Water-Shooting Bike Hack Sprays Calligraphic Graffiti (Video)

Nicholas Hanna water calligraphy bikeNicholas Hanna /Screen capture

There are some pretty crazy bike hacks out there, and sometimes these modifications err on the illegal side (like this rainbow-painting robotic arm). But Beijing-based media artist Nicholas Hanna may have the right idea of making a less permanent but still noticeable mark with his "water calligraphy device" which allows the rider to paint Chinese poetry in the streets, while bike riding.

Nicholas Hanna water calligraphy bikeNicholas Hanna /Screen capture

Based on the Chinese tradition of using water brushes to inscribe wet poetry that eventually dries in public spaces, Hanna's modified cargo tricycle is a playful twist on this commonly-seen vehicle, which is used by locals to haul or sell things.

Just Because: Tricycle Calligraphy 水书法器 from Jonah Kessel on Vimeo.

Nicholas Hanna water calligraphy bikeNicholas Hanna /Screen capture

According to Designboom, this vehicle for public poetry incorporates a computer that's mounted on the trike's handlebars and an electrical system that controls the pumping out Chinese literature in the form of precise droplets, through a row of solenoid valves, much like a dot matrix printer.

Nicholas Hanna water calligraphy bikeNicholas Hanna/Screen capture

Nicholas Hanna water calligraphy bikeNicholas Hanna /Screen capture

Inspired by the great respect that calligraphy commands in Asian cultures, Hanna explains that his motivation was to build a machine that could also do a variation of the water calligraphy he witnessed being practiced in Beijing's parks:

It's more than just communicating information, but also that you can judge the moral character of someone from their handwriting.

Recently exhibited at Beijing Design Week, Hanna's curious device intersects the city's love for bicycles, along with DIY technology and a long-held tradition of transforming any public space into poetic places, using the ephemerality of water.

For more info, check out Nicholas Hanna's website here.

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