VR/URBAN reclaim the screens

  • 08.05.2013

    Back from the D-Caf in Cairo, we are still thrilled by the friendly people, which is paradox because pro- and anti Mursi supporter were demonstrating and fighting near Borsa on Tahrir plaza after the friday prayer. The situation is hard to judge for foreigners, but strangely contemporary art is still lived in these turbulent times. Yanone documented for us, what we saw and MedrarTV gave us the opportunity to speak about the project. Enjoy the videos.


    We are invited to showcase the SMSlingshot at the tahrir place in Cairo, Egypt. The whole action will take place in the middle of april during the decaf festival. We look forward to the messages and hope to contribute to a healthy, emotional and reasonable progress in and in between the societies. So look forward!


    There are a few documentation videos online about our work. A very beautiful and special one comes from the Italian ubiq TV show. We are featured alongside our friends from arduino, Davide and Massimo and a few other extraordinary artists. Thanks to Elisa Mishto for shooting and edting. The other video was shot in Figueres last year during the ingravid festival. Mostly interview material and some proper attitude dropping throughout the video. Thanks to Toni Nottenbohm. A few other videos are in the making, so look forward!


    After returning from the amazing solstice festival in cleveland (thank you Tom for everything) we again hit the road for some little autumn tour. We are invited to showcase the SMSlingshot at the Digital Derry festival in Northern Ireland for two days from the 29th of august on. After that we go for one night to Chartres in Frane to let the people reclaim their facades during the fetes des lumieres. 15th of September is the date and the venue still secret! Beside that it´s a massive honour to come again to the Todays Art festival in Brussels which will take place from the 20th to the 23rd of September. In Oktober we hit the road to fabulous Ingravid festival in Girona Spain. This list ends with November doing a  street show on the 9th and a festival show on the 15th during the cynet art festival in Dreden, Germany.
    The year ends with a final show in Valence, France on the 15th of December.


    Christian and Tobias were busy writing papers and articles about the SMSlingshot in detail and Interaction Design in general. You can have a look in their theoretical output in the book "PROTOTYPE! Physical, virtual, hybrid, smart. Tackling new challenges in design and engineering" that is published in our beloved Form + Zweck publishing house! It´s an interview between the both about the design and development processes in mixed-professional teams. There are many beautiful examples from the SMSlingshot design process in it aswell. 
    Tobias was even more busy and can now be proud to have a CHI long paper published and presented during the CHI'12 in Austin Texas. His paper theorizes about spatial aspects in the design of shared encounters for media facades. He reflects on urban technology interventions by analyzing their spatial configuration in relation to the structuring of interaction. Furthermore, he outlines basic categories and offers a new terminology to describe these interactive situations designed for the built environment.


    There are four young and encouraged palestine computer science students that were inspired by our vision, adopted our aproach and rebuilt a SMSlingshot on their own. Sparked by the vision of free speech the outcome is a very nice and charming project. Keep going guys, we want to see it in action!


    SMSlingshot is invited to reclaim the screens at CROMAfest in Mexico City. We will reclaim facades in condes and at avenida renate in the nights of the 15th and 16th february. Let's see what happens in the city that is one of the most important cultural centers in the world. On the other end, it is also the leading center of advertising industry with a lot of international ad firms trying to put their global footprint on competing local firms.Media industry is huge there and we wonder in how far digitality has already hit the urban environment creating new hybrid estates. Has the digital blizz already taken over?


    A few new books lined up, that feature our work:

    "Precursor, the creativity watchlist" featuring a colourful range of interactive, graphic and several off-topic projects from art and design.

    Last year, SMSlingshot got massive feedback throughout the memefest friendly competition and was exhibited in Nijmegens Oddstream festival and here in Berlin, just right around the corner in an empty fabric floor. Thanks Dejan, Alain, Rola and the rest of the crew for giving such warm and constructive feedback. Now the book arrived, beautiful as assumed.

    And last but not least the catalogue of the current MoMA exhibition talk to me.


    It has been a great late summer for us with a lot of new impressions and collaborateurs. We felt especially honoured by being able to show our situative art at the same place Pablo Valbuena showed his early facade mappings. He is definitive a character that inspired us and formed our visions back in 2008. It was really an emotional moment to be at the Hague three years later.

    The Urbanize Festival is a great interdisciplinary forum that brings the discourse about alternative, progressive and postinnovative urban landscape to the agenda. We really would have loved the discussions with them during our visit in Vienna, but unfortunately we had to cancel the trip due to some members illness. We sincerely apologize, especially because the team at urbanize put so much effort in our visit, to make it come true.


    What in Brazil had its premier is now swapping over to the Netherlands. We found a second media arts faker on Y**T***. It seems that copying media artworks is a new trend and few artists can defend themselves against such a thing. We have talked to several high profile artists who had similar problems, but do not know what to do. Often media artworks are mis-used for commercial advertising purposes. We are deeply disappointed with such a development in our society. Arts faker of paintings get high penalties, but the media arts seems not to be regarded as worthy to be protected.

    How can we deal with that? Is Open Source the appropriate solution to avoid bad copies like these?


    We know it since some time, but now it is official: SMSLINGSHOT GOES MOMA. It is an uncomparable honour to be part of the "talk to me" exhibtion at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
    The exhibtion will be opened to the public from the 24th of july to the 7th of november and features various works and projects from the field of interaction design, interface design and media art. SMSlingshot will be pesented as object with additional video. So for everyone in New York, daring to see the SMSlingshot in action: Next time! 


    We recently recognized that a major Brazilian telecom company copied our interactive artwork SMSlingshot twice. We can hardly describe how much that irritates us. Hijacking our name (they did not even make the attempt to change the name) and turning our tool which was intended to give people a voice in public space into a markting campaign is not what we call correct ethical conduct.

    Herewith we distance ourself from the companies that copied our work. In no part we allowed them to reproduce, exhibit or show our interactive piece, the used interaction pattern or other parts related to the SMSlinghot intervention. We did NOT collaborate in any way with them.


    Again there is a book out in stores that features the SMSlingshot intervention. Touch of Code, released and published by GESTALTEN covers all facettes of interactive installations in the field of art and design! We are proud to be listed next to big players like Yuri Suzuki, YESYESNO and rAndom International! Go and get it!


    Another great honour can be declared! We´ve been awarded in the friendly competion of the wonderful memefest community! The competition is hosted and curated by Alian Bieber of RebelArt and Arte°creative. Beyond the categories of visual communication and critical writing there is an extra BEYOND category, open to everything off the grid. We got a lot and very good responses by the curators, giving advices and critics. Thanks to you all. Please check the whole comments here. Now we are invited to a workshop associated to the oddstream festival in Nijmegen.


    We are happy to be part of the mobile activism salon in New York. Though we are not there in person, the project will be presented by Anoush Tatevossian, founder of mobileactive.org, a global source platform for social mobile issues. There also will be our manifest available for take away. The last time by the way, before we start reworking it! The salon will take place december 9th at the Idealist.org space on 302 Fifth Avenue, 11th floor New York, NY.


    Apart from being at STRP Art & Technology Festival in Eindhoven tomorrow, another talk is coming up and will be held in Edinburgh's 'this happened' series which has been founded by Chris O'Shea, the creator of the wonderful public art piece 'Hands from Above'. Their events focus on stories behind interaction design, production processes and practices. So if you are interested in the full background story of VR/Urban, join us at the wee red bar.


    There has been some nice coverage of SMSlingshot in several magazines across the globe. Depending on what language you speak, have a look at our interviews and position statements in WEAVE 06.2010 (German), INAVATE Nov. 2010 (UK) or Unsorted (JP).


    VR/Urban has been invited to Es Baluard - Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma and is giving a talk about "the act on hybrid estates" our manifest about the concept of how digitally augmented cities should look and feel like. The translation of the lecture will be by Pau Waelder.
    We will also set up the SMSlingshot in the night of the 23rd Nov. to reclaim some digital ground on the sunny Mallorca isle.


    The world tour continues! We are very happy to announce new dates and venues where the SMSlingshot and other VR/Urban projects can be seen.

    First stop will be the British HCI conference „Play is a serious business“ in Dundee/Scotland on the 10th of September. Patrick Tobias Fischer will give a talk and present the paper „VR/Urban: Spread.gun – Design Process and Challenges in Developing a Shared Encounter for Media Façades“ It will be mainly about the impacts of interactive artwork in public spaces and the role of the Spreadgun in these scenarios.

    The museum of contemporary KIM? in Riga/Latvia was asking us to give a talk and workshop during a widely set up business and creativity reactor. Christian Zöllner will be there from the 24th to 25th of September to present the work and approaches of VR/Urban and the main ideas behind the „Reclaim the Screens“ movement the „act on hybrid estates“. The workshop will be held on both days in KIM? with 30 students and is focused on generating ideas for interventive lighting situations in urban space.

    We will also go to Vienna/Austria on the 8th of October to reclaim the facades of the Museumsquartier for Amnesty International. This will be a very impressive event and we are happy to be there!

    The for now last stop will be the STRP art and technology festival in Eindhoven/Netherlands between the 18th and 28th of November. It is not yet fully confirmed but we will be performing next to artists such as Chris Cunningham and Underworld.


    Back from Brazil with massive news. We´ve been awarded with a honourable mention in the interactive art catagory of FILE PRIX LUX and were allowed to demonstrate the SMSlingshot during the award ceremony on stage. We are also listed in the FILE festival book including our short demo movie on dvd. It makes us feel encourages to push further. And: Thank you Gaby, Daniel, Paula and Ricardo. Without you all this would not have been possible!


    This will be a great summer. We will go on a little world tour to present and let the people use our SMSlingshot. For that reason we are busy in redesign the whole thing, from code to solder from graphic interface to the interactive device.

    The first show this summer will befrom 26th-31st of july at the FILE festival in Sao Paulo, yes: that SAO PAULO in Brazil. We are invited to help the brazilian people reclaim their city space, though there are no advertising screens anymore. The venue isn´t 100%confirmed yet but it is propably around MASP Museum of modern Art and SESI.
    During the festival we will give a talk at the symposium and declare the "Act on Hybrid Estates" the first time! But if that wouldn´t be enough we also will try out something new... a surprise.

    Next stop is the International Media Facade Festival Europe, starting of 27th of Augut till 3rd of October. We participate as a joint broadcasting system that enables locals in Berlin / Germany and Liverpool / UK to communicate with the SMSlingshots in real-time over an urban mediascreen. There will be another version of this mass-communication-set up linking Berlin to Linz during the Ars Electronica festival. Finally we end this at MediaLab Prado in Madrid at the 11th of September shooting textmessages at the LED Facade of the lab during the White Nights festival.

    Beside this update on our activities we want you to push SMSlingshot in the public vote at the FILE festival. Just vote here (we are listed at page 6):
    fileprixlux public vote


    We've been awarded second at the Art of Engineering competition. Yess. Now we can put all the energy and efforts in the redesign and the upcoming events!


    There is a feature of our SMSlingshot to be seen in the new Die Gestalten book "Urban Interventions - personal projects in public space". 
    In the books chapter "Urban Canvas", our project is in quite prominent neighbourhood, right between the Graffiti Research Lab and Haque design+research. Our articles shows images from the Riga performance and the SMSlingshot itself. We feel very honoured to be part of this publication and thank Matthias Hübner for his consistent help and support.


    Being back from the USA for quite a while we now manage to update the site a bit. We published a paper in the TEI'10 conference proceedings and also put it online in the "about section". Hope you enjoy reading it. The paper clearifies our aims and means in a compact way and offers insights in construction and coding.


    After highlighting the Art of Engineering exhibition with our perfectly arty and absolutely non-engineered SMSlingshot build up, we are invited to the Hannover industry fair. We will be awarded as one of the best in the competition. So if you are interested, come and join the show on monday, 19th of april, Hannover fair in hall 2, stand D36.


    That thrills it all! Due to the massive Transmediale rush Evan Roth from the grafitti research lab is in town and will join our workshop about reclaiming techniques in urban space. The workshop will take place at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. The first part of the event will feature international institutes and art-groups dealing with urban-social topics and the second part is a discussion between economic spokesmen of big urban media agencies (Wall, Megaposter) and media theorists.

    Get the workshop program here!

    02.02.2010 - 15.02.2010

    "IT und Medienkunst"
    Some nice people think we might be a good example for combinig information technologies and engineering in an artsy way. That´s very surprising and we are glad for that given opportunity to show the SMSlingshot with 19 other participants in the "Art of Engineering" exhibition at Technikmuseum Berlin during the Transmediale Festival.


    We are very proud to present the SMSlingshot project at the conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI) 2010 at MIT Media Lab, Boston. We have a 15 minutes slot to tell our story so far, our plans for the future and what drives us right now. As far as we know the conference is already sold out, so there are no tickets left. For all of you who are interested in that field of research; there will be a report coming more or less realtime at www.tui.formundzweck.de.

    We´ll keep you updated!


    We are happy to announce that VR/URBAN is going to present a new interactive media installation at a contemporary art museum in Riga (Latvia). The installation is called SMSlingshot and is an extended development of last years spread.gun which was made for the media facades festival in Berlin.

    So we encourage you to have a look at this site during the next few weeks to get some more impressions of how it works, looks and sounds to shoot digital short messages on public walls.

    We also do some re-structuring work of the website, so everything can work much better then.

    The dates for the exhibition are:

    12th - 13th of September during the night at Kim?


    We would like to invite everybody to the Media Facades Festival 2008 in Berlin.

    The opening will be on Friday the 17th for press and sponsors and the opening-party will be on Saturday the 18th of October. For those two dates we will present the project the first time to the broad audience and encourage you to come along to type in some lines of statements to spread them onto the big f****** screen.

    The dates are:

    Friday 20.00 - 20.30 Friday 22.00 - 22.30 Saturday 19.00 - 20.00 (opening act)