Friday, September 24, 2004

Whatever happened to Fist?

Graffiti has a long history dating back, as far as I know, to comments carved into the paving slabs of Ephesus and the Great Wall of China. The Silk Route exhibition at the British Library also showed interesting 'textual litter' in various languages uncovered by nineteenth and twentieth century archeologists. But the spraycan presented a new technology for unofficial urban literacy and marked a new departure in writing. Fist decorated bridges, billboards and buildings with his distinctive tag until the police caught up with him sometime in the 1990s. He was given a gaol sentence for his labours. What happened to Fist? His spirit lives on.

We're now witnessing the emergence of URL graffiti, where affinity groups and activists use this technique of subvertisement to direct the newly literate to their websites. But what would screen-based graffiti look like? Or could this be a way of describing some writing in the blogosphere?

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