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Statistical Analysis of U of Chicago Graffiti 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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Statistical Analysis of U of Chicago Graffiti

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  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @03:14AM (#31058664) Journal

    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:License? (Score:5, Informative)

    by theheadlessrabbit ( 1022587 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @05:06AM (#31059022) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08, 2010 @10:38AM (#31060372)

    Quinn calls it a "pseudo-scientific" analysis on her blog and adds "disclaimers for the pedantic." '

  • Re:License? (Score:3, Informative)

    by supercrisp ( 936036 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @11:08AM (#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.

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