New York and Los Angeles are the centers of the graffiti movement, but what happens when a graffiti legend becomes paralyzed? This is the case with LA artist TEMPT1. ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) has left the artist mostly paralyzed, except for parts of his face and his eyes. Thanks to Free Art Technology, OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab and The Ebeling Group, the amazing EyeWriter has been developed. A simple pair of glasses were fitted with eye-tracking technology and accompany software, that traced the movement of TEMPT1’s eyes. Connecting to a laptop, the eye drawings can be projected in bold colors in extremely large scale on the sides of buildings. Although not the thrill of tagging a building in paint, TEMPT1 is again able to continue creating his art on buildings. The unartistically inclined are now able to write letters and other forms of communication with their loved ones.
Kacie Kinzer allowed New Yorkers to interact with Sam, a Tweenbot, a few summers ago as it perused Washington Square Park. The cute little robot motored all over the park, coming to many obstacles as it tried to reach its destination. When Sam would get stuck at a curb, pothole, or under a bench, a little red flag would go up, indicating which direction he’d like to go. Surprisingly, most park go-ers helped the little machine, picking it up and facing it in the right direction, or in a direction out of harm’s way. Kinzer, initially thinking that the cardboard robot would be trampled on and ruined, filmed the interaction secretly. She found that most people not only interacted with Sam (an object), but he spurred conversation amongst strangers.
Like bees, bats help keep the flow of our ecosystem, pollinating plants and eating unwanted bugs. But in the city, people aren’t too keen on letting bats reside on their properties, which could essentially be harmful to the flow of the environment. Chris Woebken and Natalie Jeremijenko’s Bat Billboard provides a place for city bats to rest their wings. What’s more, the screen on the surface of the billboard translates bat calls from within, comparing the sounds to archival call patterns, and giving these bats a “voice.” The project hopes to connect humans and bats, preserving their urban infrastructure, while disassociating them from that pesky Dracula guy.
A city’s traffic and roadways is the lifeblood of an urban area. With that visual in mind, Pedro Miguel Cruz, Penousal Machado and Joao Bicker tracked Lisbon’s traffic at various times of the day. The data, given by MIT Portugal’s CityMotion project, was recorded and coded by color and thickness. The resulting visual shows not only how a city is a living being, but also trends in traffic. The glowing circulatory system shows what areas to avoid and when, how the city changes throughout the day, and useful information, presented in a way that anyone with a heart can related to.
With the popularity of the internet in mind, one topic addressed with Talk to Me is human interaction with objects, in place of people. Design Incubation Center’s Roly Poly eggs come in a set of pairs. Each egg can be placed in different locations. When a person at one location taps their egg, the second egg mimics the movement created. Thus, two people, although separated, can sense each other through the responsive movement of an object.
With GPS tracking in our cars and on our phones, we no longer have to rely on stopping and asking a stranger for directions. Taiwanese designer Che-Wei Wang and American Kristin O’Friel thought there was something missed by relying on a software program rather than a person. Their Momo devices ads an animate and cozy quality to finding one’s way. The internal GPS system is programmed for the final destination. Looking much like a stuffed animal and clad in crocheted yarn (complete with ears), the Momo gently leans in the direction or turn to be made next. No robotic voice telling them where to go, the user relies on the gentle nudge of a friend to get them where they want to go.
Be sure to look out for our upcoming exclusive video interview with Paola in the coming weeks.