E-graffiti culture for the social networks generation

Author: Ury Smirnov. Category: Future city. Date:17.02.2009, 19:07.

When I can not explain something to my child in words, I take a magnetic tablet. Surely you know this toy: metal shavings over the transparent screen. One can draw with magnetic pen on the screen as with a black pencil on a sheet of paper. And the resulting picture can be at any time erased by moving the slider from one side of the screen to another. In such a simple way I explained to my child the universe system, the work of urban electric system, the scheme of blood circulation in the human body, etc. At the tablet we leave each other messages, reminders, and congratulations or just draw the simplest pictures.

Let’s take off the creative limitations of this toy and remove its management from a “parental control”. We’ll receive quite an adult “Designing gadget” to decorate our cities and to self-express of the citizens.

So, let’s imagine that the new device has already been created, and it can already be found in building supermarkets. You’ll bring home a heavy bag with a set designed for decorative furnish, promising a revolution in your home. Construction material in the package is a transparent joint compound, which is mixed with metal pellets. Pellets are unusual. They are magnetized, with a displaced center of gravity (for the better control of their positioning). Their spherical surface is painted with strictly fixed colors. The set is completed with an electromagnetic substrate, coupled with a cable control device (a set of automatic relay switches) which, in turn, is connected as an attachment to a PC. A special painting program had to be installed at this computer.

So, we install a cable, paste an electromagnetic substrate to the wall, and atop of it we salve and align one centimeter layer of filler. Then we engage the control device, which forces the substrate to work on a special program of double action:
a) The filler stiffens, becoming exceptionally hard and transparent surface;
b) The balls vibrate, stamping the stiffening filler and creating in it spherical cavities (the balls in these cavities can rotate relatively freely in all directions under the influence of electromagnetic substrate).

After completion of finishing work we obtain the so-called e-wall, randomly painted in all colors of the rainbow which is not surprising, because the balls with filler were “spread” on e-wall in full disarray. However, using a special electromagnetic pulse one can order positioning of all the balls, expanding their white sectors to the outside observer – thereby the color of the e-wall will be “reset” to white.

And then the pure art would begin: some parts of the electromagnetic substrate according a given computer program impact with different force on the contiguous transparent “plaster”, larded with balls – and the e-wall, as if by a magic paint brush, instantly changes color, texture, decorative pattern. If you wish, it becomes a pictorial reproduction of a famous painter. Or it converts into a photo from your family archive. Or it begins to flicker shots from beloved cartoon of your child. Or it stiffens as the list of family affairs for the next week and so on.

At any time you can stop these transformations, to disable the control device, computer, and sometimes even cut down the electrical plugs – but your “not volatile” situation on the e-wall will remain unchanged per day, or per month, or even per ten years (well, except that it may be to smear a little for long enough under the influence of external vibrations, solar flares and transport-communicative electromagnetic fields). It will “cover” the e-wall, like old wallpaper, unless you have a desire to make another “instant art-repair.”

Applications of this technology are obvious.

In homes / offices:

  • Quick change of interiors,
  • Entertainments for visitors and memorable autographs and for the hosts / client presentations,
  • Informational exchange, memos between members of the family / business teams, etc.

On the streets:

  • Quick “upgrade” of facades, with allowance for seasonal factors, holidays and other significant dates (ardent greetings to video-architectural concept!),
  • Citizens informing, creating a positive, cheerful, creative urban environment,
  • Outdoor multi-media advertising of a new type (the percentage of advertising space, types of buildings which facades would be allocated for advertising time and “broadcasting” should be strictly limited by law).

The technology also could be used in entertainment centers, design competitions and courses.
But this is not the end. The true fate of this idea is to give to every citizen the possibility to change the urban environment with his hands and on his own (so to speak, to carry out its “non-destructive editing”).

If the developers, urban planners and municipalities have enough courage, then once the compact gadgets (made, for example, in the form of keyring) will appear in the free market. Turning the electromagnetic ball with sector of the necessary color, you could paint with the same color any e-wall until discharged battery. Of course, just as easily, you can choose any other paints or erase painted on the e-wall, turning to yourself the ball in white. If you do not like paintings and inscriptions left by others – please erase and / or paint something of your own. This struggle of tastes and opinions will help minimize “censorship” of the city management operators of e-design. The operators will have another more important function: to find and store in a computer archives the most proper graffiti (for example, to repeat the exposition of popular masterpieces of the past during the holidays). By the way, the electromagnetic substrates can not only “paint”, but also “read” paintings – that is, to be the “eyes” of the operators.

The city, its streets, porches of houses will become:

  • Permanent art exhibition;
  • Holiday of datsibao;
  • An infinite friend tape;
  • Materializing the flow of thoughts and feelings of citizens;
  • Adult game of “secret signs” for the initiated;
  • Notepad, which always is near at hand (and may, for example, be useful to calculate on the e-wall the exchange rate or to draw for a tourist the way to the hotel).

Well, and outdoor advertising will become interactive game.

Graphic images, philosophical generalizations, declarations of love, requests for help or offences jamming in the brain – all these can be splashed out in the urban environment. All this will help us to feel better the rhythm, concerns and hopes of our city, to understand each other better. To understand what is really important for citizens: graffiti, reflecting the truly topical themes of “collective unconscious”, will remain intact for years, as if they are invisibly guarded by honor guards. However, if at sunset you will not find on the e-wall your own “Arts”, posted on it this morning – do not worry: all that was expressed from the soul, certainly had time to find someone’s response, become a response to someone’s questions of life and death.

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