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by Clemens Weisshaar & Reed Kram
Commissioned by the London Design Festival 2010
Supported and enabled by AUDI AG
From September 16 to 23, 2010 the OUTRACE installation by designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram empowers the general public to take control of eight industrial robots on loan from Audi’s production line in the heart of London on Trafalgar Square.
OUTRACE is a popup factory: a temporary production facility for writing large scale messages with light in three dimensions. By attaching light heads onto synchronized mechanical tentacles equipped with LED technology from the Audi R15 race car (winner of this year’s 24h of LeMans), the installation ingeniously allows users to transcribe light trace messages into the air in real time.
Logging in to the web site with a mobile device or computer, a global audience can send text messages to the robots, directing the paths of the lights held by the robotic tentacles into the letter forms of the user’s text message. Long-exposure cameras capture these interactive light paintings, emailing them back to the original author, to the project website and to social media to be shared.
These seemingly implausible machines, pulled from the pages of a science fiction novel, are in fact ubiquitous throughout the high tech production facilities of Audi. Removed from their everyday context behind factory walls and taken on a trip to London’s most public square they become mighty ambassadors, demonstrating the leadership role of Audi in new advanced production processes and communication approaches and the ongoing commitment by Audi to “Vorsprung durch Technik”.