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SAMA's Glossary

At SAMA we have a very diverse and dynamic team, with people coming from many different areas. With this in mind, in the process of formalization of the museum and production of documents such as the Collection Policy Plan, we decided it was important to build a glossary that would allow everyone to easily understand SAMA and its functioning. This glossary presents and explains important terms that we use in our research laboratory and daily activities. The Glossary is in constant renovation, having in mind the dynamism of street art and museums in contemporary society.

Here you can have a sample of some of the terms present in our glossary and their definition. The terms’ definitions are the ones adopted by SAMA for organizational purposes and for internal and external communication and can be dissonant from other organizations (especially the definitions related to graffiti and street art duo to the lack of consensus).

The terms are labeled by color between the two following categories:

Museological terms and tools Street Art/Graffiti related terms and tools

  • Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. It is for SAMA an important tool for the digitization of human-scale pieces from our Main Collection.

  • Artistic Tag

Artistic Tag is a figurative signature or visual shorthand used by many street artists. They are easily recognizable and a direct link to the artist.

Exit Enter's characteristic stickman
  • Catalog

Catalog is the listing of the museum’s items made in a systematic order accompanied by pictures and other pertinent pieces of information. SAMA’s catalog is hosted by Axiell Collections Cloud.

  • Deaccession

Deaccessioning is the formal process used to remove an item from the collection permanently. The deaccessions in SAMA’s collection are mostly done due to professional, ethical, or contractual conflict or obsolescence of a physical item or digital archive. This procedure is done following the processes and standards specified in the Collection Policy Plan.

  • Digitization

The process of converting information into a digital format. It is for SAMA an essential process to preserve our collection due to the ephemeral quality of graffiti and street art.

  • Graffiti

Graffiti is a practice of image-making often focused on text over image – these being the chosen pseudonyms of their producers or their ‘crews’, created using spray cans, markers or various other tools of inscription, and undertaken illicitly within the urban environment.

Graffiti piece by Zas and Mutant
  • Heritage

The legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that is inherited from past generations. Not all legacies of past generations are "heritage", rather heritage is a product of selection by society.

  • Intangible Heritage

Practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. For SAMA, the intangible heritage of our collection lays especially on the artistic and social practices that are associated with graffiti and street art, and also in the emotional links and shared stories the collection creates with the local community.

  • Main Collection

SAMA’s main collection is composed by the site-specific artworks with an intrinsic relationship to the urban space. For the museum, the art pieces that are in the urban environment are the core of the institution and the main tool through which it achieves its mission.

  • Memory Capsule

Memory Capsule is a product created by SAMA using Virtual Reality (VR) to digitize the artworks and their original context. Through the use of VR, the viewer is transported to the environment the art piece is/was located, giving a much more realistic experience of the art piece than pictures and videos.

Transporting people in London to Amsterdam Nieuw-West through our Memory Capsules
  • Mini-installations

A site-specific work, often 3D or sculptural, in a medium to small scale, attached to elements of the urban space.

  • Paste-Up

A poster, drawing, stencil, etc. fixed to a wall or other surface using wheatpaste or wallpaper paste.

  • Permanent collection

The permanent collection is the collection of items that have been formally accessioned. At SAMA the permanent collection is divided into the Main Collection and Supporting Collection.

  • Social Engagement

Social engagement (social involvement, social participation) refers to one's degree of participation in a community or society. As an eco-museum, social engagement is essential to SAMA’s functioning, from the processes of producing a new art piece to daily activities.

Free workshops for local kids is one of SAMA's tools to promote social engagement
  • Supporting collection

SAMA’s Supporting Collection consists of multimedia materials related to or supporting the Main Collection, including but not limited to stencil cutouts, paste-ups, planning documents, publications and zines, stickers, patches, t-shirts, and bags.

  • Stencil

A sheet of paper, cardboard, plastic, or metal with a pattern or letters cut out of it, used to produce the cut design on the surface below by the application of ink or paint through the holes.

  • Sticker

Stickers are usually handwritten in an auto-adhesive paper, as the famous “Hello My Name Is” badge, or designed and printed in a studio. Regardless, stickers are usually placed on very visible places like street signs, poles, doors, ATMs, walls, benches, subways, and etc.

  • Street Art

A practice of image-making (often thought to focus on the image over text – these being the iconic symbols of their producers), created using either spray cans, stencils, paste-ups, or a number of further techniques of composition, and undertaken within our urban environments. What is crucial in the utilization of the term is that the labeling of an image as street art is inextricably dependent on its site of application, this being the public space of the city itself.

  • Tangible Heritage

The term tangible heritage refers in general to all the material traces such as archaeological sites, historical monuments, artifacts, and objects that are significant to a community, a nation, or/and humanity. SAMA’s tangible heritage are the material pieces of evidence or objects, artworks, and (digital) documentation in our collection associated with street art practices.

  • Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment. VR is an important tool in the creation of SAMA's Memory Capsules.

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