Valentina FANTINI1 | James DIXON2
(1DiDA, Dipartimento di Architettura, Florence University, Italy /2MOLA, Museum of London Archaeology, UK)

Keywords: street art, digital survey, ephemeral, Birmingham, digital documentation

The city of Birmingham is located in the West Midland (England). Nowadays Birmingham is changing aspect quickly and a comprehensive masterplan has begun to be enacted.
This paper will focus on Digbeth, a five min walk from the city centre, where abandoned factories and other historical remains are waiting to be renewed, in this stimulating scenario Local Artists are expressing their talent. An organization named City of Colour has been organising the ‘City of Colour Festival’ since 2013; this event takes place in Digbeth, inviting artists to paint small portions of walls. Last year 100 artists participated and thanks to their contribution, and other artists it is possible to consider Digbeth as an outdoor graffiti gallery.
The aim of the research, bringing together architectural and archaeological perspectives on art, is to provide a tool to preserve this art in the future, accepting street art as part of the cultural heritage of Birmingham. Using SFM solution, photoscanning each wall periodically it will be possible to record these pieces of art, without maintaining the painted wall, that would mean damaging the value of this kind of art itself.
The idea of the research, presented here in its early stages, is to develop an app, using geo-location and enhanced digital imagery, to allow the art-history of Digbeth’s walls to be reviewed in situ. Using augmented reality a projection of the historical art will effectively be cast onto the real wall, using it as a 1:1 textured model.
The result will be a flexible interactive archive of Graffiti in Birmingham, allowing interested parties to update the archive by adding their own images of graffiti. This paper seeks to outline the disciplinary position and practical methodology of the research and assess the role of this and other similar initiatives in either colluding with or countering the masterplan narratives of large-scale development.