About the Project

In search of an idea for the cover of Creative Time’s first major book, which marked the organization’s 33rd anniversary of producing art throughout New York City, the team of designers—Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker of karlssonwilker inc.—conceived of a means to generate a cover that would capture the essence of the organization: a site-specific public art project called The Urban Visual Recording Machine (UVRM).


The machine, installed in a commercial van, was equipped with various sensors that continually recorded such elements as current weather conditions, ambient sound, prevalent surrounding color, and stories and comments from passersby. The data was processed and rendered in real time and printed on the spot every 30 seconds over the course of a week, resulting in thousands of composite images of New York—each with the exact location, time, and date. In the end, these “snapshots” of New York and its inhabitants were sent to the printing plant to be applied onto the books. The cover of every book therefore bears a one-of-the-kind artifact made by the UVRM.




Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker

The Urban Visual Recording Machine