James Powderly, an ITP alumn, gave a talk about his work with the Graffiti Research Lab (GRL). After ITP and before starting the GRL, he worked for a while at a robotics firm where he was involved with projects for NASA. But it is his work with GRL that is most interesting to me, I see a connection between what they are doing and one of my thesis ideas (the one that involves statue modification.)
GRL is about hacking urban systems. James talked about the simple things that can and have been done with LEDs, magnetic/conductive paint and tape. Two things during his talk caught my attention. The first was the simplicity of the projects described. For example, taping stenciled foamcore to one of those horrible flashing billboards you sometimes see above subway entrances— a very low-tech and effective project. James says, “Technology scares people. Crafts don’t.” The other thing that struck me was how GRL concerns itself with a sort of urban camouflage. James asked, “How do you get people to ignore you?”
Also, the projection bombing was amazing and really inspiring. Toward the end of his talk he also mentioned documentation in other languages, and some artists who are documenting projects in Spanish only. I would like to find out more about this. Perhaps I should start documenting my work in Spanish, heaven knows I could use the practice.
Ok, enough writing for now. You know too much already…