ANIMAL: the Custom-Built Denim Car from South Africa

Custom Denim Car in South Africa

Custom Denim Car in South Africa

One of the most ambitions items at Maker Faire Africa this year in Johannesburg, South Africa is Samuel Ngobeni’s “art car”. He’s a designer from Germinston, who has spent the last three years building his ANIMAL car, from the ground up, that means the frame and all. It’s a work in progress, though starting in 2011, it’s not quite done yet.

The first thing you’ll notice about it is that it’s completely covered in denim. When I asked him why, he said, “because it’s tough and can withstand a lot of things like the sun and rain, like the cowboys, that’s why I chose it.”

Denim car

Animal

Samuel and his car

The engine

At first glance, from afar, it looks a bit like a BMW shape, but when you get close you can tell just how much customization and work went into it. Then, when he opens the hood and shows you underneath, you can see that he actually hand-built the whole thing with steel piping and sheet metal, by hand.

It’s running a 3 liter, straight 6 cylinder engine, has suicide doors and leather seats.

Samuel’s next big idea is to find a v8 or v12 engine, slap that inside a custom built 6-wheel vehicle (4 in front, 2 in back) and then skin it all in croc-skin. His denim ANIMAL is already pretty slick, so his next car can only get better, and it sounds like it’ll be a lot more powerful and meaner too!

A quick sketch of Samuel's next car

A quick sketch of Samuel’s next car

How You Can Help

It’s difficult for designers like Samuel to get far on their own. He’s looking for someone who can take him to the next level. We’re setting up an email address for him now, but you can reach him on WhatsApp at 0822 110122 for now.

Golan Levin: Looking at Looking at Looking

I’m standing in for Ethan Zuckerman, blogging from TED today. This post is part of a series from the TED 2009 conference held in Long Beach, California from February 4-8th. You can read other posts in the series here, and the TED site will release video from the talk in the coming weeks or months. Because I’m putting these posts together very quickly, I will get things wrong, will misspell names and bungle details. Please feel free to use the comments thread on this post to offer corrections. You may also want to follow the conference via Twitter or through other blogs tagged as on Technorati.

Golan Levin is an artist and software engineer who is here to talk to us about experiments in interactive art. He asks, “Where is the “art” category in the iPhone app store?” Golan is interested in discovering how to empower people through interactive art.

golan_switz_2002

Currently, he’s walking us through how certain sounds have a higher probability of creating certain shapes. Then, how the tool he created takes people’s voices and throws letters and shapes onto a canvas in real time. This has repercussions for voice recognition software.

This is called Ursonography, and below is an example of it:


Ursonography (Excerpts), Jaap Blonk & Golan Levin, 2007 from Golan Levin on Vimeo.

Now he’s really doing some crazy things with eye-tracking software and the way that it can be used to create art that knows it’s being looked at and creates itself. He calls this Eyecode.

Eyecode

Dell’s Africa Inspired Art Laptops

You can now buy your Dell computer with customized African artwork. It’s all part of the Product (RED) campaign to support the fight against AIDS. My favorite is the mapping one (for obvious reasons).

More on these two designs:

Dell African Design: Shine Within

Shine Within (map): Award-winning artist Siobhan Gunning was born in Mombasa, East Africa and has had the opportunity to visit many of the unique locations in Africa, like the Great Rift Valley, the Serengeti Plains, the Ngoro Ngoro Crater, and even traveling up the Nile to its source. During these travels she has been privileged to observe wildlife in their native habitat and visit with tribes like the Masai and Samburu. Currently residing in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Gunning combines her passion for Africa with her life experiences and her love of art, design and photography, creating digital collages that often result in “happy accidents” that bring her joy.

Dell African Design: New World

New World (tribal): African artist Joseph Amedokpo resides in the town of Vogan, Togo (West Africa) with his wife and five children. He supports his family through painting, using locally produced oils he blends by hand, on canvases made from recycled flour sacks. While painting, Amedokpo chats with frequent visitors and listens to a short wave radio, gaining a global perspective on peoples’ failures and weakness, as well at their core strength and hope, which is reflected in his art.