Digital Paint Bombs


  • VR/Urban is a Berlin/Glasgow-based collective of ‘public media interventionists’ that works together to create real-time installations. The aim of all their projects is to reclaim urban screens for the public, and so they did with the SMSlingshot project. This neat installation consists of a mobile text gun for spreading information on public screens and media facades. It enables people to launch digital paint bombs at buildings and walls, containing text messages they’ve typed on the phone-sized wooden keypad which is integrated in the wooden slingshot device. After shooting, the messages appear as colored splashes with the message written within, and they will also be real-time twittered.

    “Because of the increased commercial interest of paving public space with digital advertising screens the need for accessible intervention devices seemed obvious and necessary. The wish and habit to comment (tag) the surrounding world is also an ancient and still vivant phenomena we try to preserve. (…) People shall not only remain as a passive audience, they must obtain the privilege and beside that the right tools to create their own multimedia content in the streets. The more and more mushrooming media facades, LED supplied walls and huge projections are interesting and worthy technical innovations for the people, but in contrast to the old-fashioned posters in the streets, it is nearly impossible to create own content for these facades or even hang up your digital video.”

    The SMSlingshot consists of a projector-equipped minibus and of course the device itself, which is equipped with an ultra-high frequency radio, a hacked Arduino board, a laser, and batteries. Visit the project website to learn more about ‘the making of’.