QR Codes Invade Downtown Knoxville

Urban Toddler and Urban Woman with “Day at the Beach”

I haven’t found the proper time to explore the various sculptures placed downtown this Spring as part of the Art in Public Spaces. In a very cool move, the Dogwood Arts Committee decided the sculptures would be placed for a year only to be replaced, presumably by next year’s works. I love this because it keeps art downtown while keeping it fresh. My favorite sculpture from last year, “Flow Mojo” did survive (at the transportation center), but most were moved out after a few months.

This year’s sculptures have been given a bit of an upgrade in another way: QR codes have been added to markers beside each one. If you download a simple app to your smart phone, you can read the code and get a cool description of the work of art along with other information about the artist’s concept, pricing and contact information. It includes the option of voting for the “Best in Show,” though I believe that voting ended a few months ago. If you want to try it out, you can click the picture below to enlarge it, download the app to your phone and scan the code in the picture.

QR Code for “Day at the Beach,” Downtown Knoxville

 Also included is a “map” link which shows you how to navigate to the other works downtown. This portion is fascinating because it makes me think of the new signage being planned for the city. It would be so simple to include these codes on signs labeled “Where Can I Eat?” or “How Do I Get to the River?” or “What Live Music is Available Tonight in the City?” which would be so useful for our out-of-town guests and for some residents, as well. It seems like a no-brainer.

Imagine QR codes applied to the various walking tours downtown. The History of Country Music Walking Tour could include the standard information along with links to recordings of the actual music being discussed. What if we had QR codes on the corners of buildings giving the history of the building? Maybe we would grow to love our buildings enough that we wouldn’t want to tear them down. Not that we would consider that anymore, of course, but you get my drift.

“Day at the Beach” by Wayne Trapp, Krutch Park, Knoxville

I spotted another cool use, as well. I found a downtown building which is for sale and wondered what it might look like inside. I noticed a realty flier in the window and stepped up to have a look. In addition to the information you might expect, it contained a QR code which, when scanned, takes the smart phone to a website that offers a tour of the inside.
I’m not usually an early adopter of various bits of technology, though I’m not particularly technology averse and I realize this is not new technology to those of you who are into it to a greater degree, but this could really be an amazing technology.

What other uses can you imagine in the city? Leave a comment with your ideas. In the meantime, get out into Krutch Park or onto Gay Street or the World’s Fair Park and begin exploring some great works of art aided by a cool new technology.

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