Approaching Athenian Graffiti as a Multimodal Genre with GIS Application

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Graffiti as an ever-changing form of urban art and visual communication is naturally multimodal, focusing on text–image relations (Bateman 2014; Forceville 2008; Kress 2006), which owe their existence mainly to the sociocultural and historical knowledge of the represented world of our experience – Husserlian Lebenswelt [Lifeworld] (Sonesson 2008; 2015). These relations constitute an interesting challenge to multimodal interpretations, because both verbal and/or pictorial representations can introduce the overall meaning possibilities of multimodal graffiti artefacts.

An innovative technique for systematic monitoring of Athenian graffitiscape is needed to protect graffiti. Towards this direction, this talk suggests a new framework for employing Geographical Information System (GIS) technology (Longley 2015), as an exploratory platform to perform multimodal analysis. The graffiti data that have been already gathered from Athens in two time periods: 2014 – 2015 and 2016 – 2017 will be stored in a free and online digital archive. The main advantage of this database is to address issues of metadata services giving to the researcher the opportunity to actively interact with the metadata. Engaging with a database it is possible to link the data with any way we want – alphabetically, chronologically, thematically, locationally etc. and even re-arrange the data sets in anyway depending on the new findings.

Three graffiti examples of multimodal discourse, as indices of construction, function (intended effects), and circulation (Sonesson 2008) are visually analyzed. The results suggest that the methodology applied is effective: a) in the understanding of the relational infrastructure of graffiti as another kind of complex multimodal genre, and b) in the conversion of the urban semiotic landscape into a modern intercommunication notebook between the graffiti creators and the passersby. The work described is a sort of preliminary work in progress: I am planning to apply the GIS methodology on a much wider scale at European graffiti corpora across time and space.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • graffiti, multimodality, semiotics, GIS, Athens
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 10
Publication categoryResearch
EventInternational Conference on Multimodal Communication: Developing New theories and Methods - Osnabrück University, Osnabrück, Germany
Duration: 2017 Jun 92017 Jun 11


ConferenceInternational Conference on Multimodal Communication: Developing New theories and Methods
Abbreviated titleICMC 2017
Internet address

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Related activities

Stampoulidis, G. (Presenter)
2017 Jun 92017 Jun 11

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

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