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Hard Drivin’

2010
Exchange Gallery Dublin
RC Cars + Python + Arduino
Cardboard + Fabric + Wood
3 x 3 m

Hard Drivin' is a kinetic installation created by Ivan Twohig, Benjamin Gaulon and Brian Solon. The title of the piece references Hard Drivin', a video game released in 1989. The game featured the first 3D polygonal driving environment.

The installation involves radio controlled (R/C) cars that physically react to short messages sent via the popular social networking site Twitter ('tweets'). The cars are placed on a 3D terrain inspired by polygonal modeling. Anyone can participate by telling the cars to begin following another user, by sending a simple command inside a tweet.

This project can be seen as a Media Archeology Installation as well as an exploration of Hardware Hacking art practices. Media Archeology, as defined by Erkki Huhtamo, is "the study of the cyclically recurring elements and motives underlying and guiding the development of media culture," and "the 'excavation' of the ways in which these discursive traditions and formulations have been 'imprinted' on specific media machines and systems in different historical contexts, contributing to their identity in terms of socially and ideologically specific webs of signification" (1996).


There are two ways to control the cars:

1 // Get the cars to follow someone

You can get the cars to start following a user, by sending a reply to @harddrivin, e.g.:

@harddrivin follow @recyclism. Then every time @recyclism tweets, one of the cars will move in a random direction.


2 // Use the hashtag

The cars also respond to the hashtag #harddrivin

Tweets with this hashtag will cause both cars to move (simultaneously). The longer the tweet, the further the distance the cars move.

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