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dead pixel art

Recently most European cities have been invaded by large scale commercial displays which got shamelessly embedded into buildings and façades. Their main purpose is to illuminate the visual cortex of passers-bys with brands, advertisements and short excitations. During the last decade artists and designers have been encouraged to produce content for those screens to re-appropriate this quasi-private space. Those attempts hardly ever have gotten more exciting than being purely aesthetic and decorative versions of already existing screensavers and visualizations. Other artistic strategies include attacking the gist of those LED walls.

Since most of those media façades consist of a huge multiplexed grid of single controlled LEDs, their control is based on a high-frequency pulse which can be interrupted by emitting a directed high-voltage electromagnetic impulse. By doing so, multiplexed signals get slightly distracted and some dead or glitched pixels will appear. Such a device has been proposed by Martin Kaltenbrunner in June 2011 and we are curious to see various realisations of that device popping up around the globe. I guess a couple of those devices wouldn’t be a miss at Shanghai’s embankment next to the Huangpu river. A similar even though reverse effect has been discovered by moddr_ while using a self-built LED billboard consisting of blank copper wires and an AM radio for generating sound based on the current animation. A self-explaining video of that process/discovery can be found here.