Eight months ago I was waiting at 3am in downtown Reykjavík for a bus to take me to the Keflavík airport. Streets were unsurprisingly empty and quiet. Standing there, in the wee hours of the mourning, Harpa, the fancy concert hall built during the biggest recession in the history of the country that cost more than 160 million euros to build, caught my eye. I posted this in instagram:
Then a friend in Twitter mention mentioned the playful way the ligths are used in the building’s façade, to which I replied in a series of tweets:
This morning I recorded a small video of Harpa, the fancy Reykjavík Concert Hall. Building’s facade is a massive low-res display.— Aitor García Rey (@_aitor) June 25, 2015
Then @leptom’s reply made me think how easy would be to bring developers to public institutions & working on the commons. Open the resource!— Aitor García Rey (@_aitor) June 25, 2015
If authorities are worried on bad devs defacing the building, just create a small website where they can submit their “themes”.— Aitor García Rey (@_aitor) June 25, 2015
And then let the general public check the themes in an online simulator. The best ones every month get “running time” on the real building.— Aitor García Rey (@_aitor) June 25, 2015
There is nothing we devs like more than hacking on new stuff & viewing people using/enjoining our work. Why are governments not using this?— Aitor García Rey (@_aitor) June 25, 2015
Then 5 months later, Studio Ólafur Elíasson (the original author of the façade) and The City of Reykjavík, announced a competition for art works utilising the façade: “Harpa calls for light-based projects”. And then a a few weeks ago the winner, paint.is, was selected and given the opportunity to run the project. It’s an online simulator where colors splatted in the building’s diagram are transmitted to the façade.
Pretty astonishing how The City and Harpa got independently to exactly the same idea I proposed half a year earlier, huh? Anyway, I’m happy to see the public infrastructure used in an open, proactive way and I hope they will be more cities taking small steps in the future with their IoT and digital infrastructure.