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The Mary Sue

Tableau: Physical Email

“Twitter, but in the real world!” is a concept that has inspired its share of headline-grabbing gadgets that transmuting real-world experience into a stream of data (Tweeting shoes! Tweeting bicycles! Tweeting baby toys!), but artist John Kestner‘s Tableau is special for doing its transmuting in the opposite direction, creating beautiful physical objects from the cloud. Created from “reclaimed materials and ‘obsolete’ electronics saved from the landfill,” Tableau uses Zink inkless paper and an Internet connection to turn Twitter pics into real-world photographs, deposited in a drawer for its owner to discover.

Tableau acts as a bridge between users of physical and digital media, taking the best parts of both. It’s a nightstand that quietly drops photos it sees on its Twitter feed into its drawer, for the owner to discover. Images of things placed in the drawer are posted to its account as well.

Tableau is an anti-computer experience. A softly glowing knob that almost imperceptibly shifts color invites interaction without demanding it. The trappings of electronics are removed except for a vestigial cable knob for the paper tray. The nightstand drawer becomes a natural interface to a complex computing task, which now fits into the flow of life.

Currently on exhibit at the Saint Étienne International Design Biennale, Kestner says Tableau is being developed for production next year.

(via Cindy Au | Artist’s page)

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