graffiticasting :)

  • I will suffer much indignity in my next life for this act.
  • by clambake ( 37702 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:02AM (#12053657) Homepage
    So cell phones in Japan can take pictures of these little encoded diagrams. They are just blocks of black and white (new ones in color coming out this month) and when you take a picture of it, the phone processes the picture into a hyperlink and goes to the corresponding website. It shouldn't be too complex to get ACTUAL graphiti on the walls that you can take a picture of that will translate into websites (based on thier colors, some other image processing, etc.
  • Probably not the first to say this, but who the hell would get a tattoo of a URL?

    Three years later, "Hey, man, your tat 404'd".
  • This has to be one of the more ignorant ideas I've heard of in some time. Technically any (and I mean any) word written on anything (including printed in books, and on this website) can be treated by Grafedia in this manner. Indeed, phrases that are printed everywhere (like "STOP", and "NO PARKING") and some that are infrequently scribbled (like "IDIOCY")

    What they've "invented" is a online dictionary lookup that gives a small amount of your money to the cell phone companies (and possibly Grafedia as well
  • Doing it by typing in something isn't much different from a URL, not too cool....

    Now if someone came up with an incredibly redundant barcode that I could use a cameraphone to snap a pic of. Later on email/sms that photo, where it is processed, link identified, and content returned... it would be equally useless, but a lot cooler!

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.