February 8, 2019updated 12 Aug 2019 3:01pm

Drones meet blockchain to immortalise urban street art

By Lucy Ingham

A project in Mexico City is combining drones and blockchain to create and preserve urban street art long after it is removed from buildings.

The drones are used to create the artwork, which is at the same time logged on the æternity blockchain to preserve them after they are removed.

Artists design the street art as vectors, which are converted into flight paths for the drones, which spray paint as they fly.

Known as the Drone Graffiti Project, the initiative will launch today as a live urban art installation as part of the wider Mexico City Art Week.

How drones and blockchain combine to preserve street art

Not only does using drones to apply the art allow for highly ambitious projects to be completed quickly, but it also ensures that there is a digital record of the art that can then be archived and indefinitely preserved on the blockchain.

“Urban art has always been a medium for expression, but is all-too-often fleeting in nature,” said Yanislac Malahov, founder of æternity blockchain and person who conceived the Drone Graffiti Project.

“By anchoring these temporary works of art in a digital ledger, they become permanent and their message amplified. No longer is viewership limited to people passing a wall, but it’s permanently open to the world.”

However, creating drones that are capable of applying graffiti is not a simple task. The overall Drone Graffiti Project involved a host of hardware and software solutions, achieved through the involvement of several companies.

In addition to æternity blockchain, this included Voliro, which has developed a drone with tillable axis, drone company incubator DroneMasters and Mexico-based urban art initiative All City Canvas.

Unmanned aerial vehicle developer SPH Engineering was also involved, proving the software that allowed artists to create illustrations that could be converted into drone flightpaths.

“Enabling a drone to be the tool of graffiti artists has been technically challenging as the drone has to fly near to a wall, vertically and horizontally and the flight path has to create a painting,” explained the software’s creator Janis Kuze from the company.

The Drone Graffiti Project will run as part of Mexico City Art Week from 8 to 10 February.


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