10 Clever Web-Inspired Street Art Projects


We love the virtual world as much as the next guy, but we have to admit, the sights, sounds, and feel good tactile fun of good ol’ fashioned reality often have us questioning the ungodly amount of time we spend online. Just last week the Singapore-based global conversation agency, we are social, posted a fascinating infographic reporting that collectively the world spends 35 billion minutes per month online. If that staggering statistic has you racing to book an unplugged retreat in a yurt on California’s Central Coast, then consider this us flipping the doom and gloom of an extravagant virtual existence on it’s head with a playful look at some of the best things that the online world has that the offline world doesn’t.

If you’ve ever found yourself wanting to “Like” something you saw on the street or wishing that super helpful red Google map marker would just magically pop up over the hot new back alley speakeasy that you can’t find to save your life, then consider this our gift to your overactive, virtually-obsessed imagination. From real world error boxes to an offline file sharing treasure hunt to statement stickers that let you share your opinion about stuff you see on the streets ala your favorite Facebook action, click through to check out our roundup of the street art movement’s answer to your plugged in prayers.

Real world pop-up blocking

Image credit: The Pop-Up City

The Pop-Down Project is a movement originating in France that brings pop-up blocking to real-life advertising via made-to-order red “Close” boxes, just like the ones that you’d click on online. As the creators explain, “On the Internet, getting rid of unsolicited pop-ups is pretty easy: A basic pop-up blocker does the trick. In real life, things are a tad more complicated. On one hand, it is virtually impossible to interact with the old-fashioned media. And on the other hand, it is not in the interest of either billboard operators nor brands to allow passers-by to click their way out of the sacred media exposure.”

Facebook Like/Dislike stickers

Image credit: urbanshit

The Urban Cursor

Image credit: URBAN CURSOR

An alternative to a park bench, the Urban Cursor was designed not only for seating, but also for touching and moving. The artist’s website tells us that “despite being removed from its normal screen based environment, the cursor is still in touch with the digital world. Via an embedded GPS device, the cursor transmits its geographic coordinates to a website.” Participants could follow the movement of the bench on Google Maps, as well as upload photos of the cursor whenever they encountered it.

Twitter street art

Image credit: Questionmarc

Street art expressions in Paris inspired by Twitter.

Offline file-sharing network in public space

Image credit: deaddrops

Aram Bartholl, a Berlin-based media artist and the creator of Dead Drops, tells us that it is “an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space.” Here’s how it works: “USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project.”

Fun fact: The first five Dead Drops are in New York! There’s one next to the New Museum on Bowery, one in Union Square and one in Dumbo’s Empire Fulton Ferry Park.

Google Map Markers in real places

Image credit: Aram Bartholl

Another bit of Bartholl brilliance, Map is a public space installation that involves placing a life size version of Google Maps’ red map marker at the exact spot where it says you’ll find the city center of the city. “Transferred to physical space the map marker questions the relation of the digital information space to every day life public city space,” he explains in his artist statement. “The perception of the city is increasingly influenced by geolocation services.

A seat that tweets

Image credit: Chris McNicholl

Product designer Chris McNicholl’s TweetingSeat is an “interactive park bench” that logs its usage by uploading images of the people who sit on it to a Twitter feed. Follow @tweetingseat and view images captured by the seat on TwitPic.

Real world error box

Image credit: ich bin KONG

Tim Schneider’s real world error boxes offer candid cultural commentary on real world media messaging by alerting the public to the following: “An Error has occurred in your brain. This process has caused fatal boredom and therefore will be closed permanently. Please save all thoughts in progress and reboot your brain.”

Flashing arrows on the streets of Berlin

Image credit: Aram Bartholl

Speed takes the big flashing arrows from a computer game called Need for Speed Underground 2 and transfers them from a simulated city to a the streets of Berlin, highlighting the dramatic difference in the way the viewer reacts to seeing them in each scenario.

Real World Pac-Man

Image credit: Patrick Runte

While Hamburg-based photographer Patrick Runte’s recreated scenes from classic video games might not be web-inspired, they’re so much fun that we couldn’t not include them. “The work is inspired by Oskar Schlemmer and his idea of the ‘Triadic Ballett’ and the term ‘Streetplay,'” he has explained. “I wanted to compile old video games, which are based on simple geometric forms and make them able to be felt by the human body.”