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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 Adolf Hitroll ( 562418 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:39AM (#31058550) Homepage Journal

    It's still illegal and often makes local people unhappy.

    I know there's banksy but he's one in a billion.

  • License? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lorens ( 597774 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:49AM (#31058592) Journal

    Who is this researcher to relicense their works of art? Just because they can't complain!

  • by uvajed_ekil ( 914487 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @03:24AM (#31058706)
    I doubt any widely-relevant conclusions at all can be drawn from this analysis. It is somewhat interesting, but the hundreds of samples (which is not really that many) are probably created by a mere handful of individuals, most all of whom belong to a particular group - male undergraduate students, 18-24, residing in or near a certain Chicago neighborhood. So certainly there is no way to apply any findings to any larger group. A fun exercise for statistics nerds, perhaps, but of little scientific value.
  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Monday February 08, 2010 @03:36AM (#31058750) Homepage Journal
    That's a lot like our library where we have this gem, written in pencil, using different fonts and sizes, on a concrete pillar:

    Structural concrete
    Structural concrete
    Structural concrete

    I like to think of graffiti as being real-life anonymous troll posts, especially when others cross them out an/or respond to them.

  • Re:License? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by totally bogus dude ( 1040246 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @04:21AM (#31058880)

    You can use the same logic to say that having laws against murder and rape is equally futile, because you can't physically prevent people from doing whatever they want to do without massively encroaching on their basic rights. In fact, the final conclusion of such logic is that every single law that exists is pointless because it contravenes the laws of nature, and therefore is unenforceable. Of course every law is about stopping people from doing things they're physically capable of doing. That's kind of the whole point. Why would you make legislation mandating the laws of nature / laws of physics be obeyed?

    This kind of "information is different and therefore laws to control it are stupid" thinking is therefore not in itself a compelling argument for why laws should be changed/scrapped and the idea of "intellectual property" should be completely rethought.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08, 2010 @05:38AM (#31059108)

    There is no line between vandalism and art, because they're not disjunct. They're orthogonal concepts. Vandalism can be art. But even when it is art, vandalism is still a crime. It boils down to two separate questions: What is art? What is vandalism? All four combinations (art and vandalism, art and not vandalism, not art and not vandalism, vandalism and not art) exist.

  • by ericvids ( 227598 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @06:46AM (#31059328)

    This may be the BEST counterargument ever to "all information should be free". Bravo!

    However, while I genuinely want to mod you up, I do believe that CURRENT laws to control information are stupid. Similar to how laws can sometimes be unfairly and maliciously used to allow known murderers to remain innocent and walk freely, many patents and copyrights are unfairly and maliciously used to prevent people from contributing to the greater good of humanity. Patents in particular are a minefield -- something's clearly wrong with a system that encourages trolls to cripple the true innovators.

    Back to the topic, I believe what the researcher did, copyrighting her photographs, is all right, regardless of whether she released it under Creative Commons. I don't believe she was copyrighting the actual message on the graffiti anyway, just the expression of it on photograph. (Of course properly the copyright should be attributed to both HER and whoever made the graffiti, but then I would suppose THAT's public domain since the original author didn't stake a claim to it...)

  • by k2r ( 255754 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @07:03AM (#31059408)

    I don't agree.
    From a judicial POV some act may be vandalism / destructive act to property without the owner agreeing.
    From an artistic POV the same act may still be art.

    Of course "doing art" so someones property without agreement is a problem.
    However, the "lines" are not so easily spotted: What about chalking on the pavement or laser-projections on a publicly owned building?

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @08:12AM (#31059594) Homepage

    "and the false need of some people, to control that information."

      What a load of reactionary BS. People control information for a number of reasons but copyright is there so the people who created the work - you know , the ones who spent months or years creating a piece of music or a book (surprise! They don't just magic themselves into existence!) - can earn some money from their efforts before ungrateful and clueless morons like you think you're entitled to it for free just because you can copy it easily.

    Grow up!

  • by imakemusic ( 1164993 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:05AM (#31059762)

    Often the line is drawn by the officials whose job it is to remove graffiti. Someone commissioned a graffiti artist to paint a piece on their shop front. The council then removed the piece from his property without his permission or even his knowledge for no real reason other than being over-zealous.

    Or there's the Banksy piece that was done in the centre of town which went to a public vote on whether or not to remove it. The city voted to keep it.

    Remember - not all graffiti is tagging and vandalism.

  • by miro2 ( 222748 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @09:23AM (#31059836)

    Actually, they are orthogonal categories. Some things are art, some are vandalism, some are neither, and some are both.

  • Re:Banksy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omestes ( 471991 ) <omestes@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday February 08, 2010 @12:25PM (#31061410) Homepage Journal

    Can you really "deface" graffiti? Isn't graffiti just defacement (vandalism) itself, so how can one really deface it? If this Banksy person had permission from the property owners, then his piece isn't graffiti. If he didn't secure their permission, then he should be hunted down and thrown in jail.

    Don't mean to sound overly troll-ish, but I'm getting sick of people glorifying graffiti.

  • What a waste (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gx5000 ( 863863 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @01:59PM (#31062536)
    Is this considered trendy ? Of scientific merit ? How much money went into this nonsense ?? We still don't have cures for the worst of our ills but we'll study pot modern cave paintings ?
  • by O('_')O_Bush ( 1162487 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @02:02PM (#31062560)
    "while simultaneously wondering why none of them are desperate enough to actually ask you out..."

    That's because she's married you fool.


    What's really sad is that you took the time to troll this slashdot article without even googling her name.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @04:16PM (#31064236)

    "and no, hard work doesn't entitle you to get money"

    Yes it does if you decide to sell your work instead of giving it away.

    No it doesn't. No matter how hard you work, you might get nothing.

    "even if you persist for years; and it most certainly doesn't entitle you to enforce rules designed to make you money on others."

    What is this , Communism 101?

    No, Capitalism 101. You might work hard, you might still fail to make any money. If you fail, you should think of some more efficient way of spending your effort, rather than insisting that the government should protect your business model from the realities (such as "information is easy to copy").

    "Then you wouldn't have to try to control other people"

    Nothing to do with controlling. If you want the work pay for it. Don't expect to get it for free if its not being given away free. And don't even start to bleat about your rights since you obviously have no idea what rights are.

    Except that it is being given away for free, on Pirate Bay for example. That's why I can get it for free. You and the rest of copyright people are trying to prevent this by imposing control over those people's actions who are giving it away for free.

    And which "government monopoly" would this be? Or are we heading off into conspiracy theory here?


    Hardly. You're a cookie cutter lefty and sadly typical of the type. Mind you , you probably didn't even think your post up - you probably just copied it.

    Do you even know what "left" and "right" mean in politics? Or did you just add them to your post to conjure up some McCarty-era boogeyman?

About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends. -- Herbert Hoover