Inspired by the underground 80s hip hop scene, Graffito pays homage to guerilla street art and turns it into a celebration of pop culture on a massive scale. Graffito hands over the VJs canvas to the hips, fingers, hands and creative minds of the audience.
Graffito is an experiment in massive crowd-made graffiti. Anyone in a festival crowd can join in to paint on a giant canvas with digital paint using their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Crowds of people can paint at the same time, on the same canvas by using their screen like a spraycan.
Graffito is a collaborative effort between several UK partners who are experimenting with next gen digital live art. Graffito is supported by Horizon Digital Economy Research (Research Councils UK grant EP/G065802/1).
The first live test of the system as a collaborative drawing/ VJ tool will be in the Warehouse Tent at the Vintage at Goodwood Festival, August 13-15 2010.
Over the past few months we have been developing new wearables and improvements to the Rumbler for Sensory Threads, which we successfully tested working together last week. The new wearables are based on Arduino and use XBee for communication, and the Rumbler now has multiple map selection, replay and printing (on the Rumbler’s attached micro-printer) of specific expeditions.
In the coming months we are planning to conduct a series of experimental expeditions through London to test the platform and build up a repertoire of expeditions for the Rumbler to replay. We will also be exploring building more portable versions of the Rumbler to make it easier to present at conferences and festivals.
Orlagh and I are just finishing a short video, inspired by our Snout project, which will have its first outing at the upcoming Mobilefest Festival in Sao Paulo Brazil. A single screen video work – it draws together line animation, visualisation of sensor data and video footage of a live event featuring European carnival characters Mr Punch and The Plague Doctor as they cavort around London in costumes instrumented with environmental sensors. It reminded me that Snout was featured in 2008 in Zona 2; signs in the city, a supplement to the Italian architecture and design magazine Abitaire. So to accompany the video here is the short essay and my drawings from Zona about the project:
A theatre of the everyday
Carnival is a time when everyday life is suspended – a time when the fool becomes king for a day, when social hierarchies are inverted and the pavement becomes the stage, a time when everyone is equal. There is no audience at a carnival, only carnival-goers.
On 10 April 2007 the Snout ‘carnival’ performance and public forum (featuring Mr Punch and The Plague Doctor instrumented with environmental sensors) drew together artists, producers, performers and computer programmers to explore how wearable technologies with environmental sensors can combine with Internet sharing technologies to map the invisible gases in our everyday environment. The project by Proboscis, inIVA and researchers from Birkbeck College also explored how communities can use this evidence to initiate local action.
For Proboscis public space is a focus for convening conversation and dialogue. It gives context to shared issues such as pollution, the environment, and our personal and communal relationships to them. In Snout, we sought to meld the problem of measuring pollution in public space with ways to begin a conversation between local people that can inspire a path to change; not just frighten people with statistics.
Our world is increasingly affected by human behaviour and industry – there is awareness of pollution in public spaces but we rarely have access to actual data. What is the local air quality of our street like? What ground toxins are present? The participatory sensing concept seeks to put the science and technologies of environmental sensing into the hands of local people to gather and visualise evidence about their environment.
We chose Mr Punch as an allegory of Western consumer culture. Punch is the fool, the trickster, an anti-authoritarian figure – challenging social structures, yet never taking responsibility for his actions. In the traditional Punch story – The Tragical Comedy, Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch, he defeats authority, but at the same time kills all the people close and dear to him. Ultimately he is left alone. We also chose the Plague Doctor because of his ambiguous relationship to technology. The doctor’s outfit is a kind of seventeenth century HazMat suit, but is he a real doctor or is he a quack hiding behind the cultural and hygienic prophylactic of the costume? With both the characters we are questioning the social and cultural role not only of technologies but also of those who use them, and why.
The data collected by the sensors in the Snout costumes are the ingredients for a feast of conversation; a recipe that includes various ingredients (sensor data, statistics culled from official websites and local knowledge shared by the community) to cook up local feasts of conversation. In addition to the data picked up by the sensors on the Snout costumes (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, noise, solvent vapours etc), other sources were aggregated such as local health statistics, local education and the ‘deprivation’ index.
Consumerism drives a headlong scramble of production, underpinned our concept of individual freedom and choice. Our desire to have technologies which ‘free’ us, enable greater communication and ability to travel are also ones which contribute to accelerating ecological damage. The technologies we manipulate to help us make sense of these issues are also part of the problem. The question then becomes, how do we take responsibility for the impact of our desires upon the environments we live in, and their effects on the environments of others? How can we shift our perceptions of what can happen on the street, in public space, to create the context to begin conversations?
A film made in 2006 which demonstrates several of the interfaces – PDA, mobile, web and Google Earth – that were made for various tests and trial of Urban Tapestries. Also contains footage of participants in the trials and bodystorming experiences.
Social Tapestries (2004-08) was a five year research programme of projects that grew out of our original Urban Tapestries project. The focus of Social Tapestries was to create a series of experiments in public authoring in challenging environments and with local communities that could begin to reveal the potential for emerging mobile media in enabling change through the mapping and sharing of knowledge and experience in everyday settings. We developed projects with two social housing groups (a residents’ committee and a short-life co-op), schools (a secondary near Hull and a primary in North London), residents/users of London Fields and people who lived and worked in Hoxton.
Team: Alice Angus, Camilla Brueton, Kevin Harris, Giles Lane, Karen Martin, Sarah Thelwall and Orlagh Woods.
Partners & Collaborators: Birkbeck College; London School of Economics; Jenny Hammond Primary School; HIRO (Havelock Independent Residents Organisation); St Marks Housing Co-op, Kingswood High; Getmapping.com;
Urban Tapestries (2002-04) was a ground-breaking project that investigated how the combination of geographic information systems (GIS) and mobile technologies (including ad-hoc WiFi) could enable people to map and share their knowledge and experience, stories and information – public authoring. The transdisciplinary team developing it wove together an action research process bridging programming, ethnography, visual arts, filmmaking, animation, product design, information architecture, concept design, rapid & paper prototyping and creative writing.
The project resulted in numerous events, publications, technologies as well as two public trials of the Urban Tapestries mobile platform for public authoring in December 2003 and June-July 2004.
Team: Alice Angus, Daniel Angus, John Paul Bichard, Katrina Jungnickel, Giles Lane, Rachel Murphy, Roger Silverstone, Zoe Sujon and Nick West.
Partners & Collaborators: London School of Economics, Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories, Orange, Ordnance Survey, France Telecom R&D UK.
Funded by Department of Trade & Industry, Arts Council England, Fondation Daniel Langlois
In July 2001 Proboscis commissioned fourteen proposals from leading artists and designers addressing the theme of converging media technologies (internet, radio, interactive television, wireless & mobile communications etc.) and their social and cultural impact on the shifting relationship between private and public spaces. Private Reveries, Public Spaces was an intervention in the development of new media networks and services introducing innovative and experimental work into the public sphere to challenge as well as to inspire companies, regulatory agencies and researchers involved in the design and building of the new media ecology.
Rachel Baker, Julie Freeman, Nat Goodden, Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope, Ben Hooker & Shona Kitchen and Natalie Jeremijenko, Liquid idea, James Loizeau & James Auger, Christian Moller, Simon Poulter, David Rokeby, Sand14, Petra Trefzger & Felix Goetz and Louise K Wilson.
Three ‘conceptual prototypes’ were commissioned from:
Rachel Baker, Ben Hooker & Shona Kitchen and Natalie Jeremijenko.
The proposals and prototypes were presented at the London School of Economics in June 2002.
Team: Alice Angus & Giles Lane
Advisory Group: Professor Roger Silverstone, Fiona Raby, Gary Stewart, Hannah Redler, Charlie Gere and David Sinden.
Funded by Fondation Daniel Langlois and Arts Council England New Media Projects Fund
Proboscis is leading a pilot project, Sensory Threads, funded by the CREATOR Research Cluster. The project builds upon our previous collaborations with Birkbeck College’s Pervasive Computing Lab on the Feral Robots and Snout environmental sensing projects and takes wearable sensing into new areas with new collaborations with the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London, the Mixed Reality Lab at University of Nottingham and Southampton University’s School of Management.
Sensory Threads is a work-in-progress to develop an instrument enabling a group of people to create a soundscape reflecting their collaborative experiences in the environment. For this interactive sensory experience, we are designing sensors for detecting environmental phenomena at the periphery of human perception as well as the movement and proximity of the wearers themselves. Possible targets for the sensors may be electro-magnetic radiation, hi/lo sound frequencies, heart rate etc). The sensors’ datastreams will feed into generative audio software, creating a multi-layered and multi-dimensional soundscape feeding back the players’ journey through their environment. Variations in the soundscape reflect changes in the wearers interactions with each other and the environment around them. We aim to premiere the work in 2009.
Team: Alice Angus, Giles Lane, Karen Martin and Orlagh Woods (Proboscis); Demetrios Airantzis, Dr George Roussos and Jenson Taylor (Birkbeck); Joe Marshall (MRL); Dr Nick Bryan-Kinns and Robin Fencott (Queen Mary) and Dr Lorraine Warren (Southampton).
‘Shared Encounters’ was a workshop which took place at CHI 07 in San Jose, California. CHI is the annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems and this one-day workshop brought together researchers from academia and industry to explore how mobile technologies might support shared encounters in urban environments. Karen Martin and Giles Lane submitted a position paper describing Proboscis’ Conversations and Connections project and the challenges and opportunities faced by projects which make use of, and develop, new technologies but have primarily social goals.
You can read our paper here: Making Glue (PDF 150Kb)
This is the workshop abstract:
Our everyday lives are characterised by encounters, some are fleeting and ephemeral and others are more enduring and meaningful exchanges. Shared encounters are the glue of social networks and have a socializing effect in terms of mutual understanding, empathy, respect and thus tolerance towards others. The quality and characteristics of such encounters are affected by the setting, or situation in which they occur. In a world shaped by communication technologies, non-place-based networks often coexist alongside to the traditional local face-to-face social networks. As these multiple and distinct on and off-line communities tend to carry out their activities in more and more distinct and sophisticated spaces, a lack of coherency and fragmentation emerges in the sense of a shared space of community. Open public space with its streets, parks and squares plays an important role in providing space for shared encounters among and between these coexisting networks. Mobile and ubiquitous technologies enable social encounters located in public space, albeit not confined to fixed settings, whilst also offering sharing of experiences from non-place based networks. We will look at how to create or support the conditions for meaningful and persisting shared encounters. In particular we propose to explore how technologies can be appropriated for shared interactions that can occur spontaneously and playfully and in doing so re-inhabit and connect place-based social networks.
An LSE Electronic Working Paper by Roger Silverstone and Zoetanya Sujon
Urban Tapestries: The Spatial and the Social on your Mobile by Nick West
A film exploring the wider contexts informing the Urban Tapestries project, setting out its key aim of exploring the social and cultural implications of public authoring and mobile technologies. Devised by Alice Angus & Giles Lane. Made by Alice Angus (2003/04).
Shaggy Dog Stories by Matt Locke
A New Cultural Revolution: pervasive information in the new world order by Giles Lane