Water Light Graffiti by Antonin Fourneau: The People's Drawing Board

By Alessandra Ram

In a chaotic urban environment where personal communication poses a challenge, the interactive installation Water Light Graffiti offers a public forum for creativity. Thousands of LED (light-emitting diodes) provide a canvas for the dialogue. Creator Antonin Fourneau and photographer Quentin Chevrier of the Digitalarti Lab reveal a lovely, ephemeral way to communicate with each other. In this video, residents of all ages from the town of Poitiers in western France use tools such as paintbrushes, water atomizers, even their fingertips, to participate in the graffiti collective. Chevrier describes how the project sparked a global fascination in an interview below.

The Atlantic: How did you develop the concept for this Water Light Graffiti?

Quentin Chevrier: The concept of this video was to make something simple and eye-catching. We wanted the viewers to understand at first glance the magic of Water Light Graffiti. We avoided a complex, technical speech about the way it works. Water Light Graffiti is a new way of expression and creation in public space, mixing technology, natural element and graffiti. We think the video proves it.

All the situations you can see actually happened, even the bowls of water thrown at the wall of LED for instance. We just added some titles and the credits at the end -- nothing more.

Did you expect it to go viral so fast? 

We thought Water Light Graffiti was a great idea that may interest many people. We did our best to release a good-looking video, to make relevant people aware of it, and then we just hoped it would go viral. And it worked. We are very pleased to see how much people like it all over the world. Another very satisfying point is that people talk about it among art and design communities, but also among others, like architecture or eco-friendly communities.

What's next for you?  

Many people got in touch with us after they saw the video online. We have proposals for many events in many locations for Water Light Graffiti. Antonin Fourneau is now working to improve the material and the structure. He aims at turning it into an architectural long-lasting material, to embed it in buildings for instance. We'll have another public exhibition of Water Light Graffiti during the "Nuit Blanche" in Paris (October 6th) with famous street artists. However, we also have many other projects  in the works at our Artlab. Let's hope they will experience as much success as Water Light Graffiti did.

For more work by Digitalarti, visit http://www.digitalarti.com/.

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2012/08/water-light-graffiti-by-antonin-fourneau-the-peoples-drawing-board/261486/