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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Reware Project

The Reware project is my brother current gig for the summer, the short story is he's taking outdated hardware and making art with it. Very cool.

I'll let him describe it below, but I encourage you to contact him and donate any old cell phones or PDA's you have sitting on a shelf:

First off, I’ll start with the description of the project from my application to this residency:

We are surrounded by gadgets, from iPods to phones to PDAs. These little black boxes are in fact full-fledged computers and are eminently hackable. Yet all of these devices are built around one assumption: someone else creates, you consume. They are locked down and when using them, you are prevented from doing anything but consuming: consuming media and consuming minutes. On top of that, we discard these devices at an alarming rate. By creating new possibilities for these devices, this project will stem the tide of electronic waste, and in the process, make open, democratic, and sustainable gadgets. Thanks to many hardcore hackers, you can now run Linux-based open source software on them. Once you have Linux on them, you can transform them into true read/write digital tools that free you to create your own gadgets.

Starting with my own obsolete devices, I will develop a number of different experiences, catering to each device’s strong points, be it in wireless networking, sound generation, or touchscreen interaction. The good ones will become kits with how-tos, so people can easily build them with their own obsolete gadgets. Two old iPods mounted flat in a custom mount makes a set of mini-turntables, an old wifi router attached to a solar panel becomes a free telephone system to serve a small community, a PDA built into a guitar body makes a touchscreen guitar.

For this residency, I will create a few such projects, starting to post info and how-tos after a month. I will prepare a workshop to give after two months, then after that, continue with hacklabs every two weeks so help people develop their projects as I develop mine. This activity lays the foundations for building a framework for people to turn their electronic trash into devices which encourage interactive engagement. Like C++ behind OpenFrameworks, Python and Pd run on these devices, and upon this a framework can be built for creating rich interactive applications.

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