36 Days of Type

David SargentType0 Comments

Lasercut #J by @davidsargent_

A post shared by 36daysoftype (@36daysoftype) on

After three years of trying — finally had one of my letters featured by 36 Days of Type! Funnily enough, this letterform happened very quickly and turned out great! If you are interested, there is a process video of the laser cutter at work on my Instagram page.


Lost & Found mural for Brisbane City Council

David SargentMural0 Comments

Now that it’s all done and dusted, here are a couple of photos my mural Lost & Found, painted for the Brisbane City Council Brisbane Canvas program. In a few short years, this program has funded some fantastic art around town.

There are seven other walls being painted this year as part of the same program, including work by Sophia Mary Mac, Daniel Brook, Deb Mostert, Kirsten Baade, David Houghton, Carley Cornelissen, and the mighty James Alley.

I wrote about what I was trying to do with this work here.


#SubvertTheCity co-ordinates ad takeovers across the globe

David SargentActivism, Augmented Reality, DVA

I’ve been keenly watching the Subvertisers International for a little while now. They’ve been connecting different activist groups and individuals together in an attempt to push back against advertising which is ‘invading our public spaces and co-opting our media in an effort to promote the endless consumption of goods, services and brands’. 25 March 2018 was deemed #SubvertTheCity day, with co-ordinated activities happening all across the globe.

Most of these groups are contributing via a ‘take out advertising and replace it with something new’ tactic, with some fantastic results. Closer to home, I spotted this happening here in quiet little Brisbane, with a really fantastic culture jam of an ad for the defence force just down the road from me. There are some alternative actions taking place too — I really liked this example by AdBlock Bristol where advertising spaces were replaced with paper for passers by to contribute to.

My work in this area is also non-destructive, so I thought it would be a good time to contribute this type of intervention. The more I think about the future of augmented reality and what our world might look like in ten years time, the more I think pushing back via this kind of technology will be vital. I spent the day finding some suitable target ads around town and embedding my augmentations, including the one above.

Painting the Lost & Found mural in Teneriffe, Brisbane

David SargentMural

Time lapse of my recent mural painted for Brisbane City Council as part of their Brisbane Canvas program. The mural will also be included in the 2018 Brisbane Street Art Festival. I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘street artist’, but I guess it’s art, and it’s on the street? Either way, the other people included are fantastic at what they do, so a great honour to be part of it.

People who paint large scale murals don’t get enough respect. It is HARD work. I learnt a whole lot of lessons.

Lost & Found is a phrase I really like. It’s so mundane in many ways but very unusual when taken out of it’s usual context. When people saw it being painted on the wall I had so many questions about what it meant. My response was usually, ‘what does it mean to you?’, but that didn’t usually go down well! When I was putting the idea together it came from the dramatic urban renewal of Teneriffe. Interestingly, Teneriffe was literally ‘lost’ when the suburb was absorbed into Newstead in the 70s then ‘found’ when it was re-instated as a proper suburb again after becoming one of the most desired (and expensive) places to live in Brisbane. The design is inspired by the fantastic art deco architecture and typography that remains in the area. The call out for design proposals happened at the perfect time for me as I had just attended a fantastic art deco lettering workshop by Nick Misani and this was a great opportunity to try all those new tricks out.

It’s up to the viewer to determine if Lost & Found is a positive or negative statement on this change. For me, especially after spending a week there, it’s a little bit of both. You tend to see the best and worst of a neighbourhood when you’re there for such a long time, it was actually a very interesting experience and a great way to get a feel for the location. The irony of commissioned public art (a typical outpost of gentrification) is not lost on me!

The mural took on another meaning after we saw someone hit a dog with their car in the street right in front of us. They slowed and then took off… the dog bolted off closely chased by my wonderful dog whispering partner who spent the afternoon trying to find him. He was lost for a few hours before being eventually found hiding at the end of the day. A vet visit revealed some scratches but no serious injury. We painted a small dog in the mural as a tribute to ‘Bowie’ and his lost & found adventure.

More body image related Augmented Reality outcomes

David SargentActivism, Augmented Reality, DVA


I’ve spent the last six weeks or so augmenting over as many different advertising images that I could find, which has been heaps of fun to do. It’s interesting once you get in the mindset of looking at advertising everywhere you go: some of it just makes no sense whatsoever, some of it is just really bad, and plenty of ads just fall back on the ‘put a pretty face on it for no reason’ approach.

I’m actually pretty happy with how these have turned out. Campaigns about body image and media literacy usually incorporate traditional media like brochures, workbooks, posters, and websites. This is all fine, but quite removed and abstract. I think the most successful outcome of the augmented reality approach is it moves the site of the information and directly disrupts the viewers perceptions of what they see in front of them. One of the side effects that I didn’t expect is the impact that it has had on me: some ads you just look at and wonder, ‘who signed off on this?’. They just seem so ridiculous to me now.

You can see some more example here: nobodiesperfekt.com

Mural for Brisbane City Council’s Brisbane Canvas program

David SargentMural

Excited to have been selected as one of the Brisbane Canvas artists for 2018. Brisbane Canvas is a fantastic initiative where the council selects a number of blank walls around the city and promotes and open expression of interest for artists to pitch their ideas.

I’ll be painting an Art Deco inspired mural in Teneriffe, Brisbane. Will publish pics when finished!

Legal issues with using Augmented Reality for activist purposes

David SargentActivism, Augmented Reality0 Comments

My conference presentation at the 2017 CreateWorld Conference was very interesting. The audience asked some really great questions and quite a few people sought me out later to discuss my work. The most popular topic by far was the legalities of using AR in this manner, which to be honest I hadn’t thought about that much.

I use the Layar platform to create augmented advertising takeovers like the video above. After reading the terms and conditions of use it seems I’ve been breaking a whole bunch of them! These kinds of breaches can result in an account being suspended, but could also lead to the original copyright holder (i.e. the publishers of the ad) chasing you in regards to unauthorised use of their property and possibly damages for slander etc. As with all technology, the law takes time to catch up, especially when it is an international issue (i.e. I could augment a billboard on the other side of the world if I wanted to). Personally, I think it would be a public relations nightmare for an organisation to come after someone making comment on body image and the saturation of the ideal body types in advertising.

So, if you were to be using a consumer facing AR package for activist purposes and were concerned about your privacy, I would suggest you consider the following three elements which are required to use the platform:

  1. Internet access
  2. Email address to create your account
  3. Credit Card to publish augmentations

And consider using the following tactics to obscure your identity and location:

  1. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when interacting online
  2. Creating a free unidentified email address like Hotmail / Gmail (other even more secure options detailed here)
  3. Buying and using a prepaid ‘Gift Card’ card which works with Visa and MasterCard systems. The availability of these seems to depend on your location, but in Australia you can purchase these at supermarkets or post offices with cash. They are activated when you buy them (via a fee) and you don’t need to provide any identifying information.

Of course, this is all moot when you post all of your augmentations up on a blog which uses your name as the domain… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Conference: CreateWorld 2017 Presentation

David SargentActivism, Augmented Reality, Conferences, DVA0 Comments

I’ll be presenting a conference paper Repurposing Augmented Reality Browsers for Acts of Creative Subversion at this years Apple University Consortium (AUC) CreateWorld Conference. It’s all about my initial experiments figuring out how to use Augmented Reality as an activist tool.

I’ll be talking a little bit about my failures too, including the above video! I ambitiously tried to augment the Queensland State Parliament building during the recent election, but unfortunately it didn’t work on site (the video is a desktop simulation test). I had successfully augmented large buildings before, but I think in this case the ever changing gardens in the foreground caused the image recognition to fail. You could work around this with a geo-located augmentation, but that starts to get complicated and expensive! I will just chalk it up as another learning experience.


Bikeway at Risk: Augmented Reality protest

David SargentActivism, Augmented Reality, DVA0 Comments

Bikeway at Risk 2017

A fun little Augmented Reality experiment this morning, adding a Monty Python-esque detail to the construction cladding for Queens Wharf. The animated tongue exclaims ‘BIKEWAY AT RISK’.

The Bicentennial Bikeway is the busiest active transport route in all of Queensland with 6500 people using it every day (including me!). One of the many problems with the new Queens Wharf Mega Casino development is the proposal to convert this section of the bikeway into a mixed use plaza / events space. Think of it like putting a park on a freeway — it’s going to be bad for all concerned. This is my small contribution to adding more awareness around the issue, drawn using Procreate on the iPad Pro, animated (clumsily) using Adobe Photoshop, and augmented using Layar.

If you want to know more about the development, you can visit the Economic Development Queensland page and search for the development DEV2017/846. For what it’s worth, you can email them to let the government know you think it’s a bad idea until October 19 2017.

In other related news, the new iPhone iOS now allows you to record your screen natively! This is massive as I used to have to jump through some serious hoops using some slightly dodgy apps to do this in the past.

If you want to see the augmentation in person, you can download the free LayAR app and scan it yourself. It will be active until the end of October 2017. Watch out for bikes when doing it!