Graffiti is a word that most of us will understand – even if we do not like to see graffiti. The word has ancient origins in the Latin words graffio – meaning scratch – giving rise to graffiti in the sense of incised inscriptions. Its use in modern times became associated with illegal markings being placed secretly on public surfaces (often, but not necessarily, spray-painted onto walls) for all to see. Originally seen as an anti-social nuisance, many today view and use graffiti as an art form.

Digital, on the other hand has become one of those daily buzz words that do not have any real, individual meaning in so much as we regularly use them but rely on the context of that usage to give meaning to the word. At root, the word relates to our fingers – i.e. our digits – but digital graffiti can hardly be the act of dipping our fingers in paint and wiping it off onto a wall. Maybe it comes out of the movement away from having round faced clocks and watches in favour of ones that display the time in lit up numbers the “digital watch” but; this also sounds unlikely when linked to graffiti.

More to the point in this instance would be the way in which computers function by relating all input to just two numbers – zero (0) and one (1) and, since we used to count on our fingers, numbers can be called digits and it followed that the term digital become often used in matters relating to computers. This means that we should understand digital graffiti to be graffiti that is generated inside a computerized device.

Thus, it follows that a interactive digital graffiti wall involves computer generated images and/or words that can be displayed in way so as to be visible to a number of on-lookers. The display could be on large monitor type screens or it may be projected onto any surface – projection is particularly effective when laser light is used. As with most “things digital”, the technology quickly moves out of the development laboratory and into the public realm to a point where it becomes readily available. Digital graffiti equipment is now available for purchase or it can be hired to provide an entertaining interactive experience for the guests at your next party or function.

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