Adventures in Tactical Media

I was coming back on the train from New Haven to Manhattan a few years ago with Natalie Jeremijenko, after I had given a guest lecture to her class at Yale. She and I got to discussing "tactical media," or media that can be used to subvert the message of more officially sanctioned media.

I told her that I thought it would be cool to quickly write a message onto a poster, by sweeping some fast-printing device over the poster to transfer some text I'd just thumb-typed into my cell-phone.

I figured that my device would only need to lift/drop five pens, like this. I implemented the applet on this page during that train-ride, on my notebook computer, to show what the typeface might look like if you "type" by dragging five pens along a line while turning each pen on and off.

An alternate version would use a small spinning hex mirror to turn a laser pointer into a portable instant message projector.

-Ken Perlin

Instructions: Click on the window. Then type something.