The Art of Semacode (can be experienced in this post)

Barcodes are everywhere: on our food, on our cars, in our art galleries. Yes, that’s correct: on our food, on our cars and in our art galleries (the subject of this post).

But these barcodes are a little different than the ones you see scanned at the grocery store. These barcodes (called 2D barcodes in the generic and Semacodes by brand name) are black-and-white squares that code the URLs to any website of creator’s choice. (Semacodes can be made to link to any site on the ‘net and can be made for free here.) Accessing the encoded page is as simple as a click of an Internet-capable camera phone.

Bay area artist Michele Pred has embroidered Semacode that links to a white web page with simple, black text. “It fits perfectly on a cell phone screen,” she says. “All of my work is thought-based, but this is taking it to the next level.” Her Semacode piece is part of the Code Switching exhibit opening Thursday at Los Angeles’ Red House Gallery. (The exhibit runs through Sept. 16 and can be seen Monday-Friday 9a.m.-5 p.m. and during weekends by appointment)

Here’s what the exhibit will be like: You enter the gallery and are given an Internet-capable Nokia camera phone. On the wall is Pred’s 5-by-5-inch, black-and-white Semacode sewn onto a 10-by-10-inch white canvas. You take a picture of the Semacode, it is decoded by the Semacode software on the phone, you are taken to the website, and Pred’s message appears on your phone.

But you don’t have to wait until Thursday or fly to L.A. to check it out. TRY IT NOW, HERE, FOR FREE! Download the Semacode software onto your own phone (available free of charge here), snap a picture of Pred’s Semacode (posted above), and off you go virtual-art-gallery-ing. Enjoy!

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