Nearly all the credit for this little project should go to John Young and Chris Thompson – a month or so ago they posted some pictures of a linoleum QR Code to Flickr and I started thinking… John and Chris’ intent, I believe, is to place QR Code tiles around their stomping grounds and link them – via John’s p8tch redirection server – to local info. My idea was less useful – useless, even – and goofily self-referential. First, two definitions:
QR Codes – a matrix code or two dimensional bar code. QR Codes are big in Japan; they’re used to feed URLs to cell phones.
Toynbee Tiles – “are messages of mysterious origin found embedded in asphalt in about two dozen major cities in the United States and three South American capitals.” *
With Chris’ help, make some QR Code Toynbee tiles and deploy them here and there (if I can get this going, I’ll be looking for tile droppers world wide). When and if someone scans the tile, they are taken to a web site where they are presented with a random image of a real Toynbee Tile. Not only would it be a cool bauble, it would also bring together a couple threads I’ve been thinking about – the almost unnoticed human extension via gadgets that’s happening ever more quickly and the slightly slower machine info embedding that’s rolling out here and there.
The web site – mtoynbee.com – is up and running. The ‘m’ stands for mediated or meta or messed-up or whatever else you care to force fit. You can click on the picture of the tile to access the blog where I’m stashing more info – n.b. – the QR Code post is sticky (at least for now); it will stay on top and the most recent post will be directly below it. The current sub-project is adhesive testing; the QRCode Toynbee Tiles need to stay intact and well-aligned. We humans, with our great pattern recognition skills, can pull meaning out of a tile that’s pretty bunged up – bar code scanners are nowhere near as good.
I’ll post little updates here, pointing over to the Mediated Toynbee blog, when we hit milestones.