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February 10, 2014 AT 4:00 am

Tahir Hemphill’s Light-Painting Robot Visualizes Rap Music’s Geographic Refrences #MusicMonday

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These incredibly beautiful light paintings are interesting in another way too. Via Core 77.

If rappers’ boastful lyrics are any indication, hip-hop can take you places. A disciple himself, Tahir Hemphill—the ever-diligent artist behind the previously funded Kickstarter campaign “The Hip-Hop Word Count”—has visualized a dozen rappers’ global treks via flight path-esque photographs tracking their lyrics.

Inspired by Pablo Picasso’s light paintings, Maximum Distance. Minimum Displacement. takes one data point from “Hip-Hop Word Count” (more on that below) and puts it on the map. Hemphill has pulled out geographic mentions from his vault of crazy detailed research and created long-exposure visuals to better illustrate the globetrotting itineraries of these superstars (and perhaps to see if Pitbull is worthy of his terrible self-appointed title, “Mr. Worldwide”). By scaling geographic distances between destinations on a globe and assigning them coordinates, a robotic arm plots a specific point for each song’s city mention using a light pen.

The result is a temporary light painting tracking the hypothetical journey made throughout the rapper’s music. The robotic artist responsible for the paintings fades into the background of the photos, but you can see its work-induced blur if you look closely.

Read more.

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