(Trailer) from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

Imagine data that stores digital, virtual graffiti tags as easily as you store text. Imagine, then, the power to record and playback tags at different scales, using everything from projection mapping to robotics. Graffiti Markup Language is in ongoing development, but it’s already accomplishing those aims.


Graffiti Markup Language (.gml) is a universal, XML based, open file format designed to store graffiti motion data (x and y coordinates and time). The format is designed to maximize readability and ease of implementation, even for hobbyist programmers, artists and graffiti writers. Popular applications currently implementing GML include Graffiti Analysis and EyeWriter. Beyond storing data, a main goal of GML is to spark interest surrounding the importance (and fun) of open data and introduce open source collaborations to new communities. GML is intended to be a simple bridge between ink and code, promoting collaborations between graffiti writers and hackers. GML is today’s new digital standard for tomorrow’s vandals.

EyeWriter is a particularly compelling example of what this is all about, and why it’s more than just “because-we-can” technological gimmickry. That project allows a tag artist to continue to work even when he is only able to have physical use of his eyes as physical interaction. And that’s really what all of this is about: representing art in newly open, portable ways allows us to more easily exchange ideas, and extend making beyond the boundaries of our physical beings and limitations.

I’ve been meaning to talk about GML for some time – and, indeed, there’s plenty more to say – but it’s timely introducing it now, as some of its creators are working on extending the idea from visual tags to audio scratch performance. We cover that today on our sister site, Music:
Proposal: A Markup Language for Turntable Scratch Performance; Open Call