Graffiti Research Lab

Graffiti Research Lab

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Updated Aug 11, 2015 at 03:36AM EDT by Brad.

Added Apr 15, 2015 at 01:17PM EDT by Ari Spool.

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Graffiti Research Lab is the collaborative international project created by artist-hackers Evan Roth and James Powderly, devoted to providing graffiti artists, protestors, and hackers with open source technologies for creating large-scale urban messaging. The group is well-known for inventing the LED Throwie and conceptualizing and publicizing the use of projection as a valid method of public protest.[1]


Evan Roth and James Powderly met as residents of New York City's Eyebeam OpenLab, an open-source art initiative, in 2005 and they began working as the Graffiti Research Lab there. It has since expanded to include different operational cells worldwide, including Rotterdam and Hong Kong.[2]

LED Throwies

One of the groups first popular inventions was the LED Throwie. One throwie consists of an LED and battery epoxied to a small rare earth magnet; thus the LED can be thrown in the air to attach it to a metal surface.[3]

Graffiti Research Lab published an Instructable[4] on how to create LED Throwies in 2006, and as of 2015, the Instructable has garnered almost two million views and more than 1300 comments.

L.A.S.E.R. Tag

L.A.S.E.R. Tag is a computer vision system paired with a high-lumen projector that allows for writing on walls at a great distance using a laser pointer. After collaborator James Powderly posted a YouTube video of the system in action in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in February of 2007, the work became popular with graffiti writers and protestors alike. As of 2015, the below video has 1.6 million views.

The method was used in early 2007 to support a group action in favor of Dennis Kucinich's legislation to impeach then Vice President Dick Cheney for fabricating the causes for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This is the earliest known use of the group's open source software in political protest.

Search Interest

External References

[1] Graffiti Research Lab

[2] Wikipedia – Evan Roth

[3] Wikipedia – LED Thowies

[4] Instructable – LED Throwies

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