Urban activists reclaim the screens - Video

A group of “public media interventionists” called VR/Urban has demonstrated an innovative method by which the public reclaim the screens in its urban environments. The so-called SMSlingshot is a continuation of the collective’s aim to “reclaim urban screens for the public. In the tradition of situative art and graffiti culture, VR/Urban augments existing city structures with digital and interactive media-art.” - Video in the main story.

If, like me, you have been known to express a certain amount of scepticism regarding the surge of DOOH displays in our public spaces this project comes as a breath of fresh air!

In the words of VR/Urban’s website:

“The ever mushrooming number of media facades, LED supplied walls and huge projections are interesting and worthy technical innovations for the people, but in contrast to the old fashioned posters in the streets, it is nearly impossible to create ones own content for these facades or even hang up your own digital video.”

In response to this frustration, the group created the SMSlingshot, a device equipped with an ultra-high frequency radio, hacked arduino board, laser and batteries. Text messages can be typed on a phone-sized wooden keypad, which is integrated in the also wooden slingshot. After the message is finished, the user can aim at a media facade and send/shoot the message straight to the targeted point. It will then appear as a coloured splash with the message written on it, whilst at the same time being tweeted!

The project was first demonstrated at an installation at a contemporary art museum in Latvia, and is on tour to Berlin, Liverpool and Madrid between August and October. Not sure what the media agencies would make of it, but I think it’s great.

For our German speaking readers there’s also a video here, which I think contains more explanation: