Got your own blog yet? If not you'd better hurry up if you don't want to be beaten to it by a flock of pigeons. Later this year 20 of the birds will take to the skies above San Jose, California, each carrying a GPS receiver, air pollution sensors and a basic cellphone. They will measure levels of pollutants they encounter, and beam back their findings as text messages to a blog in real time.
"We are combining an air pollution sensor with a home-made cellphone," says interdisciplinary artist and researcher Beatriz da Costa of the University of California, Irvine, who came up with the idea of the pigeon blog with her students Cina Hazegh and Kevin Ponto. The team has built a prototype of the pigeons' kit containing a cellphone circuit board with SIM card and communication chips, a GPS receiver and carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide sensors. They now plan to squeeze all the components onto a single board small enough for the birds to carry in a back pack.
The pigeon bloggers are due to be released at the Inter-Society for Electronic Arts' (ISEA) annual symposium in San Jose on 5 August. The data they send back will be displayed on the blog in the form of an interactive map. As well as providing local residents with real-time data on air quality, da Costa hopes the pigeon blog will inspire people to come up with new ways to monitor the environment. The pigeons will also carry cameras around their necks and post aerial photos to the blog.
other article geek.com
analog-concept _ Urban Seeds - Urban Eyes attempt to provide an alternative view to the city, using pigeons as the messengers and the CCTV camera networks overlooking the main streets and back alleys as their eyes. The Data protection act in 1998 in UK made it possible for anyone to request for the CCTV camera feed when the camera would be filming them.
In 2004 the URBAN EYES concept is awarded 3rd price at FUSEDSPACE, an international competition for technology in/as public space and is chosen amongst 307 entries from 38 countries and invited to present at DEAF(Dutch Electronic Arts Festival) in Rotterdam FUSEDSPACE: http://www.fusedspace.com
concept paper pdf
Award winning cross-media project Urban Eyes is a networked urban space installation and critical design concept. It aims to provide an alternative view on the city, using pigeons as the messengers of camera and other imagery overlooking the main streets and back alleys as their eyes.
With the help of modern technology, Urban Eyes introduces a new agent to the layered data networks of any large scale cityplex, the living biomass and behaviour patterns of the city pigeon or rock dove (Columba livia). Born from the psychogeographic notions of Bill Drummonds map based concepts and a spoonful of sousveillance movement, Urban Eyes twists the panoptic atmosphere, asks what we know about modern security technology like RFID and connects us back to a very alive in the form of the animals, yet dead practice of shamanism in urban architectural "ruled" space.
Together with Jussi Ängeslevä, Marcus Kirsch will present the project's origins and concept back from his MA at the Royal College of Art and the findings of his research during the V2_ residency and will give an exclusive example run of the prototype built in and with the help of V2_ Lab over the last two month as well as Urban Eyes' future.
In a mixture of revived shamanism and panoptic view that might challenge the artificial network of CCTV cameras, the pigeon population's unpredictable movement patterns offer a set of eyes that could offer a unique view onto unknown places. Based on the Bavarian Pigeon Corps from 1903, where homing pigeons were equipped with tiny cameras to take aerial shots from behind enemy lines, Urban Eyes uses RFID and wireless technology to turn the once able urban pigeon into a chaotic agent and messenger of visual impressions from the road you never took.
Perceived as a critical design concept and public art installation, Urban Eyes accesses the live network of pigeons to expand what you know about your own city and reclaim the exploring stage of citylife
Marcus Kirsch (UK) is techno artist, new media designer and programmer. He holds a BA in Graphic Design, an MA in Interaction Design from Royal College of Art in London, after which he worked as researcher at the Media Lab Europe in Dublin and returned back to London in 2002, where he now works as international artist, designer, programmer and consultant. His work has been shown in England, Ireland and Holland on numerous events, with a recent invitation to 2004 Seoul Biennale and as exhibiting artist and speaker at last year's Rotterdam International Film Festival and Dutch Electronic Art Festival. His recent awards include a silver Art Directors Club NY and both a shortlisted project and pricewinning project Urban Eyes at 2004's fusedspace international urban technology competition in collaboration with Jussi Ängeslevä.