Monitor your Plants

Computer Monitor Planter

I recently decided to make a useful form out of one of the free computer monitors left in the hallway of the University of Windsor’s Lebel building. The process was very brief and effortless and I would suggest that anyone who has a computer monitor (broken or intended to be discarded) try this out. The average monitor takes on an elegant form and can be painted to suit a specific motif. The heat release vents also work well to drain excess water from the soil. 

Although it’s great to recycle used electronics, this particular project wasted about 85% of the monitor’s material. Further brainstorming is needed to make this project more efficient.

Photos and explanations of the construction/deconstruction process below:

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6th Annual Fahrenheit Fest

Artcite's Fahrenheit Festival 2008 in LaSalle

Last night was the 6th Annual Fahrenheit Festival, presented by Artcite Inc. and the town of Lasalle. It was incredible to see such a huge crowd, likely around 1200 people or more, out to see fire sculpture. The location was amazing, with 12 sculptures sitting on a little patch of land cutting through the middle of a very large pond, and a nice slope for the audience to sit with a great view of the entire show.

Along with the big burn itself were a series of talks and workshops on fire art, which really rounded out the festival, and for those that were able to make it, helped to give context to the wider ideas of fire art. The scale of an event like this is somewhat staggering, given that Artcite has just two extremely dedicated employees (but thankfully an amazing bunch of volunteers), though what impressed me most is that there is in fact a sizable audience for public creative activity in this area.

Note that this event happened in Lasalle and that Lasalle along with Artcite were successful in writing a Trillium grant to make this happen. I’m not sure of the history of the event, if it was ever attempted in the city of Windsor or not, but it’s inspiring to know that there are places in this region that view the arts as n opportunity for partnership.

Bamboo Bike GROWN


Have you guys looked into your back yard and thought: “OH BOY I wish I could grow a field full of bikes.” I know I haven’t – BUT THIS GUY DID!

Based out of Santa Cruz, California, Graig Calfee is a bike maker. Sounds neat, so what? Check this quote from the Wired article:

To increase production and improve design, Craig is experimenting with growing bamboo into pre-formed shapes in the field.

By forcing the bamboo to grow through carefully placed barriers, the naturally straight plant grows with the bends and curves he needs for frames and other components.

Hey, is that your grey matter splattered behind you on the wall, or is it mine? Because my brain just exploded. That’s incredible! But what is even more incredible is the way he invisions mass-production of these bikes, one more quote:

“A factory in a field. You can have row after row of bamboo growing into the right structures for bike frames.”



 UPDATE: I forgot to post his website, give it a look! Calfee Design

Botanicalls at Conflux 2008

Botanicalls as part of Conflux 2008

Botanicalls is this incredible project I came across sometime last year. Essentially, it uses a microcontroller and sensor along with PHP and an open-source telephone system to allows plants to make phone calls and ask for water when they’re getting dried out. The project, as part ofConflux 2008, has become a walking tour in New York during which, “Participants call the Botanicalls main phoneline and navigate to the location-specific plant. Each tree or plant, speaks in their own ‘Botanicalls’ voice – which is based on their botanical habits and characteristics.” Not only do I think the project is a really great use of simple hardware and technology to create a novel experience, but the way in which they document and visually describe their project is really, really good.