Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Street logos...

Earlier, I posted about John Geraci's Grafedia, a fascinating mobile experiment that turns graffiti tags into mobile links. "Click" on the piece of graffiti and you get more info on your mobile phone. The blending of real space with mobile information space is a very exciting topic. I have felt for a long time that once these connections start taking root in our mobile experience, then we have entered the real "3G era" (more on that topic later).

I contacted John to tell him how excited I was by his project. He was curious to know about how to monetize the idea. (And I thought it was art for art's sake :)

Digging deeper into this topic, I purchased the fantastic book "Street Logos" by Tristan Manco, who's based not that far from me in Bristol, UK. He has his own photo-blog.

Firstly, the book is an absolutely wonderful collection of graffiti art. Unlike other books on the topic, Tristan has documented a very diverse set of styles and concepts. These are not only visually stimulating, but intellectually. Some of the concepts are quite intriguing.

The book is a sequence of collections from around the world and arranged according to artist. Usefully, the website for the book provides links to the artists' online galleries, which are a very stimulating extension to the experience of reading book.

Some of the graffiti work definitely inspired connections with mobilisation. I am attracted to the idea of marking meeting places with graffiti as a kind of "war chalking" tag. However, instead of marking open WiFi access, the points would mark virtual meeting places. At each tag, users could "log in" and download, or exchange, information.

What really excited me were some of the graffiti styles and concepts that seemed to lend themselves to this idea. For example, the floor-based renderings of a compass by L'Atlas would make excellent visual markers for meeting places and allow directional information to be included, perhaps to the whereabouts of the next tag. This would blend well with the location-based potential of modern mobiles.

Other tag schemes had a very distinct style that in my opinion seemed to allow for a socially acceptable, or ascetically possible, use of graffiti for mobile communities. The Space Invader invasion is particularly interesting in this regard. Interestingly, the website contains invasion maps. This reminded me of war chalking maps, but is representative of the location theme that is already strong in this particular graffiti movement.

I shall come back to this topic with some possible ideas for mobile...stay tuned (get the newsfeed for my site - no space invaders included!!)

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