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What is an LED Throwie

Find the answer to the frequently asked LED Lights related question: What is an LED Throwie?
When you think of LED lights, you think of technological devices. LEDs are for things like flat-screened televisions, computer monitors, calculators, and remote controls. You don't normally think of art.

Or do you? You might, if you're referring to the LED throwie. LED is a great way to use the high-tech LED light to transfer some color to outdoor sculptures, infrastructure, etc.

So What's a Throwie?

An LED throwie is an inexpensive form of "graffiti" art. It's a way of adding color to ferromagnetic surfaces in your neighborhood.

Specifically, a throwie consists of a 10mm diffused LED, a lithium battery, and a rare-earth magnet. All of these pieces are taped together. The throwie artist throws this up high to create a light display and non-destructive graffiti. For instance, an artist might use them by throwing them onto metallic objects, such as a road infrastructure or a public sculpture. When the artist throws the LEDs onto an object, that object becomes a canvas.

History of the LED Throwie

The LED Throwie was first developed by Evan Roth and James Powderly, working together during a fellowship at the Graffiti Research Lab at Eyebeam OpenLab. They completed this project, done specifically for the purpose of graffiti art, in 2006.

What is Eyebeam OpenLab?

So just what is Eyebeam OpenLab (aside from the obvious fact that they were responsible for the creation of the LED throwie)? They are an art group that have devoted themselves to outfitting graffiti artists, writers and protesters with non-destructive, open source technologies for city communication. Group members actually experiment on new graffiti mediums in a lab as well as in the field, until they've perfected a new, experimental technology. They are thoroughly scientific, documenting their efforts with video and do-it-yourself instructions for all projects. They then make these projects available to anyone who is interested. This was the process used in developing the LED throwie. The group was also responsible for such innovations as laser t.a.g.g.i.n.g., a computer system coupled with a projector that allows a person to write on walls with a laser pointer; and High Writer, that helps the graffiti artist to reach hard-to-reach spots via an extension pole.

Art- Not Destruction

Because of the word "graffiti" used in connection with the LED throwie, it would be easy to think that this is a destructive technology and practice. It's not. In fact, the throwie has been used for very public and legal light shows and for government-sanctioned messages on public sculptures and walls. Throwies are not permanent and are in no way destructive to the surface of anything that they adhere to. In fact, the LED throwie is one of the truly non-offensive forms of graffiti available today. It's great even if you own your own business or property that you'd like to use for conveying a message to the public. If you don't believe it, you owe it to yourself to look more closely at the wonderful world of LED throwies. And see if there's something you'd like to communicate through them.