Vanessa Harden: the Subversive Gardening


Canadian-born / UK-based designer, Vanessa Harden has invented a number of camouflaged devices meant to ease the process of guerrilla gardening.

Among things like ankle-attached mechanical seed distribution, briefcases that dig holes, and purses designed to easily carry plants to the site of installation, Harden hacked a Pentax camera to create what she calls, the Precision Bombing Device 1, pictured above.

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Marc Owens’ Avatar Machine

I saw this project in one of its earlier iterations and had kind of lost track of it, but I was recently reminded of it through a Tweet fromDoug Coupland (he had referred to another project on the same page).

Avatar Machine by Marc Owens is a wearable system which replicates the aesthetics and visuals of third person gaming, allowing the user to view themselves as a virtual character in real space via a head mounted interface. The system potentially allows for a diminished sense of social responsibility, and could lead the user to demonstrate behaviors normally reserved for the gaming environment.

Watching the video is a kind of surreal experience—I’m not really a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, but the aesthetic created through this system really works to generate the same look and feel of movement in a game that uses this behind-the-head perspective. I thought it was worth noting just as a way of changing perspective, and working to change physical perspectives into a new kind of experience.

[via today and tomorrow]

Projector Tests: Day 2 of 2


We met to do another round of projection tests, this time outside. While we still only had two projectors to work with for the test, we definitely verified an increase in brightness on outdoor surfaces (both with ambient light and without), though this increase is not equal to the amount of light we’re throwing at it—that is, shining two projectors with the same images at the same point does not double the brightness.

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Road-Side Signs


Spending some extra time in and around Essex County over the last week has led to the sighting of an incredible number of these road-side signs. Most often, they’re used to advertise a local shop or event, but the abundance of them on a range of properties on main roads is interesting.

Of course, interesting in the way that they hold potential for something more interesting.

Given that there seems to be no bylaws outlining the placement of these things, the next step is to figure out how much they are to rent, where in the city of Windsor they might be able to be placed, and then figuring out what we might be able to do with such signs.

Does anyone know of any particular locations of where to find these in Windsor? Has anyone rented before or have any idea on the potential cost in working with these?

[Image via Dark Roasted Blend]

Refining and Reworking the Planters


Another week and another day in 406 Pelissier, which as it continues is now part of Windsor’s Visual Fringe. It’s tough to find time to get down there, but I think we made the best of a few hours last Tuesday. We’re continuing work with the planters, which is (as they always seems to be) another fairly long-term research and development type of project. However, we made some great progress and some new strategies for designing the planters, and did a couple more test transplants.

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Making the Signs for Naturalized Areas


We recently decided to demarcate some of many accidental meadows across Windsor with these Naturalized Area signs. In hopes that these signs might momentarily allow residents of Windsor to look at these naturalized spaces for what they are—that is, wonderful additions to our urban landscape—instead of the result of a politically-charged issue, we spent the earlier part of this week designing the signs, getting them printed, drilling holes, and installing them.

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Rooftop Ideas

pool noodle rooftop

Pool noodles and an empty roof can make for some amazingly bright alternatives to tar.

The rooftop space, designed by INABA will be used for video screenings and community events, with the grouped pool noodles used as modular seating, all of which makes me all the more anxious to imagine all the potentially great alternative uses to the top floor of those three downtown parking garages.

[via Inhabitat]

GOOD’s Livable Streets

GOOD Magazine's Livable Streets Winner

GOOD recently had a Livable Streets competition where they invited readers to do some rendering and Photoshopping of holistic redesigns. The winner, Steve Price, reimagined Portsmouth, Virginia with infill development, light rail, and dedicated bike paths.

We need to do this for Windsor. Anyone up for putting their skills to use? Maybe Scaledown should try to push something like this forward.