menu

Jon Cohrs’ Modified Metal Detectors Find Oil in Brooklyn

Jon Cohrs’ Modified Metal Detectors Find Oil in Brooklyn
culture
Scott Ballum
  • 15 may 2009

At first glance, Jon Cohrs’ Urban Prospecting project looks like one of those late-night-tv pyramid schemes our well-intentioned aunt got tied up with in the early 90s. But with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Cohrs’ Black Gold Rush is actually drawing renewed attention to, and creating a way of engaging with, an oil spill twice the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster right in his Brooklyn backyard. The Greenpoint spill occurred nearly 15 years ago, and very little has been done in attempts to clean it, contain it or deal with it in any real way, in part because it is now underground and out of immediate sight. It’s only by studying maps and abstract data that one would even know the boundaries of the spill today. That is, until Cohrs’ found a way to tap into the common motivators of personal greed and a sense of humor to approach the topic. Conceived at a time when crude oil prices were skyrocketing, the Urban Prospector is a modified hand-held metal detector, fitted with combustible gas sensors, that can theoretically ‘show you the money’ lying just beneath the surface. Of course, one would still need to devise some way to extract the oil and then find a market for it, but those logistics are sort of beside the real point. It’s about getting folks talking about, and interacting with, this very real environmental problem.



Developed at Eyebeam with a grant from Futuresonic, the idea was born last summer and is currently on display at the Futuresonic art, music, and ideas festival in Manchester. Cohrs and his collaborators are also debuting the next stage in the Urban Prospecting game plan: utilizing a web-based mapping software called Bliin, prospectors can use their mobile devices to post where they’ve found oil in real time, potentially igniting a mania like that of 1849.

urbanprospecting.net

culture
Trending

PSFK's Workplace Vision: Leave The Busywork To The Bots

Ai
Syndicated Today

In Popular Games, The Recurring Theme Is Exploration

The much-hyped sci-fi sandbox game proved to be as massive as expected, while Pokémon Go continued to prove inescapable

Design Today

The Best In Wearable Tech From The Rio Olympics

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best gadgets and devices used to track performance

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Advertising Today

This Cookbook Is Inspired By Brad Pitt’s On-Screen Eating Habits

Learn how to whip up meals and snacks pulled straight from the actor's fictional universe

USA Today

Tour The US National Parks From The Comfort Of Your Home

Google's new 360-degree video feature lets people take a trip to Alaska, Utah or Hawaii and see these marvels of nature up close

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Kevin Porras

Game Production and Development

Augmented & Virtual Reality Today

VR Used To Train For Active Shooter Preparedness

SurviVR is an immersive environment to teach civilians how to protect themselves in dangerous situations

Cities Today

Redesigned London Tube Map Aims To Get People Walking

The updated display illustrates approximately how many steps it takes to walk between stations for a healthier commute

Experiential Marketing Today

Nike Creates An Immersive Pop-Up Fitness Experience In London

The Unlimited You space gave athletes a chance to push their limits farther than ever before

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Today

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Automotive Today

Uber Now Lets Commuters Pay With Pretax Dollars

The prepaid cards are a partnership with WageWorks, letting uberPool users save up to 40% on their trip

Home Today

Philips Hue Adds Motion Sensor To Control Lights Automatically

The wireless device lets users interact with their environment without needing to press a switch

Home Today

Beacon Device Takes The Pain Out Of Navigating A New Airbnb

Ping provides new guests with a guided tour of the house or apartment through a simple tap of their phone

Arts & Culture Today

Shelf Makes Its Contents Appear To Hover In Midair

The design uses metal tubes to create an optical illusion when viewed from the front

Arts & Culture Today

Interactive Ceiling Responds To People Walking Underneath

The installation features built-in sensors that cause the undulating surface to morph and react to passersby

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Fashion Today

Declutter And Recycle All Of Your Unwanted Stuff

A new app will help catalogue your possessions and give them away as donations when you no longer want them

Advertising Today

Tokyo Concept Store Disguised As A Parking Garage

The retail and cafe project is designed as a hidden treasure for urban explorers

No search results found.