Graffiti Markup Language

First thing first, I think I need to note that this post is actually way cooler and less cheesy than it will seem at first, it just takes some time for the awesomeness to sink in.

For years, people have loved the projects that Graffiti Research Labs and F.A.T. have done. GRL’s is probably best known their Laser Tagging device:

And of course there was The EyeWriter Project for Tempt.

Then at Nuart, I saw Graffiti Analysis.

All interesting experiments, but not really anything that could be used by the average person. Well know that’s changed with Graffiti Markup Language (GML). GML is a file type that can store information about graffiti tags. And now you can create your own applications using GML files and GRL and F.A.T. have already released a number of applications to the public.

This film explains this a bit:

GML = Graffiti Markup Language from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

GML files are stored on, where you can see hundreds of digital tags. Those tags can be created on the iPhone with two applications, Fat Tag: Katsu Edition and Graffiti Analysis (a slightly simplified version of the Graffiti Analysis application which is now available for download for your computer). I’ve tried out both apps, and they are pretty cool, but essentially it’s just a fun way to draw on your iPhone.

I realize this probably isn’t the clearest explanation of GML or the applications you can use it with, but that’s in part because the possibilities are pretty endless. As silly as the whole thing sounds, just try out some of the applications and play around on before you rush to judgment (as I originally did, almost laughing the whole thing off).

The EyeWriter project

Graffiti is more than just pointless vandalism, and if you ever needed proof of that, it has arrived. The EyeWriter, a project put together with help from Graffiti Research Lab and a variety of other awesome sources, is helping people with ALS create visual art. Using a combination of GRL’s Mobile Broadcast Unit (the thing that lets them project live graffiti on large buildings) and a specially modified pair of eyeglasses, the EyeWriter allows people to draw with their eyes. Their first tester, TEMPT, is a graffiti writer who is completely paralyzed except for his eyes.

The result of all their labor can finally be seen, as Tempt writes his first tag in years:

TEMPT + EYEWRITER August 12, 2009 from james powderly on Vimeo.

Check out more on F.A.T.’s website