Velcro + Cupcakes: QR Codes in Public Art

sticker on location, image 1
Velcro + Cupcakes: QR Codes in Public Art (2012)

This project included stickers with QR codes. The stickers were posted in public places.

Each sticker had the same phrase:  “I [QR code] U”

Though they looked almost identical, the stickers revealed different symbols when scanned. Each sticker connected with a video, and the video design was inspired by QR code technology.

Sticker in public
Velcro + Cupcakes sticker in downtown Seattle, WA

This project used QR codes as a medium for sharing video poetry. Counter to the popular function of QR codes, this work did not aim to promote or sell any products or to gather or share information. In fact, several of the videos intentionally chose organic materials and/or analog technology to specifically counter the ‘hands off’ quality of electronic media and the intended functionality of the codes.

Velcro + Cupcakes sticker on a payphone
Velcro + Cupcakes sticker on a payphone in San Francisco, CA

Five video artists participated, either making art specifically for this project and/or lending their pre-made work to this creative inquiry into QR code technology. The project featured work by Laura Zaylea, Carolyn Caizzi, Jennifer Zaylea, Leah Ruth and Albert Lebron. Many others joined in the conversation; and perhaps that was the point — this project was less about crafting a finished or quantifiable product and more about fostering conversation in public spaces about where technology is and is not appropriate.

V+C image on sign
Velcro + Cupcakes sticker near Seattle, WA

The first video created for this project — “I [cupcake] U” — placed video monitors within baked goods. The video aimed to question QR code technology specifically (and increased  public screen presence, generally). It posed the question: Where do we really need technology? But, really?

This video was created by Laura Zaylea.

The second video — “I [glitch] U” — is a direct response to the aesthetic design of the QR code. This video was created by Jennifer Zaylea.

The videos “I [spaceship] U”, “I [buoy] U” and “I [beard] U” comment on the technology’s potential for catapulting us into the future (or not), bringing about social connection (or not) and creating acts of magic (or not), respectively.

With equal parts excitement and skepticism, delight and concern, each video comments on an aspect of the technology.


I ___ U. The symbol is still undetermined… it is unclear what this technology will bring (or not bring), and whether or not this will be necessary… or beneficial. Either way, the code stickers bring to public spaces the possibility for art, storytelling, surprise and conversation. That is what this locative media project aimed to foster.

V+C sticker on cigarette plastic
Velcro + Cupcakes sticker in Atlanta, GA


Velcro + Cupcakes and I Tried… were presented at:

Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints
Electronic Literature Organization Conference: Media Art Show
University of West Virginia. Morgantown, WV. 2012

Imagination is the 21st Century Technology
University Film and Video Association Conference: New Media Gallery Exhibition
Columbia College. Chicago, IL. 2012

V+C sticker

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