VR/Urban SMSlingshot

Urban intervention

The SMSlingshot was a great success. We travelled around the whole globe, showcased and exhibited in well known galleries, big museums and little art fairs. To get a brief overview, watch the video.

The Concept

Because of the increased commercial interest of paving public space with digital advertising screens the need for an accessibel 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. Our concept of VR/Urban aims for claiming back urban space and and give the inhabitants a tool for occupiing urban screens. 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 Device

The SMSlingshot is an autonom working device, equipped with an ultra-high frequency radio, hacked arduino board, laser and batteries. Text messages can be typed on a phone-sized wooden keypad which is integrated in the also wooden slingshot. After the message is finished, the user can aim on a media facade and send/shoot the message straight to the targeted point. It will then appear as a colored splash with the message written within. The text message will also be real-time twittered – just in case.



The SMSlingshot was first presented in autumn 2009 during the Balta Nakts festival at the contemporary art museum in Riga, capital of Latvia. It was created by our free media art corrective called VR/Urban. The aim of this art collective is to create new formats to push graffiti and public art into new spheres of digitality, augmented reality and neo situative art. The whole project is very good documented on our collectives website: www.vrurban.org. There you can download various images of the design process, explaining pdf files and soon the link to the open source library. We did not and will not do any corporate events with the SMSlingshot. We strongly believe this object is made for public use, for free speech and against the power of pervasive advertising in urban space.

The picture below is from Paola Antonelli's MoMA Exhibition "Talk To Me", which also featured the first Version of the SMSlingshot. The full exhibition history can be seen at the output page.


[1] Patrick Tobias Fischer, Eva Hornecker, Christian Zoellner. SMSlingshot: An Expert Amateur DIY Case Study. Proc. of TEI'13. ACM, pp. 9-16.

[2] Patrick Tobias Fischer, Christian Zöllner, Thilo Hoffmann, and Sebastian Piatza. 2010. VR/Urban: SMSingshot. In Proceedings of the fourth international conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction (TEI '10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 381-382.



Patrick Tobias Fischer
Christian Zöllner
Sebastian Piatza
Thilo Hoffmann

The Constitute
Talk about Amateur DIY process at TEI conference

Press Links:
Project description in Japanease by UNSORTED
Interview by InAVate