A good mural can really capture the identity of a community and it is typically up to an artist to figure out how to accomplish that. But what if every individual in a community could contribute a design that would become a piece of the larger mural? Niklas Roy was able to make that reality with the “Maschinenmosaik,” or “Mosaic Machine.”
To create a crowdsourced mural for his community, Roy had to do two things. First, he needed a way to get a small design from every person that wanted to be part of the project. Second, he needed a way to physically paint those designs onto walls.
For the sake of simplicity, Roy decided that each user design would be a single square image with a resolution of 32 by 32 pixels. He then built a portable machine designed to look like an arcade cabinet. That machine has an arcade-style joystick and buttons that residents used to move a cursor and fill in the pixels of their designs. The controls connect through an Arduino board to a laptop that runs the drawing software.
Roy wheeled that machine around the community, letting everyone draw their designs. Once he had a big enough collection, he used a Silhouette Cameo Pro large-format craft cutting machine to fabricate pixelated stencils of the designs. With a stack of stencils in hand, Roy and a team of volunteers were able to spray paint hundreds of designs onto walls around the neighborhood.
The result is a series of morals with a cohesive aesthetic, but which reflect the individuality of the community’s residents.