Performative Hacking Google Street View

Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 14.07.20

Two artists, Ben Kinsley and Robin Hewlett have taken flash mobs to the next level. They staged collective performances with the local community just as the google street car was driving through Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh. Viking fights, parades, love doctors and fleeing damsels in distress are now all archived on google maps for all to see. My favourite piece, for sheer bizarreness, is probably the giant chicken. The performance has a conceptual grounding in the current tension and fear about digital surveillance. It links quite nicely with Google’s current situation with China.

I think the artists could have pushed the idea a bit more. Performances could have been a bit more subtle, perhaps disguised as bizarre situations in a real context. The parade, for example, is rather what you would expect. If it was me, I’d like to stage lots of performances of people doing bizarre things they shouldn’t.. here’s the error thing coming back again.. if at the very least to add more variety to the peeing photo’s on google street view. More like this and this.

The piece is being shown at Manipulating Reality until January 17 at CCCS-Strozzina in Florence


Jack Schulze

“Some people (they are wrong) say design is about solving problems. Obviously designers do solve problems, but then so do dentists.

Design is about cultural invention.

There are some people who want to reduce the domain of design to listable, knowable stuff, so it’s easy to talk about. Design is a glamorous, glittering world and this means they can engage without having to actually risk themselves on the outcome of their work. This is damaging. It turns design into something terrified of invention.

Design is about risk. We all fear authentic public response to our work, but we have to be brave enough to overcome.”

Perfect. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
From Six Questions from Kicker: Jack Schulze

Networking the world’s beaches

A wee post about risk and how to design with risk rather than against it. The beach has always been an area of great attraction, and great intrepidation amongst us humans. With growing pollutants and extreme weather conditions, our beaches are becoming more like ones out of JAWS – unpredictable areas that are difficult to gauge if it is safe to swim, or, if you’re so inclined, surf, sail and fish. So what if our beaches were equipped with sensors that measured environmental conditions and fed that information through the internet to people in real time?

Well Britain’s next-door neighbour has already started doing this.


Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency has worked with IBM to set up for people to track data received by solar-powered sensors on buoys floating in the sea. The website has a bit to be desired in communicating this information effectively. First-off it would be good if it worked on safari. But the framework is there. They just need a good designer to help them reach the audience they desire.

Beautiful Steps #2


I just came across this amazing staircase by swiss artists Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann. The construction itself is enough to make my tummy spin. At first look, I thought this was a functioning staircase, and was amazed it could have gotten past all the safety regulations (I know all about the domestic side of this from looking to install a staircase in my flat in London). However, the fact that Lang and Baumann are called artists, rather than architects or designers, gives the game away. This is art, not design, and thus does not to conform.

But it’s not just this. After the read more you’ll see what happens when the sun shines through the staircase.

Hot Play

Play+Risk=Hot Play
Through playful exploration, we put ourselves at more risk from our environment, and learn more about ourselves and our surroundings.