The Upgrade! Anniversary Brunch with Graffiti Research Lab

Event Type: 
Event Type: 
Start Date: 
29 Apr 2006

Eyebeam celebrates the seventh anniversary the international artists' gathering, the Upgrade!, on Saturday April 29 at 3pm with a reception and presentations from the Graffiti Research Lab (GRL) and artist and activist Josh MacPhee, as well as new projects from the Geek Graffiti Course at Parsons The New School for Design. Projects reviewed include the LED Throwies which recently spread to millions of viewers though the internet. The event will include some hands-on DIY graffiti fun for participants. The Upgrade! Anniversary Brunch is open to the public free of charge with a suggested donation and will take place at Eyebeam, 540 W. 21st Street between 10th & 11th Aves.

Josh MacPhee opens the event with a whirlwind tour through the history of illegal street markings. This is Street Art 101, how we got where we are today, with a focus on the history of the street stencil. Next James Powderly and Evan Roth from the GRL, a branch of Eyebeam's OpenLab, will explain their mission and methods of outfitting graffiti artists with open source technologies for urban communication. Recent projects include LED Throwies, which uses LEDs, magnets and batteries to affix lights to metallic surfaces; The Electro-Graf, a graffiti piece that uses conductive and magnetic paint to embed LED display electronics on surfaces; and large-scale projections on surfaces of building of video recordings of graffit being made. Roth will also present and discuss some recent projects developed by students in the Geek Graffiti course he's currently teaching at Parsons.

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3pm - Refreshments and open discussion
3:30pm - Brief history of graffiti from Josh MacPhee
4pm - Graffiti Research Lab presentation and hands-on demonstration

Josh MacPhee is an artist, curator and activist currently living in Troy, NY. His work often revolves around themes of radical politics, privatization and public space. He published his first book, Stencil Pirates: A Global Survey of Street Stenciling, in July 2004 on Soft Skull Press. He also organizes the Celebrate People's History Poster Series and runs a small political art distribution website at In addition, he regularly works with larger groups of artists to create giant collective interventionist art events such as the Department of Space and Land Reclamation and the Autonomous Territories of Chicago. He is currently working on editing two new books, one is a collection of open source radical political graphics and the other is about the intersection of art and anarchism.

James Powderly is an R&D Fellow in Eyebeam's OpenLab, arriving from Honeybee Robotics, where he has worked as a director of technology development, applications engineer and lab foreman since 2002. At Honeybee he developed technology for NASA's mars rover that is currently on the surface of the red planet and engineered an installation for the architects Diller + Scofidio that was shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Powderly has a master degree from NYU's ITP program and is co-founder of the Robotics Society of America New York City Chapter.

Evan Roth is an R&D Fellow in Eyebeam's OpenLab and a recent MFA graduate from the Design Technology department at Parsons where he was his class valedictorian. He is the creator of Graffiti Analysis video, a project that uses motion tracking, computer vision technology, and a custom C++ application to record and analyze a graffiti writer's pen movement over time. Roth's media experiments also include Explicit Content Only, Postal Labels Against Bush video and Graffiti Taxonomy.

The Upgrade! is a monthly meeting for professionals in the field, providing an open forum for the artists, designers, critics, curators and educators that form New York's digital arts community. New media artist, Yael Kanarek, initiated The Upgrade! in April 1999, and currently coordinates the program in conjunction with Eyebeam. The monthly gatherings include artist presentations, lectures and group discussion.

Projects: LED Throwies, The Upgrade!, Graffiti Research Lab
People: Evan Roth, James Powderly, Josh MacPhee, Graffiti Research Lab
Research: Open Lab