Maker Faire: Digital Graffiti Wall

Craft & Design
Maker Faire: Digital Graffiti Wall

Every day I hear about another exciting project that will be at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place this weekend, May 22nd and 23rd, at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. One project I can’t wait to see and play with is the Tangible Graffiti Wall, brought from Vancouver by Tangible Interaction‘s Alex Biem. The Wall has been on display at various events, like the 2010 Winter Olympics, and we’re stoked it’s making its way to the Faire. No doubt, the Wall will be in good company. We chatted with Alex about his projects and what motivates him.

1. Tell us about the project you’re bringing to Maker Faire.

I am bringing the Tangible Graffiti Wall. This is a project we have been working on since 2007. People can draw on a rear projection screen using an IR Can. They can also use stencils, and when they are done they can email their creation or upload it to Twitter right from the Wall.

2. How did you hear about Maker Faire and why did you decide to participate?

Well, I am in Vancouver and I have heard about Maker Fair probably since the beginning. I always wanted to go and see what people are doing, but much to my surprise I was invited to come give a talk and share a project. I will be talking about Zygote Interactive Ball on Saturday, which is another on of our projects.

3. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started making things and who are your inspirations?

Hmm, that’s a long story actually. But to keep it short, I can tell you that since I was a kid I have always been fascinated with things and how they work, also how the laws of physics work. I am not so interested in these things from the scientific point of view but from how we experience them.

I started making things professionally in 2006, and in 2007 I stared Tangible Interaction, and I haven’t stopped since. I don’t have a person that inspired me as much as my own childhood did. I can connect most of my projects back to some experience I had as a child.


4. Is your project strictly a hobby or a budding business? Does it relate to your day job?

My project is also a business. Tangible is a design company — what we design are experiences. We do this as a creative/technical service for other companies. We also create our own products that we market mainly for events like the Graffiti Wall and Zygote Interactive Ball. And we have lately started to work on art projects.

5. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?

It is hard to say but I am most excited about working with other people that are much better than me at many things. Collaborating with musicians, industrial designers, graphic artists. Human interaction excites me more than things.

6. What is your motto?

My goal is to create an experience that reconnects people with their inner child.

7. What advice would you give to the young makers out there just getting started?

Keep it simple. Powerful ideas are the secret to a good, memorable experience — the ones that don’t require explanation.

Thanks, Alex! Can’t wait to play! For all the 411 you need about Maker Faire, including buying tickets online, check out the Maker Faire site. See you there!

2 thoughts on “Maker Faire: Digital Graffiti Wall

  1. Zwolle says:

    This reminds me of
    (Martin Lihs and Frank Matuse, Bauhaus University Weimar)

    […which I think is way cooler ;P ]

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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