An interactive show by VR/Urban - Germany
2nd D-CAF Festival, Downtown Cairo, Egypt
VR/Urban is a German collective of artists, designers, and researchers focusing on technology, media sciences, and architecture. Since 2008, the collective has been working on empowering the public by designing creative tools that encourage interaction with their environment, particularly with advertising screens and billboards in major cities. Unlike print ads on billboards, recent changes in the technology used in campaigns by governments and private corporations has made it difficult for the public to respond and express themselves with simple tools such as graffiti. In response, VR/Urban sought to level the fields of marketing and political rhetoric and designed a tool in the shape of a slingshot for people to first type their messages then project them onto advertising screens. When they were invited to contribute to the 2nd Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival, they altered their SMSlingshot to enable passers-by on Downtown Cairo`s al-Boursa Street to write their own messages in Arabic. This live show attracted various participants, from the elderly to young people, and even children. Many of the messages commented on the developing political situation in Egypt. But one man opted for a different approach and decided to propose to his loved one through a message projected on the wall.
In this video, urban media researcher and programmer Patrick Tobias Fischer and Sebastian Piatza, a designer and researcher, discuss the design of the SMSlingshot and how they encourage people around the world to design similar artistic tools that encourage freedom of speech and expression.
[This video is produced by Medrar TV and is featured as part of a new partnership with Jadaliyya Culture.]