To the Letter
(Graffiti-Taxonomy.com) I have in my head a series of rules that help me to discern good graffiti from bad graffiti. It could be argued that all graffiti is destructive—unless you’re legally contracted to paint that wall, you shouldn’t be painting it—but within those black-and-white legalities, there’s a fair amount of artistic twilight. The same factors that allow graffiti to ruin a pretty wall also allow it to transform an ugly one: the placement of the graffiti, the size of it relative to its surroundings (huge isn’t always better), and naturally, the skill of the artist. Graffiti Taxonomy, Evan Roth’s study of Parisian graffiti, ignores those first two factors and concentrates on the third. Roth photographed some 2,400 tags around Paris and presents the best of them on this simple but elegant site, sorted by the 10 most commonly found letters used in Parisian graffiti (A, E, I, K, N, O, R, S, T and U). The result is a graceful moving collage that any art museum in the world would be happy to have projected on its walls. “This project stems from a love and respect for tags and bombing,” Roth writes, and quickly acknowledges the rule he broke to make Graffiti Taxonomy: “To all the writers who’s (sic) work I photographed for the project I ask for forgiveness in the absence of the ability to ask permission.”
The Dark Half
(ScandyBars.tumblr.com) “Like a blog in a candy store,” declares the subhead of ScandyBars, a Tumblr site featuring high-resolution scans of popular candy bars cut in half. On its face, this may not sound like a terribly interesting idea—candy bars? Seriously?—but in practice, it’s a fascinating and, yes, appetizing notion. Who knew that cross-sections of Pretzel M&Ms could resemble electrons, or that the center of a Whatchamacallit truly lives up to its name? ScandyBars is a perfect example of what the Web does best: It presents you with information you never knew you needed.
Writing on a Dot
(DailyDot.com) The Daily Dot would like you to know that it isn’t a website. True, it occupies space on the Web, and it has links and embeds and hashtags; and yet The Daily Dot, according to its co-founder and CEO Nicholas White, is a newspaper. “The Daily Dot is the hometown newspaper of the World Wide Web,” says White. “It is the paper of record of the digital community … tirelessly dedicated to the truth.” I’ve only begun following the Dot so I can’t speak to its accuracy, but I can confirm that it’s an enjoyable read. It truly is a community newspaper, with the wide-eyed optimism that The Daily Beast and the Huffington Post have lost (or never had to begin with). Unfortunately, it lacks depth in its coverage and commentary, but that’s something a publication builds over time (or, in the case of HuffPo, boosted from other sources). I’ll follow The Daily Dot until they begin carrying Family Circus on their funny page. Then it’s over.