Humans often consider graffiti to be a youthful aberration, whose sole goal is to deface bland or ugly veneers. Many times, this is true, but the only thing youthful about graffiti is the people who create it. Culturally, it's probable that graffiti is as old as civilisation, itself, with one prominent example of ancient graffiti that has survived until today being the markings and writings found in the ruins of Pompeii.

Consequently, graffiti has an historical as well cultural value that is easy to miss. It presents a window into the culture of the people who inhabit the walls it defaces. Graffiti in Pompeii, with property owners scolding defecators, brothel customers touting their virility, and young lovers professing their passions, showed what was on the minds of Pompeiians before Mount Vesuvius's eruption in 79 CE. Similarly, the graffiti we see today, should it survive into the future, will show what occupies the minds of early-21st century humans. And just as history textbooks aren't likely to mention 1st century Italians' tendency to defecate on walls and populate brothels serving watered-down wine, the graffiti you see on the walls around your city may very well say more about its cultural history than future encyclopedia entries will.

The purpose of our graffiti footage, we admit, is primarily to preserve the messages left by those who use this socially unacceptable means of communication, so that when these messages are inevitably washed away, some semblance of them may remain.

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License & Attribution

By Joaquim Baeta. The files associated with this video are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. You are free to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon them in any medium or format, even for commercial purposes, provided you give appropriate credit to Joaquim Baeta.

Example attribution: "Fight" by Joaquim Baeta,, CC BY.