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On Tuesday 11 March 2014, the Creative Foundation announced details of the artists commissioned for the third edition of Folkestone Triennial, one of the UK’s most ambitious art exhibitions. Internationally recognised artists have been commissioned to create a collection of new artworks to be exhibited in Folkestone’s public spaces under the title Lookout. Folkestone Triennial runs from 30 August – 2 November 2014. (more…)



We have been learning to fly in advance of our residency at CLUI. There has been plenty of crashing but we are getting the hang of it.


This is our drone and camera set up.


Bug Out Location/Tactical Shelter

rootoftwo and daub have been selected for The Center for Land Use Interpretation’s Wendover Residence Program.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation is a research and education organization dedicated to the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation’s lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived. Wendover Airbase is an unused former World War II airfield situated in 3.5 million acres of desert including the Great Salt Lake. Wendover was the home of the training program for the first atomic bombing missions carried out on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation

rootoftwo and daub will use the residency this summer to conduct tests for a new project: B.O.L.T.S. (Bug Out Location/Tactical Shelter). B.O.L.T.S. explores the aesthetics of privacy. B.O.L.T.S. prevents thermal, audio and visual detection and provokes new types of interaction in the form of a speculative doomsday shelter. B.O.L.T.S. is an architectural-scale “security blanket” for combating ubiquitous aerial surveillance (drones).

B.O.L.T.S. makes reference to a quantity of fabric for purchase, a quick escape, and a locking mechanism and can be thought of as a safe shelter or hiding place for inhabitants. In the wake of recent natural disasters and human conflict and increasing speculation of existential threats, the work seeks to question the position of architecture in the context of contemporary issues of survival, security and privacy.

Whithervane System

Whithervane System

Whithervane is a new work for the public realm – a network of five headless chickens. These 21st Century weather vanes are controlled by the climate of fear on the Internet. They will be presented within sight of each other on the highest points of five buildings.

Whithervane App

Whithervane App

The Whithervanes parse newsfeeds looking for predetermined keywords  related to fear (e.g. natural disaster, economic collapse, war, etc.) When fear is encountered the chickens respond by rotating away at increasing speeds from fear hotspots and illuminating different  colors triggered by specific levels of fear.

Whithervane Cloud Parsing

Whithervane Cloud Parsing

The Whithervanes are connected to each other via the internet. They share real time newsfeed data from around the World with each other. On any given day the preoccupations of the World’s media will cause them to be ‘blown’ around according to what is occurring. This will manifest as an emergent group behavior among the ‘flock’. Passersby can influence this group behavior by escalating or calming individual Whithervanes. In turn, this behavior will influence the rest of the array.

An array of 5 Whithervanes

An array of 5 Whithervanes

An array of 5 Whithervanes that communicate with each other, the cloud and the public. While this work is intentionally humorous, we hope the public become conscious of how much our contemporary media, policy and political frameworks utilize fear as a persuasive method.


A headless chicken

The public can influence the individual Whithervanes by interacting with them via a smartphone app. They can add to the escalation of fear or attempt to counteract it by sending the messages “The sky is falling!” or “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Whithervane Illumination

Whithervane Illumination

Whithervane illumination consists of five color-coded fear levels:

Severe (red)
High (orange)
Elevated (yellow)
Guarded (blue)
Low (green)

We are currently in pre-production of this work (to debut in 2014).

menotme in detroit from Karl Daubmann on Vimeo.

It’s installed!

Work on menotme progresses.


rootoftwo & daub (Karl Daubmann) are collaborating on a new work for the DLECTRICITY nighttime, outdoor contemporary art festival.

menotme is a luminous, playful, responsive form activated by squeezing which causes it to purr, giggle, and burp and is designed to provoke public affection as a defense against post‑industrial anxiety. menotme is an urban comfort object; part street toy, part environment. For DLECTRICITY, rootoftwo + daub have created menotme to inspire new types of social behavior, interaction and play. Participation is essential. The more you interact with it, the more it will perform. Organic in form and feel, menotme creates a comfy place to dawdle during the festival where informal social exchanges and a good cuddle with the work are encouraged. rootoftwo + daub are interested in transforming the urban environment in ways that increase socialization and pleasure.

The work will be on public view in the grounds of the Horace H. Rackham Education Memorial Building at the Woodward & Warren Corner, 100 Farnsworth, Detroit, MI, 48202. Friday, October 5, 2012 7:00pm-12:00am and Saturday, October 6, 2012 5:00pm-2:00am.

Electronic schematic. We are using these, these and lots of these.

Plus 300 translucent beach balls.

A single-unit LED test. Only 107 more to go…

Testing the LEDs with the Powermesh skin.

Karl stress-testing the material.

Parametric seating model.

Seating prototype.

First ring test in the studio (tennis ball for scale).

DLECTRICITY is a free nighttime, outdoor contemporary art festival which will invite emerging and established artists, lighting designers, performers and architects to make site-specific installations of light, sound, performance and projection – transforming the Woodward corridor into an illuminated urban spectacle for thousands of visitors.

DLECTRICITY will be held at night on October 5 & 6, 2012.

menotme on dlectricity
rootoftwo on dlectricity

Expose, Intervene, Occupy: Re-interpreting Public Space

unreal-estates and v1b3 have produced an augmented reality application for internet enabled mobile devices that interrogates the meaning of public space using models, images, text, and movies overlaid on locations in Chicago’s Loop. Principal investigators include Annette Barbier, Drew Browning, Conrad Gleber, Mat Rappaport, rootoftwo (that’s us) and Gail Rubini. Invited artists include Celine Browning,  Adam Trowbridge and Jessica Westbrook.

The project is public from August of 2012 and will be presented at the UFVA [University Film and Video Association] Conference and at ISEA 2012.

Our Project: WithervaneAR
Rookery Building; Chicago Board of Trade; Lurie Gardens; BP Pedestrian Bridge

WithervaneAR is an aesthetic exploration of blended realities that adopts the conventions of corporations that have moved to be part of this new space.  In a word we are advertising: this location, this city, ourselves, our work, this group, this funder, this 3rd party platform, this platform, and this context. This is a system that seemingly offers new opportunities for engagement but AR can also been seen as a system that merely acts upon rather than truly responds to user behavior. How can we move beyond merely “smart” environments and objects to synergistic environments and objects?  Maybe AR will be part of that evolution as platforms become easier to use and applications become more ubiquitous. But for now – perhaps it is only moving new media art back to the point and click of screen-based interactivity of the mid-late 1990s? While this work attempts to solve some practical and technical considerations, it is also intended to allow for the examination of the social and cultural aspects of machine-mediated interaction and is a first attempt. A flirtation with a format.

We have ‘augmented’ locations in Chicago that are significant to the insurance industry with images from the ‘dustbowl‘ and advertising slogans from the marketing departments of 1930s insurance campaigns. Our WithervaneAR ‘branding’ is a mash-up of various logos. They are a series of adverts for our forthcoming Whithervane project.

Smartphone screengrab from Drew Browning.

The image below is of  ‘Sh/ear’ (because you can shovel and spear with it). This is a rendering of what the final object should look like. We are also working on a knife called ‘Cu/sp’ – (because you can cut and spread with it).
We have a soft spot for the look and feel of disposable, plastic cutlery but hate using it once and throwing it away. We wondered if there was a way to make permanent, contemporary heirloom items that look and feel like what you would get from a take-away. Our final versions will be made from Zirconium Dioxide (ZrO2) an industrial ceramic material. They will retain their edge and stay sharp longer than metal cutlery.
fork with strawberry
This prototype is  so we can test how it feels in the hand and in the mouth. It was made on an FDM machine using orange ABS plastic. More soon.

Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit

Post-Industrial Complex (May 11- July 29, 2012) is an exhibition and source book that celebrates the ingenuity and adaptivity of the Detroit community. This multidisciplinary exhibition, comprised of locally made objects and recorded interviews with makers, proposes a conversation about the meaning and value of personal labor in Detroit. From the half-baked idea to a life’s work, from the janky fix to a potentially world-changing solution, the spirit of invention takes center stage.

Programming includes a trading post, how-to sessions, exhibition tours led by community members and barbeques in the back parking lot. This exhibition is organized by Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Curator of Public Engagement Jon Brumit and Curator of Education Katie McGowan.

Major support for Post-Industrial Complex is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Related programming support is provided by the McGregor Fund and Edith S. Briskin/Shirley K. Schlafer Foundation.

Post-industrial Complex

Custom Speakers

ba-b&l (11111011100)

Exhibition Opening

ba-b&l is a sound installation, originally created and shown in 2001 that utilizes digital recordings from texts about the development of language in ancient Mesopotamia. The texts have been sliced into the most basic elements of language – the building blocks that are used to construct words. These phonemes are layered in order to create a real time mix between 5 sets of custom designed/built speakers. The texts are appropriated and reworked from Neal Stephenson’s novel “Snow Crash”, published in 1992. This seminal work of cyberpunk deals with history, linguistics, anthropology, computer science, politics, cryptography, memetics, and philosophy.


For Post-Industrial Complex, we wanted to rework ba-b&l. The original 2001 work focused on the internal interactions between the audience’s auditory and analytic processes, which were engaged in deciphering the babble to make meaning. With the 2012 iteration we wanted to explore the capacity for the audience to now physically interact with the work in a way that triggers the intact texts to be played. As a studio, we work through a process of researching issues, materials, and technologies. We have an interest in the use of new technologies, materials and methods to encourage interaction and engagement with audiences. ba-b&l  fuses our interests in art, language, design and our socio-cultural relationship with technology.

ba-b&l (11111011100)

The exhibition contributes to the current conversation about the role contemporary institutions play within their communities. Here the museum culls the craft and intellect from surrounding neighborhoods to create an exhibition that is uniquely engaged in its surroundings. Post-Industrial Complex includes work from: Fred Ellison, Evelyn Pinkard, FOUR Colors Productions, Dozer, Aisling Arrington & Jill Bersche, Bill Kozy, James Aquash, Walter Bailey, Angela Kiel, rootoftwo, Mr. Motin, Anthony Reale. The exhibition interrogates the roles and responsibilities of institutions and citizens to their communities, and proposes new possibilities for communicating, organizing and valuing labor.

Headless Chicken Robot

What we are working on.

Whithervane – where are we going and why are we carrying this hand-basket?

A 21st Century weathervane – a (headless) chicken that is driven by the climate of fear (apocanoia) on the Internet.

“A weather vane is an instrument for showing the direction of the wind. They are typically used as an architectural ornament to the highest point of a building. Although partly functional, weather vanes are generally decorative, often featuring the traditional cockerel design with letters indicating the points of the compass. The word ‘vane’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘fane’ meaning ‘flag’.” (Wikipedia).

“Henny Penny, also known as Chicken Licken or Chicken Little, is a fable in the form of a cumulative tale about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. The phrase The sky is falling! features prominently in the story, and has passed into the English language as a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.” (Wikipedia).

“An Apocalypse (Greek: Ἀποκάλυψις Apokálypsis; “lifting of the veil” or “revelation”) is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The term also can refer to the eschatological final battle, the Armageddon, and the idea of an end of the world.” (Wikipedia).

“Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and/or delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state.” (Wikipedia).

Apocanoia – portmanteau word a blend of apocalyptic and paranoia – a disclosure of the thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and/or delusion. Especially as experienced through contemporary media. Apocanoia explores self-fulfilling prophecies – predictions that directly or indirectly cause them to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.

CAD model of Whithervane

CAD model of Whithervane