The London Design Festival invited Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram to design this year`s Trafalgar Square Installation in Central London. Their project entitled Outrace empowers the general public to take control of eight large-scale industrial robots on loan from Audi's manufacturing line that will descend onto London's most public square. Both visitors to the square and a global web audience can send large scale three dimensional light messages through the installation via www.outrace.org on 16-23 September 2010.
Outrace is a temporary production facility for writing holographic messages. Visitors to Trafalgar Square and the remote global public can take control over eight magnificent robotic tentacles by logging onto the project website and broadcasting a short text message, which is then ingeniously transcribed as real-time light traces.
The powerful light heads attached to the synchronized mechanical arms make use of LED technology from the Audi R15 TDI racecar, winner of this year's 24h of LeMans. The heads trace letters in the air with spectacular precision and elegant determination. As a user's message is drawn, the light trace is simultaneously recorded through a system of high definition, long-exposure cameras, encoded as a video and relayed back to be shared across social media.
Weisshaar and Kram allow visitors a glimpse into Audi's 21st century automotive manufacturing processes by relocating technology from its everyday context behind factory walls to London's most public square. Within our midst the robots become mighty ambassadors from a foreign land that produce the goods we use and the cars we drive. The designers and programmers of Kram/Weisshaar, renowned for their work with the latest technology, spent nearly three months with a team of Audi automation and robotics experts developing the systems driving Outrace.
Outrace will operate daily 16-23 September during the London Design Festival in Trafalgar Square.
Over the last ten years, Trafalgar Square has become a platform for innovation and experimentation in the arts, with its famous fourth plinth becoming a setting for a sequence of contemporary artworks by Anthony Gormley, Thomas Schutte and the square itself for Installations by Tom Dixon and Jaime Hayon during the London Design Festival. This year's installation looks to challenge the notions of technology and media that have swiftly become part of our daily lives with a project unlike anything ever seen on the Square before.