Fix_My_Street_01 FixMyStreet is a pioneer project of the civic tech area. It is basically a web-application that lets citizens report problems with infrastructure in their city. The reports are then sent automatically to the responsible authorities, who should evaluate and eventually solve them. Potholes in the roads, broken street lights, abandoned vehicles can be easily marked in an online map, the web-app takes care of sending it to the local administration.

Unlike a project like Maerker, FixMyStreet was not started by local governments but by a non-profit organization called mySociety. Thus, the website does not take responsibility for resolving the problems reported, it just creates an easy way for the citizens to take action when they see some defect in the city’s infrastructure. This information is then forwarded to the corresponding authorities, who can process the requests and address the issues reported. The system should also prevent the repeated report of a single problem, streamlining the maintenance of infrastructures in the city. The application is now offered as a service to city councils.

As most of the web-based applications, FixMyStreet works across different platforms: desktop and mobile devices are supported and it can be accessed through the browser or through their own app. Since its launch back in 2007 the project has inspired other projects in other cities in all corners of the world. Similar applications have been created in Australia, Canada, Korea, New Zealand, Japan among others. As the code of the application is open source, other cities have continued its development, adding new features and adapting it to the particularities of each administration. For example, the Norwegian Unix User Group (NUUG) implemented FiksGataMi, adding support for openstreetmaps, and making many improvements to the code.

Fix My Street - Civic technology to report infrastructure problems
Screenshots: FixMyStreet


Pipette Installation, King's Cross © John-Sturrock Pipette is a light installation located at the new subway entrance tunnel of Saint Pancras Square, in King’s Cross, London. The tunnel was built to create a link between King’s Cross and St Pancras stations; a path that is used by 100.000 person per day. The light wall is the main feature of the tunnel, located on the outside of the curve, measuring nearly 100m long. It was conceived by Speirs & Major, with the artwork created by Miriam Sleeman (Cross Kings) and Tom Sloan Design.

The installation was created with the commuter’s day-to-day experience in mind. Instead of provoking hectic or stressing visual effects the team behind Pipette decided to create a calm atmosphere. When the pedestrians walk through the tunnel, they can enjoy a relaxing visual experience that contrasts with the often accelerated pace of urban life. The colors chosen by the team also reflect the concept of the installation.

The technology was provided by The Light Lab, which designed, manufactured & installed the seamlessly jointed glass wall, backlit with LEDs. It is capable of emitting the full RGB spectrum and a white light spectrum from 3.0K to 6.0K. This provides a continuous curved appearance, with no shadow lines throughout.

The tunnel itself was designed by Allies & Morrison architects. The wall was commissioned by Argent.

Pipette Installation, King's Cross Watch a video of Pipette…

Ava Fatah Gen. Schieck & Peter Dalsgaard

The conference chairs of the media architecture Biennale 2012, Ava Fatah Gen Schieck and Peter Dalsgaard, talk about the selection process for the conference. They explain how media architecture is a broad field that is being explored by different practitioners and thinkers. “On the one hand, you have traditional media façade papers; people going out and building these things and talking about their experiences. But it actually spans a much broader spectrum. So for instance we also have papers about soundscapes. We have discussions of theoretical aspects; frameworks we see emerging around ways of understanding media architecture, and how people are experiencing it – and also political papers.”

Ava Fatah and Peter are also the conference chairs for the MAB14. This year 39 papers from 23 different countries were submitted. We are looking forward for the 2014 conference!

UVA at the Serpentine Gallery

Serpentine Gallery intervention © United Visual Artists In 2013 the Serpentine Gallery commissioned architect Sou Fujimoto to design a temporary structure in the surrounding areas of the gallery. The Pavillion was constructed from 20mm steel poles arranged in a complex latticework that created a cloud-like structure. The structure occupied an area of 350 square-meter, yet its delicate structure blended itself with landscape of the gallery. The architect described this free-flowing space as a transparent terrain.

United visual artists (UVA) temporarily transformed the Serpentine Gallery’s summer pavilion, bringing the structure to life with lights installed in the matrix designed by Sou Fujimoto. The performative installation of UVA aims to make the architecture “breathe” around the people, as the light patters slide rapidly through the structure. The installation of UVA explores thoroughly the 3D possibilities offered by the pavilion, highlighting and deconstructing volumes with light. For this piece UVA reference their past works which, similar to Fujimoto’s, rely on geometric foundations and interests.

To create the installation, LED strips encased in plastic tubes were attached with magnets to the temporary pavilion’s steel grid. The performance was accompanied with thunder-like sounds, created by the artists by mixing samples of the hums and buzzes of electric power stations and synthesised sounds.

Watch more pictures of UVA’s intervention…

Motor city mapping – Rescuing Detroit from urban decay

The aim of the Motor City Mapping project is to support the renaissance or the creation of strong neighborhoods. Many buildings and homes in Detroit have good structural conditions, often with remarkable architecture and beautiful features, yet they are abandoned because of the blight that surrounds them. When the inhabitants realize that there is no future for their neighborhood’s they are simply forced to move somewhere else.

To counteract this trend, it is crucial to accelerate the process of demolishing the vacant buildings in poor conditions. However, identifying such buildings is an enormous task, that requires man force, inventiveness and a bit of technology. The Blight Removal Task Force was created to provide the City of Detroit with a blight removal system that use all the existing resources in Detroit and suggests new recommendations to set up a scalable, efficient, and environmentally safe strategy. As part of this strategy the Task force teamed up with Data Driven Detroit and Loveland Technologies to create a system to report, store and process the data related to structures in poor conditions.

Motor city mapping project © (more…)

Light barrier – Floating light shapes

light_barrier_kim_and_chips_01 Light Barrier is an art installation by Kimchi and Chips (Elliot Woods and Mimi Son). The installation premiered on 4–6 June 2014 at the New Media Night festival, a digital arts event including experimental music and workshops in Russia.

The installation crosses millions of light beams to create phantoms of light in the air. The rays are coordinated and directed towards single points. The combination of points generates shapes which float within its environment. This creates the impressive, ephemeral effect of the installation, where shapes magically appear, wander around and fade away. With this installation the artists explore the light barrier as a metaphor; a universal law which stops anything from travelling faster than a photon. The installation exposes exotic phenomena which serve to reinforce these fundamental laws.

light_barrier_kim_and_chips_02 Watch a video of Light Barrier…

Ninety Six – Inflatable pixels

Ninety Six installation © Nils Voelker Ninety Six is a site specific installation created by Nils Völker for the exhibition Höhenrausch at the OÖ Kulturquartier in Linz, Austria. It comprises 96 plastic arranged in a matrix. The plastic bags can be individually inflated and deflated in different rhythms that create wavelike animations in the wall. While each bag is mounted in a fixed position, the sequences of inflation and deflation create the impression of lively movements. Forms appear from the plastic bag matrix and disappear back into the surface. In this way shapes and the boundaries of the installation itself start to dissolve.

Ninety Six installation © Nils Voelker Watch a video of Ninety Six…

Sentiment mapping – Feelings about transport infrastructures

Sentiment mapping, feelings about public transport. © Commonplace is developing a web-based sentiment mapping application that monitors social networks to identify the citizen’s feelings in regard to public transport, road traffic, commuting nodes and other transport infrastructures. It is being developed in collaboration with the Royal College of Art, a leader in the application of design led thinking.

The goals of the project are ambitious. The idea is to combine information of different sources, like weather stations, social media, and official reports to help the passengers plan their journeys in an efficient and stress-free way.

The project is still in a very early phase of development. However, a simple prototype that fetches, stores and displays tweets concerning multiple transport modes is already available. The current version shows an area between London and Milton Keynes, where the passenger’s sentiments are shown in red and green blobs. Another graphic shows the evolution of the mood during the day, including those about trains, buses and tubes.


SESI-SP digital art gallery

SESI-SP digital art gallery © Verve Cultural The facade of the SESI-SP digital art gallery was inaugurated in 2012, as a result of a pioneer initiative of Verve Cultural in São Paulo. The “Luís Eulálio de Bueno Vidigal Filho” building, was erected in 1979 at the cultural epicenter of the city. With its particular pyramidal form, the building has been an icon of the urban life in São Paulo, and now plays an important role in the landscape of the city. Recently its facade was turned into the first open air gallery of Latin America. With an electric consumption of 4,5 kVA, the same as a normal residential house, the electronic infrastructure has 26 thousands LED clusters. The system allows the display of 4,3 millions of colors.

In its opening, with the SP Digital Urban Festival, the platform was mainly used for the display of visual works. The aim was to create a new channel for cultural dissemination as part of the city, promoting the integration of art in urban space through the visualization of magnetic waves, flows of information and the visual expression of São Paulo’s pulse and rhythm. Later some interfaces have been implemented for direct interaction with the public, for example during the Play! exhibition, which was inspired by the universe of video games and highlighted the cultural value of Game Art.

SESI-SP digital art gallery © Verve Cultural Watch a video of the SESI-SP digital art gallery…

Shanghai Pearl TV Tower

Located on the east side of Huangpu River, near the Lujiazuei International Financial District and a striking contrast to the neo-classical buildings along the Bund on the opposite river bank, Shanghai Pearl TV Tower is not only the most remarkable building in Shanghai, but has become the symbolic icon that illuminating the energetic and cultural image of Shanghai City that continuously showcases her beauty to the world.

Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower was built and completed on 1 October, 1994. Though twenty years have come and gone, this iconic Tower has seen an influx of thousands and upon thousands of visitors from all over the world, coming together to embrace the beauty of this Pearl Tower.

As planned, the outdoor lighting system has been re-designed and renovated every decade in order to usher in a new era that shows the best of her beauty to the world. This year, 2014, marks Phase 2 of the renovation, which stands for the most advanced outdoor lighting design and technology. It is expected to attain the world-class level as well as showing the culture, technology, innovation, romance and irresistible charm that surprises all visitors all over the world not only to behold but to gain an amazing experience. StrongLED, as the responsible company for the execution of phase 2 of the project, has achieved an outstanding work.

Shanghai_Pearl_Tower_Light_and_Music_Show_01 (more…)