projectCAR began as a project for the graduate seminar “Design and Technology for Mobile Experiences,” taught by Julian Bleecker. It offered graduate students the opportunity to develop an informed sense of the possibilities for Mobile Interactive Media in a variety of idioms, including entertainment, collaboration and communication. In societies where Mobile Interactive Media aspires to be ubiquitous, understanding the opportunities for creating compelling mobile experiences has become vital. This seminar developed two collaborative projects, with two core teams executing each, of which the projectCAR platform development was one.
projectCAR explores the media possibilities of LA’s most ubiquitous mobile tool – the car. It is an experiment in communicating through commuting, using a 1983 Volvo station wagon and a “Commuter Art Rig.” The Rig, depending on the scenario, can consist of an LED screen, FM transmitter, stickers, signs, mobile phone, laptop, and a GPS tracker.
The group developed one scenario, entitled “Mobile Confessional”. Upon seeing the vehicle while stuck in traffic, commuters can call in to hear the message: “Welcome to the Mobile Confessional. Our service provides callers a safe and anonymous place to confess their sins to the world while commuting in Los Angeles . . Your confession and an appropriate penance will be scrolled across the electronic sign in the back of the mobile confessional vehicle. Please, take a moment to share your sins with the world, so that all may forgive you.” The confessing commuter can then see his/her sin displayed on a bright LED screen in the middle of traffic, along with an appropriate penance, courtesy of the projectCAR team. It is confession-on-the-go for the modern worker.
Currently projectCAR is developing other scenarios through which to experiment and explore the use of a car as a medium, and traffic as its captured audience.