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.
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.
Troika is a multi-disciplinary art and design practice founded in 2003 by Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki and Sebastien Noel, who met while studying at the Royal College of Art in London.
This project, SMS Guerilla Projector, is about four years old, but it caught my eye while flipping through my copy of the Design and the Elastic Mindbook. The SMS Guerilla Projector does what you’re seeing above, basically project the screen image from a Nokia phone onto surfaces around the city. The project is somewhat reminiscent of the Image Fulgurator, which I posted on back in July of 2008.
Most speculation on the interwebs suggest it’s basically a hacked phone and slide projector mashed together, which is kind of ingenious in its simplicity. Basically, and LCD screen can have light pass through it and so by opening up a phone and shining some concentrated light at the screen, so the speculation goes, you would be able to project the image with a lens.
Bildr.org could be amazing. The idea is to create a visual Web-based library of componentized instruction sets, “building blocks,” for doing various hardware and software constructions. Put a bunch of these components together, and you have all of the instructions you need to execute a multi-part project.
So, that crazy project you’ve always wanted to do but were never sure how to even start it might finally be able to be realized, if Bildr can come together. The thing is, it will require a lot of input from a ton of knowledgeable people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve spent hours on Google trying to find the exact right answer to a problem I’d been having, whether in PHP, Perl, or Max, but it wasn’t always just finding the right answer, it was trying to figure out how to ask the right question.
Something like Bildr could fix that… by allowing you to assemble your own set of instructions from those little modules of instructions, things could be a lot easier. However, in some ways, it still requires you to know exactly what it takes to do what you want to do, and for me this has always been the gap. How do you know what needs to be asked to solve a specific problem?
Bildr is just starting up and looking for expertise, so you if you know how to do some little bit of programming or building or if you have a very specific knowledge subset of LEDs, for example, contact them.
In Paris, there is a new (guerilla) residency program initiated by Paul Souviron and Antoine Lejolivet through the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD. The residencies consist of spending some time in a DIY megastore and creating temporary installations.
There’s numerous ideas about artist residencies that don’t necessarily take place in the traditional space of galleries or centres, but instead focus on the potential for artists having a role in more everyday places. Schools, landfills, and city halls have been the site for artist residencies, and I have to wonder about the possibilities of artist residencies here in Windsor; and I’m not even that interested in thinking about residencies at the Big 3, Caesars Windsor, or city hall.
What about residencies at the library, at the riverfront, at Walkerville Brewery, at the corner of Randolph and University, at the corner store, at Milk, at the parking garage, at the bridge, or at the bench on Wyandotte near Kildare? And why wait for someone to make one? Why don’t we create a series of residencies? Why don’t you offer your front porch for a week-long artist residency?
Made from a hacked Kill A Watt, a device used to measure energy usage from a power outlet, Ladyada made this real-time Twittering energy monitor. The Tweet-A-Watt can be made for around $50, and would be used in each room—your office’s power bar would have one connected to it, your living room, bedroom, etc. Check out the Twitter feed, as it reports on the energy used around every 8 hours.
A great idea, and all the better that it came out of working with existing products to make them more functional. As with many visualization and data reporting techniques though, I find there’s a bit of a gap between seeing the numbers (for example, 134.0 Watts, 4133 Wh in last 24hr, 5510 Wh previous day), and understanding what the numbers mean. Is 4133 Wh in the last 24 hours good or bad? However, at least being able to track and begin to understand the relationship between your activities and energy usage is a step in the right direction.
In The Air is a data visualization project initiated at MediaLab-Prado in Madrid. The project has taken a large dataset consisting of a year’s worth of air quality readings from Madrid and is beginning to realize a number of ways to make visible the invisible agents of the city’s air (gases, particles, pollen, etc). In The Air is using both web interfaces and physical prototypes for representing the data, and while the web component looks very slick, I’m considerably more interested in the physical parts.
I’m not sure how well the images read above, but those are some examples of their process as they work their way through Arduino-controlled contraptions that will spray out different colours of mist depending on the air quality data. There’s a video of one of their failed attempts on Serial Cosign, which is where I originally saw the project.
Made by the folks at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, this open source game kit, Meggy Jr RGB, allows you to program your own games using the 8×8 LED matrix and controlling the gameplay through those 6 big red buttons. You know what this means, Broken City Lab video game.
There’s a really good story over at Wired about the idea, business models, and inventors behind open source hardware. Pictured above are the founders of Arduino, three pretty relaxed looking dudes, making knowledge open and free. It’s really incredible to realize that there are companies and projects that are based on open source hardware and profit from it in one way or another. We could build an exact copy of the Arduino board, call it Broken City Board and sell it, as long as we kept the same Creative Commons licensing as the original Arduino board. Walmart could also do the same, but of course, would also be subject to the same licensing requirements.
Open knowledge and the potential to make things more open, more accessible, more functional is the future. Again, it’s a great read and just goes to show how important it is for us to document and share everything we do.