Last April interactive designer Ben Tricklebank was testing out a concept for his collaboration with data visualization artist Aaron Koblin – a long-exposure photography project called Light Echoes – and in the process was projecting a series of rainbow-esque color bands on a canyon wall using an RGB laser. Koblin had purchased the laser on eBay for $600 and sent it to Tricklebank, who then mounted it to his car and was photographing the colors it spit out to see if it could leave very temporary graffiti on the landscape. He was in the middle of nowhere outside of his current hometown of Los Angeles and thought he was alone. He wasn’t.
“I scared the wits out of this poor old guy,” Tricklebank told WIRED. “It was really late at night on this canyon road and there’s nobody around then this car just came out of nowhere, slowed right down and stopped – then just drove really slowly right through the laser. It looked incredible, but the look on this guy’s face was like he was having a close encounter.”
The creation of the Light Echoes photos and video – premiering as part of Doug Aitken’s Station to Station traveling art circus (also online here) – weren’t created while strapped to the roof rack of an Audi A3. Instead the images were created using a laser mounted on a specially made crane that rolls slowly along train tracks projecting an image pixel by pixel. The images were then captured using a Red Epic high-definition camera. The project is just the kind of thing digital artists Koblin and Tricklebank would dream up, but its rolling-stock aesthetic was inspired directly by Aitken.
“Doug reached out to me a while back and said, ‘I’m working on this train-based art extravaganza, what could you do in that context?’” Koblin told WIRED. “Basically, I thought the train itself, the physicality of the train was really interesting – the idea of space and time and how those play into perception.”
Photo: courtesy of Aaron Koblin and Ben Tricklebank
One of the most convincing roles of William Shatner’s career is also one of his least celebrated. It’s not listed on his IMDB page or in his Wikipedia entry, but in 1987, in between starring in T.J. Hooker and directing Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Shatner lent his talents to a surprising but worthy cause: Geography.
Shatner takes this promotional video for an open-source digital mapping software suite, rescues it from being another dull info-pitch for something you didn’t think you cared about, and turns it into an exciting voyage to explore a strange new world. Of maps.
Backed by a perfectly dramatic soundtrack, Shatner begins his narration, ”It’s no news that we all use maps to do our jobs. There are often problems using them in the traditional paper form, particularly when we can’t get the right information in the right format when we need it. There should be a better way.”
So here’s a challenge: Wired wants you to come up with your own Vine optical illusions and share them with us. Use the tag #WiredOpticalIllusion on your Vine posts over the next 24 hours — that’s right you have ONE DAY, folks — and we will collect our favorites and share them here on Gadget Lab. Only add the tag to your own videos, and only post new videos that you yourself (or you and your friends) created.
Wired has put a smorgasbord of images on its cover since issue 1.1 hit the stands in May 1993. They’ve run the gamut from Stephen Colbert to Lego figures and deep thoughts on the end of the web. The one thing they’ve shared in common is innovative, eye-catching design — from the loud neon hues of the 1990s to the quiet minimalism of our 20th anniversary issue. To commemorate that anniversary, community editor Brian Mossop worked with Wired’s video team to compile every cover — nearly 250 of them — in a 30-second video celebrating our first two decades. Enjoy!
The rock star cliché for a band headed to South by Southwest is a handful of gnarly dudes piling into a beater van and setting the GPS for Austin, Texas. But for New York singer/songwriter Laura Stevenson and the four guys in her indie-folk band, the reality is less fart jokes and drug-addled misadventure and more baked goods and early mornings.
We’ve been documenting their tour to SXSW this year - watch the first installment here! - and in the midst of all the shows and driving, Laura played us this acoustic version of her song, “The Move,” from the upcoming album, Wheel, due out on April 23rd.