Building a better...umm...taggertrap?

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Almost everything I blog about lately comes to me from Metafilter, and this is no exception. Jenny will have far more to say about this than I, but apparently there's a company in San Diego (Escondido?) that has created a "graffiti alarm," designed to identify and respond to the sound of an aerosol can. Cleverly enough, it's called Taggertrap. How sad do both of these people sound?

"I really don't like graffiti, and I liked the idea of assisting law enforcement," said George Lerg, the company's president.

San Diego Police Officer Sonya Ollison, who works on the department's graffiti detail, said, "This is definitely going to be a beneficial tool."

Wow. Super. According to Ollison, who ought to know, I suppose, "graffiti causes about $8 billion in damage a year." I'm sorry, Jenny, I know that my first reaction to this should be to interrogate the assumption that graffiti = damage, but 8 billion dollars?!?! The amazing thing to me is that this has to be calculated not in terms of actual property damage (which I would guess is minimal) but rather in terms of "abatement" and "removal." In other words, it's probably the assumption itself that graffiti is damage that is costing us 8 billion dollars, yes?


I don't like to toot my own horn (oh wait, i *DO*), but I talked about this way back in November on my blog: Metafilter is behind the times.

But, yes, that figure is obviously very troubled. If a city makes its goal that TOTAL removal of any and all graffiti, then obviously it's going to be costly. However, I am sad whenever I think about a world w/o graffiti or tagging. It shows an impverished understanding of what tags are, what graffiti is, etc. There's no recognition of tagging's history, art, complexity, etc. Tagging is all reduced to gang activity, with no understanding that there's something very interesting happening there. A city's tags reflect an underlife happening (paradoxically) on the very surface of the city.

Cities would rather paint over graffiti so that we're all looking at neutral colored walls. Taggers/writers/graff artists come along and put some color onto those neutral, flat, boring sites. They make it *strange*.

So forget the figure. The anti-graff movement hates color, hates excess intensity of any kind. There's money in maintaining banality in everyday life. F* them.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on March 16, 2004 1:34 AM.

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