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Graffiti Archaeology

Layered excavation of the visual urban landscape

“The whole spectacle of Graffiti Archaeology has a kind of protozoan beauty about it...”
New York Times

Cassidy Curtis' Graffiti Archaeology project is a timelapse collage, made of photos of San Francisco graffiti taken by many different photographers from 1998 to the present. We built the framework that lets viewers explore the contested space of this visual urban landscape over time.

A view of the project’s time-based interface.

“Whether you see graffiti as street art or a nuisance, this interactive exhibit of images taken in various parts of San Francisco over the years is incredibly well-constructed. A number of photographers and some very impressive Flash and Photoshop work have combined here to show how that city’s graffiti artists and civic wall-cleanup crews have sparred over the years on twelve public surfaces. The navigation tools turn what could have been a slide show into a fascinating excavation.”
USA Today

From the New York Times' review of the site.

“Anyone who’s looked at all those peeling layers of paint has wondered what’s underneath. And they’ve thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of slide show to show us this space over time?’” said Susan Farrell, founder of the pioneering spray-paint site Art Crimes, which serves up more than 6 GB of street art a day. “But this is the first time it’s been done in any kind of methodical way before.”
Wired News

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