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Berlin Street Art Made More Interesting With QR Codes


Surely you have seen photos or images of various street art installations in various parts of the globe. But just imagine if these street art installations are actually able to do something more than just provide us with a visual feast. For example, imagine a street art that can actually sing.

In Berlin, a singing street art is not exactly something new. Berlin-based graffiti artist Sweza has been putting up posters with boomboxes around the city. But what makes these posters special are the quick response codes glued onto them, specifically on that part of the boombox image where you put in the cassette.

Passersby who notice the artwork and scan the QR code with their smartphone are automatically taken to an audio clip playing music. In other words, scanning the QR code turns your mobile phone into an old-school tape and you get to hear a song. Sweza, however, is working to program the QR codes so that the same boombox can play a new song every day.

Sweza, who has been busted in 1989 for scrawling drawings and tags on buildings around town, has been experimenting with these two-dimensional matrix codes. He began pasting the boombox posters this spring. So far, he has around 100 boombox posters playing around Berlin.

Previous QR Code Projects

These boombox posters are actually the latest of Sweza’s QR code-based street installations. His first project utilizing QR codes was called Graffyard and was a move to preserve graffiti for posterity. This involved taking photos of graffiti around Berlin, painting over these graffiti on the walls, and putting QR codes that take scanners to a photo of how the walls used to look with graffiti on them. It was a sort of a graffiti memorial.

Sweza’s second project involved stenciling QR codes on tiles and installing them under surveillance cameras. Scanners get a message saying “Attention! You are being filmed!”

Sweza’s boombox project, however, is the first that he could put anywhere.

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