GML: Graffiti Markup Language


[Indian Well petroglyphs - detail / 2001 / photo: tmoon]

According to Wikipedia, Writing is "the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols." Writing has been the subject of innumerable studies because of its mesmerizing, transcendent permanence in time and space. The recent data visualization craze and advances in motion tracking technologies have led to the creation of digital, aesthetically appealing representations of language.  I have always had issues with one aspect of these visualization tools: their products are ephemeral, they appear and disappear like the shadows of human beings or the mathematical results of a real-time computation, dissolving the crucial aspect of writing, their permanence. Possibly the team at F.A.T. Lab shared the same feeling. Their latest work #000000book is an open repository for sharing and archiving motion captured graffiti tags. Tags are saved as digital text files known as GML (Graffiti Markup Language), which can be captured through freely available software such as Graffiti Analysis (marker), DustTag (iPhone), EyeWriter (eye movement) and Laser Tagging (laser).

This research shows an incredible inner potential for further investigations in human computer interaction as well as an unexpected, delicate equilibrium among art, technology and humanity. The archive is completely open, you are free to download and upload GML files while the research team encourage programmers to create new applications and visualizations.