Leaving a Mark: Onsite – On Surface – Online

Karlsruhe/online, 8-9 Dec 23

A visual marking of a territory or an event, messages left indicating “this is my hand”, “this is my name”, “this is how far I got” can be found throughout the millennia and in a variety of cultures. The contexts vary as well as the means for the inscriptions. They can be sharp slate pencils leaving tiny comments on wall paintings, aerosol sprays covering whole trains or typed messages in computer code. In most cases, graphein/graffiare happens manually, be it in direct contact with the substrate, at a close distance, or remote with a keyboard. Each time it is a situated practice, reacting to an existing cultural setting, often emphasizing the site specificity, imagining audiences. These communicative gestures are embedded in larger cultural settings from which they draw their strength, motivation, legitimacy, virtuosity or subversive power. And to which they contribute a further layer of signification. They may allow glances into long forgotten past practices. They may open the eyes and empower for alternative channels of messaging.
In this workshop we focus on what can be learnt from processes of markings for which we find arguments to label them ‘graffiti’. As the backdrops for such cultural practices are vastly diverse, we encourage the presenters not to take the term for granted, but to make explicit in their talk what theory and concept of graffiti they build on. This can help finding the right points of contact in the discussion even when phenomena diverge considerably.
Three research groups meet with special guests and discuss their perspectives on graffiti.
Graff-IT investigates the presence of graffiti in Italy, from the 7th-16th century, and aims to develop a new interdisciplinary approach to the study of medieval and Renaissance graffiti as a historical source. The actions of writing under investigation have an extemporaneous and personal character. They are not commissioned but are acts beyond any control from the elites and authorities. As such, these written documents are exceptional and valuable complements to official writings.
(Prof. Dr. Carlo Tedeschi, palaeontology, Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti Pescara)
INDIGO aims at the basis to systematically document, disseminate and analyse almost 13 km of uninterrupted graffiti along Vienna’s Danube Canal in the next decade. Graffiti community engagement and regular photo visits allow INDIGO to build a spatially, spectrally, and temporally accurate record of most (il)legal sprayings, engravings, and other personal expressions on the Canal’s public urban surfaces.
(Prof. Dr. Geert Verhoeven, archaeology, Universities of Ghent and Vienna and Prof. Dr. Norbert Pfeifer, geodesy and geoinformation, Technical University Vienna)
COSE deals with programmed internet art and seeks to reveal their inner workings, as well as their embeddedness in the various niches of the World Wide Web. A close inspection on artistic and activist practices that might be withdrawn from view due to different reasons is deemed necessary for providing analytical instruments and a general understanding of our media-technological condition. Here, graffiti practices may shed light onto loopholes in systems by exploiting them creatively.
(Prof. Dr. Inge Hinterwaldner, art history, KIT Karlsruhe)
when: December 8-9, 2023
where: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Englerstr. 7, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany, bldg. 20.40, Grüne Grotte
to join the conference online, please announce your interest until December 6, 2023: inge.hinterwaldner∂kit.edu


December 8, 2023
09:30 welcome coffee
10:00 Introduction
Inge Hinterwaldner (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology / IKB)
10.15 Graffiti as Performative Signs (Middle and Early Modern Ages)
Carlo Tedeschi (Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti Pescara / DiLASS):
11:00 'Jeux de lettres' of an itinerant writer. Function and symbolic aspects of graffiti between the Middle and the Early Modern Ages
Simone Allegria & Pier Paolo Trevisi (Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti Pescara / DiLASS)
11:45 coffee break
12:00 Graffiti in Prison. Some examples from Early Modern Italy
Marco Albertoni & Giuseppe Mrozek Eliszezynski (Università degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti Pescara / DiLASS)
12:45 lunch break
14:00 Excursion with photogrammetry demonstration
Benjamin Wild (Technical University Vienna / GEO)
15:15 INDIGO and the Graffito: Navigating Definitions and Digital Representations
Jona Schlegel (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute / LBI ArchPro)
15:45 Street Walls to Digital Archives: Preserving? Cultural? Heritage?
Massimiliano Carloni (Austrian Academy of Sciences / ACDH-CH)
16:15 Engineering meets graffiti: How can photogrammetry digitally safeguard the ephemeral?
Benjamin Wild (Technical University Vienna / GEO)
16:45 coffee break
17:15 Where’s my spray? Virtual workshop of graffiti in VR Chat
Virtualilly (independent) / Mayte Gomez Molina (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology / IKB)
December 9, 2023
10:00 welcome coffee
10:15 Presentation of Benjamin Wild’s photogrammetry results
10:45 Tag the lens – artistic browser extensions as graffiti
Daniela Hönigsberg (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology / IKB)
11:30 coffee break
11:45 Taming the Wild – The Legal Corset for Graffiti (Art)
Thomas Dreier (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology / ZAR)
12:30 Private systems, public mischief
Emma Dickson (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology / IKB)
13:15 final discussion / wrap up