Class 01


Brief overview of class:
Spray paint and markers
– graffiti as performance art rather than visual art.

What we will be doing this semester:
Documentation: Open our eyes and our cameras to what is going on around us.
Creation: This class is about making stuff.
Publication: How to use the street and the web to spread our ideas and projects outside the wall of Parsons.

What we won’t be doing:
Writing graffiti: This course is not the place to learn how to become a “graffiti writer”. Graffiti writing is a craft for the extremely dedicated and is something that is learned from years of practice and apprenticeship rather than collegiate study. We will, however, study the written form, love the written form, and learn from the tricks and techniques developed over the 30+ year course of its history.

How To Succeed In This Class::
– Study the city for repeating elements and interesting systems that can be hacked.
– When in doubt create projects that make your friends laugh…. if they aren’t laughing chances are your project is boring.
– Think about the documentation before you begin.
– Get used to prototyping ideas quickly.
– Learn to be “lazy like a fox”.

Go over course website:

Overview of how we will be thinking and talking about “graffiti” and “technology” (presentation) / (related slides here)

How To Become A Hacker, by Eric S. Raymond

Graffiti, Street Art, Pranksterism & Systems (presentation)
– Graffiti Writing (REVS, ESPO, KATSU, etc)
– Pranksterism (Remi Gaillard, Improv Everywhere, etc)
– Street Art (Jenkins, Darius and Downey, etc)


Overview of my path in Urban Hacking (presentation).

ESPO & Marc Surface

Select a new name.
– Student photos (w/ full name, email address and graffiti name)

Importance of documentation:
– Introduction of the role of photography for the course.
– Who has digital cameras who needs them?

Pocket School:
The Pocket School is a new form of American documentary cinema – primary filming is done exclusively on small, consumer-grade digital cameras. The ubiquitous pocket camera increases the likelihood of capturing informal everyday moments that would otherwise be missed. Ideally, filmographers of the Pocket School should be able to begin filming in less the 10 seconds at all times. For examples of this method of working, see the Graffiti Research Lab.

Introduction of the photo sharing site:
– Who are we photographing?
– Why?
– Where?
– What is effective what is not?

How to use FTP to upload photos to the course photo repository (in class tutorial)
– create one directory per student using new names

Quick walk around the block looking at systems


Make accounts on course blog.
– Go over details of creating a post (including images).

Stickers (presentation) – Slides

Example stickers projects of mine:
Postal Labels Against Bush
Intellectual Property Donor
Available Online For Free

Stickers historically have been a starting point in a healthy graffiti career. They can be created in the privacy of the home and put up quickly. In fitting with graffiti tradition our first project will revolve around the sticker.

Create a sticker designed to be a part of the urban environment. Use your knowledge of existing stickers to break from the norms and traditions of what is currently adhered to newspaper boxes and sign posts. Concentrate not on stylistic or design issues but in thinking about how the placement of a sticker can alter (hack) an existing urban element, and change it into something entirely different. Experiment and be playful with materials, technology, production methods, and placement. In this project, as in all the projects this semester, successful pieces will creatively identify and exploit existing elements and systems in the city. Your creation should fit in rather than simply stick on. Any materials can be used as long as the method of attachment is adhesive in nature.

Example stickers projects from students:
Printable Cold Sores


  • Roll pocket school from now until the end of the semester. Don’t leave home without it.
  • Upload at least 10 photos of graffiti, street art and urban hackery from your daily travels, and upload them to your directory on the class photo page.
  • Come to class prepared to present 3 different sticker ideas. Each idea should be different, and be addressing a different and unique urban system. Concepts will be presented in sketch form (crude photoshop mock up and/or pencil sketches are fine). Upload these three images into a single blog post on the course website. You will be presenting from the website, so if youre images are not uploaded to the course blog then they will be considered incomplete.

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