Touch & go

Liquid Crystal Canvas

Korean artist Hybe’s work plays out on a monochrome LCD screen, displaying a mesmerizing and serene two-minute video. “Iris” uses a grid of circular, black liquid crystals which open and close like the iris of eyes, phasing in patterns and scenes. A video of the work can be seen here, and in-person, viewers can interact with it via Kinect, fluidly moving the matrix as they move.


QR codes seem to be sneaking off of subway ads and into our built environment. The Russian Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale was covered from dome-top to floor with codes giving a glimpse into future Russian cities dedicated to science. And a hotel room at the Hotel Modez in Arnhem is also covered in the black-and-white symbols – including custom-made curtains and bedspreads. And the AIA of Tampa is promoting information about the city’s best buildings via a QR-code tour – with 23 sites displaying the codes.

(Image of Ceramic QR)

Crowd Control

Concert-goers can do more than watch and listen, with new smartphone apps allowing for audience participation. Electronic musician Dan Deacon recently released an app that, when turned on by attendees, can be controlled by Deacon to emit different light and sounds. The musician is using the effect on his most recent tour, synchronizing users’ phones to create the light show, and provide another instrument altogether.

A Table of Your Own

Need the perfect table for your kitchen, but can’t find anything that fits? You can support small American manufacturing with a custom-design, made easy by the new site Custom Made. See what others have commissioned (furniture, jewelry, cabinets, etc), connect with makers, and track progress once you hire someone – all through the site.

(Image via The Makers Project)

Trace and Go

“Trace” is a new app for the iPad allowing architects and designers to do just that – trace – over imagery, sketches, plans, etc. The yellow trace “paper” sketches can be emailed, or layered over one another to allow for an easy view of revisions, and the opacity level can also be adjusted. The app gives users an entire flat files’ worth of work, all within the iPad.

Computer (P)Arts

The tiny bits and connectors forming the inner-workings of computers become spiritual art in Italian artist Leonardo Ulian’s Technological Mandalas series. The often-unseen parts’ beautiful colors and forms are revealed in Ulian’s hand-made lovely, intricate constructions, which are simultaneously inspired by Indian mandalas and the machine-made perfection of technology. “My circuits/ Mandalas…simply function as stimulus to produce simple questions like: what will happen if a real electric current flows through the Circuit/Mandala?”

Make it Yours

This coming weekend, Maker Faire rolls into New York, with tons of activities, workshops, lectures, and performances around design, technology, and the world of DIY. Taking over the New York Hall of Science in Queens, this year the fair includes speaker highlights like author Seth Godin, and interesting panel topics such as ”Design and DIY: How Makers are Influencing Product Design.” An app with all the info. on when and where to go is available here.

Numbers “Connect with All”

Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima works with his country’s contrasts, using numbers and technology to express concepts of human existence related to Buddhism. His artwork contains LED digital counters, which count from 1 to 9, but never register 0. “When they go blank, darkness becomes a substitute for zero,” the artist said. His compelling, luminescent work all revolves around the ideas of: “Keep Changing,” “Go On Forever,” and “Connect with All.”

Water Illumination

Artist Antonin Fourneau has developed a striking temporary graffiti system in Paris, giving visitors the opportunity to create illuminated art with water. Water Light Graffiti uses a giant matrix of LED’s embedded into a moisture-sensitive surface, which lights up when it comes in contact with water. The effects are incredible – and best of all, there’s no paint to clean up.

Balloon Flying App

Bringing the iPad into 3D, an interesting new app allows kids to playfully interact a pop-up paper hot air balloon with a video game onscreen.  In the game, users control the direction of the wind to move the balloon, land it on the ground, fly through clouds, and pass birds in the sky. The app is available for free, and the accompanying pop-up book is available here.


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