Stencil graffiti website goes semantic

Screenshot from a first step towards releasing the information on my stencil graffiti website as Linked Open Data, I have now created XHTML+RDFa files for all graffiti. They can be found in the directory, or by clicking on the RDFa icon in each entry. These files contain only two pieces of information so far (not counting ID and licence): place and date. Now that they have been normalised (to the W3C Basic Geo and Dublin Core vocabulary, respectively) and cast in standard RDFa syntax, it should be easy to query and analyse this data, and to re-use it in mashups.

I did a short presentation on this conversion recently, the slides of which can be found on SlideShare (in German). The next steps are obvious: there is still a lot of information on the website that could be normalised, expressed in RDFa, and added to the XHTML files. Once I’ve got round to that I’ll post about it. As a good resource for getting started with Linked Open Data, I recommend Ed Summers’s recent paper “Linking Things on the Web: A Pragmatic Examination of Linked Data for Libraries, Archives and Museums”.

Stencil graffiti website: the biggest and best update yet

stencilled paste-up advocating organ donationOnce again it’s been a while since I last updated my website, Schablonengraffiti in Freiburg-Mittelwiehre. There are some noteable things about yesterday’s update:

  • There are now over 200 stencil graffiti (i.e. pictures + metadata) documented on the website – 203 to be precise. For the record, no. 200 is a heart near the Max Planck Institute.
  • This piece is also part of a larger, multi-medial series advocating organ donation. It consists of several stencil graffiti showing hearts and lungs (nos. 182185, 199200, plus more instances of these motifs on Sedanstraße which I haven’t photographed yet), a spray-painted slogan (which you can see on the picture of no. 185), and stencilled paste-ups (pictured here but not included on the website).
  • There is another three-coloured piece now, “Lausbuben” (nos. 188190, though no. 190 is only two-coloured). I guess it refers to a sprayer crew of the same name. (The first three-coloured piece in Mittelwiehre, at least since I started the website, would be no. 174 with three different shades of grey.)
  • I’ve discovered two more instances (nos. 192193) of the “Mikey Wilson” piece (no. 168), and on these newly found graffiti the words “I HATE NAZIS” are legible. I hadn’t been able to discern the writing on no. 168 before, so the anti-fascist connotation had escaped me completely.

I hope to get round to updating the website more frequently in the future, and I also have some exciting changes to the data structure in mind – more about that in a later post.

Stencil graffiti website updated

taken from have just updated my website, Schablonengraffiti in Freiburg-Mittelwiehre [stencil graffiti in Freiburg-Mittelwiehre], adding 11 new pieces, including the iconic lion’s head pictured here. While doing so, I realised it has been almost a year since the previous update (July 2011), due to my less and less frequent visits to Freiburg. Although graffiti in this part of Freiburg have quite long runs on average, many pieces must have been sprayed and buffed between this website update and the last. Does that mean the website has missed its aim to record all stencil graffiti activity in Mittelwiehre? Not quite. It still works well as an extensive and thus representative sample of the totality of stencil graffiti pieces in the city district. This is a major difference to most other street art websites that arbitrarily select only the “best” pieces. The former, broader approach is valuable – and even necessary – for a street art history that doesn’t focus on the big names. Maybe one day, the data gathered on Schablonengraffiti in Freiburg-Mittelwiehre will prove useful for graffiti studies. In the meantime, enjoy the lions, the Stewie Griffins (from Family Guy), Mikey Wilson (a.k.a. the middle finger kid), the hip hop monkey