Evan Roth is not your usual artist. You won’t find any oil paint stains on his shoes and no bronze statues in his studio. Roth’s canvas is the digital word and he does amazing things there.
Amazing and just plain funny too.
One of his projects was a test to see how fast he could become the #1 search result for the search term “Bad Ass Mother Fucker“. It took him exactly 13 days and 11 hours. His new goal is to be #1 for “baddass motherfucker” and then move up to just “bad ass“.
His other artworks are more serious and might even influence the way we interact with computers one day. Roth is one of the founding members of the EyeWriter project, an ongoing collaborative research effort to empower people who are suffering from ALS with creative technologies.
The EyeWriter project is a low-cost eye-tracking apparatus & custom software that allows graffiti writers and artists with paralysis resulting from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to draw using only their eyes.
Another famous project Roth worked on is the Graffiti Analysis project. It is described as “A digital graffiti blackbook designed for documenting more than just ink”. Graffiti Analysis is an extensive ongoing study in the motion of graffiti with custom software designed for graffiti writers. It creates visualizations of the often unseen motion involved in the creation of a tag.
The motion data is recorded, analyzed and archived in a free and open database and get be recreated with a computer and shown as an animation. You have to see it to understand it:
Although it would be easy to dismiss these artworks, or experiments, as just funny little projects they also offer a look into the future of what might be. The QWERTY keyboard is an awkward and inefficient way of interacting with the computer and so is the mouse.
The iPad is showing us that touch based input is a natural way of interacting with computers and I wouldn’t be surprised to see EyeWriter like system popping up in the future to allow even more interesting human to computer interfaces.
The Graffiti Analysis project is just as interesting. Computers have always been bad at showing emotions, cynicism or humor. I might be crying while I’m typing this is mad as hell, the text won’t show it. The only tools I have to make text more personal are the CAPS LOCK keys and the odd smiley. :-)
Maybe one day we will use a spinoff from Graffiti Analysis software developed by Roth to enter information with an Meta layer of emotions and intentions. You will read my email and see my mood visualized by dancing characters and flaming colors.
Evan Roth’s presentation will be a visual spectacle and offer some thoughts on what the future of human computer interfaces will bring. And of course it will be bad ass.
Read next: 15 things you didn’t know about the Simpsons