Signal To Noise (think old school rotary text board randomly looking for dictionary words)

I saw this in the Globe and Mail this morning and thought it was worth reposting here given how deep we’re into thinking about text in public spaces at the moment … seems like it would be a really fun installation to see in person! The project is called S/N (Signal to Noise) and can be found in Terminal 1 at Pearson Airport in Toronto. It’s part of this year’s Luminato Festival, one of the preeminent arts festivals in North America, having commissioned over 50 new works of art, and featured 6,500 artists from 35+ countries. Luminato launched in 2007 with a work by one of our favourites, Rafael Lozano Hemmer‘s Pulse Front: Relational Architecture 12.

As for S/N, here’s the project description…

The transformation of random letters into legible words is at the technocentric heart of S/N (Signal To Noise), created by the Belgian artists LAb[au]. The installation is constructed from an assortment of discarded technology and salvaged split-flaps, components from the information displays that predated LED monitors in public spaces like airports and train stations.

Arranged in a circular grid, the flaps randomly rotate until the system identifies a word. The flow of words creates an auto-poetic sequence, inviting viewers to interpret its meaning.

LAb[au] explores the theme of space and time constructs relative to information processes. Its three members – Manuel Abendroth, Jérôme Decock and Els Vermang – specialize in system art and are mainly active within the interactive, reactive and generative realm.

Conflux 2009 Day 1


We’re in New York for Conflux 2009 and we’re participating as part of Conflux City! We spent the first day catching up on some sleep, then venturing out into the city and touching base at Conflux HQ. There were a number of presentations we wanted to see, all of which helped us to start articulating some bigger questions we’ve been having about our own practice lately.

We’re scrambling right now to finish up our prep for our Algorithmic Subway Adventure at noon today (Sunday), so more details in the next posts later.

Continue reading “Conflux 2009 Day 1”

Windsor Signage

Visit Windsor's Sculpture Garden

I almost didn’t believe this sign existed. The few times I’ve been out to the Windsor Airport, I’ve usually been coming from the south, which (if my understanding of the geographic location of this photo is correct) might explain why I’ve missed it in the past.

Thankfully, Steven has a photo of it and presents two good options for working with it (it’s either a t-shirt or a lightbox (or fodder for Ron Terada)).

Signage has been discussed before at BCL, and while we’ll leave it to Steven to work with this sign in one way or another, it actually collapses two things that I often loosely discuss in introducing Windsor’s cultural landscape (so to speak) to people who aren’t from the area. The level of design (demonstrated above) and this kind of amassing of public art in the form of a dumping ground, ghetto, “tax shelter,” park while the rest of the streets remain the place for bland infrastructure and advertising is a prime example of what may be wrong in Windsor.

And, if you aren’t already reading Steven’s blog on a regular basis, do yourself a favour and add it to your reader.

T.S.A. Communication

TSA Communication by Evan Roth

T.S.A. Communication by Evan Roth is a 2009 Rhizome Member Selection Commission, in which Roth proposed to laser cut 8.5 x 11 inch pieces of stainless steel with messages directed at the T.S.A. to put in your suitcase for airport inspections. Roth writes, “T.S.A. Communication is a project that alters the airport security experience and allows the government to learn more about you then just what’s in your backpack … Change your role as air traveler from passive to active.”

Roth is also one of the masterminds behind F.A.T. Labs and Graffiti Research Lab.