Thursday, November 19, 2009

Digital Graffiti

I've often wondered why people through the ages, from cultures all around the world, have found it compelling to write their names on buildings, trees, rock walls and other public spaces. This isn't a new phenomena to be certain.

I've witnessed Maori graffiti in New Zealand and Native American carvings estimated to be nearly a thousand years old just minutes from my home. Other examples show up in Mulka's Cave in Hyden, Western Australia and we've all heard of France's famous Lascaux.

What is the driving force that compels mankind to strive for a lasting legacy; to carve expressions of puppy-love into the bark of the biggest beech tree? In many instances –especially in times past– I'm sure these things were done to stake a territorial claim not unlike the Vogelkop bower bird of New Guinea, which builds a most beautiful structure to make its presence known. Other marks have undoubtedly been made out of a desire for self-expression of a more artistic nature or for documentary purposes as well.

There is a beautiful granitic outcrop about fifteen minutes from where I now sit that has been painted again and again by visitors. The vandals come in the late hours and cast out their undying affections like multi-colored nets across the surface of the rock. In spite of this, the view is still amazing but I can't help but feel that some of the magic has been robbed away.
As I write, I am struck by the thought that maybe even this blog is a sort of digital graffiti. Possibly my own way of saying "Hello world, here are my thoughts, don't forget me when I'm gone." We are funny creatures indeed.

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