JANUS: Sydney Smart Light 2009

26 May-14 June 2009
Project summary – Internet sites allowing share of social data and images have gained in recent years a high popularity. To this point these shared images and emotions are kept on personal displays but did not form a public mood expressed through emotions in public. The project proposes a pixel façade generated out of 191 grayscale-controlled solar powered light spheres arranged as a giant human face hanging above a street – people can MMS pictures of their faces to it and via a Facebook page, both accumulating facial emotions – the currently leading emotion will then modifies the face which is animated. . When there is a battle of emotions, the face switches, contorts and goes into a "generative pixel storm". The project is inspired by Janus, the roman god with two faces and Greek theatre masks and through emotional expressions generate a feedback loop between private mood and public image.
The photovoltaic solar powered Janus face is 3.5m tall and 1.8m wide, weighing 125kg.



Sep-Dec 2009 for UTS

Review under the direction of Professor Tom Barker, with Dr Hank Matthias, Joanne Jakovich, Carli Leimbach, Matthias Irger.

Above: some of the student ideas from the 2009 Esemplastic elective, see more at: http://esemplastic.wikispaces.com/


An integrated digital media campus at UTS would be a first in Australia and a first globally. It is a challenge that can build on existing facilities as well as introduce new facilities.
At the core of this work is the aim of finding better ways of showcasing, enhancing and encouraging the creativity, vibrancy and energy of the UTS campus users and visitors – catalysing and enhancing a kaleidoscopic rich mix of academic and campus life.
The focus of this study is to look at the opportunities for integrating Urban Digital Media into the UTS campus. With a comprehensive campus development underway over the next 5 years, the timing for this is appropriate.
The study aims to consider and answer this key question:-
What are the immediate and the future opportunities for the university as architecture and urban design evolve to take advantage of interactive Urban Digital Media technologies?
In doing so, the study investigates opportunities for the enhancement of the UTS experience, learning culture and community, through the provision of an integrated digital presence within the campus architecture and urban spaces. The study also considers the context and opportunities for the UTS campus in terms the of the city, partners and programme events. The international context and aspirations are also important.
The output from the study will be a multimedia presentation covering the strategy and ideas, supported by a concise summary document and a “next steps” routemap. The study will provide UTS with a good foundation for the adoption of Urban Digital Media, summarising the benefits and value, creative ideas and potential, outlining the risks, funding options, and timescales for implementation.


Urban Digital Media is a field that inhabits the intersection between architecture, information and culture in the arena of technology and building. It is needs driven: historically, the built environment has been based on centuries-old materials, construction techniques, and static functionality. But contemporary requirements also include adaptability, new modes of communication and transformative environments that offer flexibility for future needs and uses.
The term Urban Digital Media embraces a range of technologies that offer to enhance our built environments. These include digital tools, display technologies and networked communications that can transform and augment the constructed reality of a built environment, allowing new forms of intelligent, adaptive, interactive and self-aware information architecture to be developed. Urban Digital Media builds on the pervasive internet, mobile computing and communications technologies.
At the core of any Urban Digital Media implementation is content and programme. The potential is there for events-based activities and a very visual, physical public presence. In combination with an enhanced teaching and learning environment, this also offers UTS a public platform for better engagement and partnerships with the creative industries, technology interests, and the media.

Splendid Arts programme

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2009 - 2010
A cross-artform collaboration and part of the Splendour in the Grass annual festival, Byron Bay. Organised by Carli Leimbach. Tom Barker is one of 6 mentors to the programme, with a role as follows:-
• Participate as Provocateur for a week of the residential Arts Lab from Sunday 26 July to Friday 31 July 2009 in Lismore, which will include staying in Byron Bay for the Splendour in the Grass festival.
• Provide consultation (on-line) to the Splendid artists as they develop a project proposal over a 6 month development period after the Arts Lab, from August to December 2009, to premiere at Splendour in the Grass 2010.
• Participate in artist talks and forums during the Arts Lab.