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Not Your Grandmother's Love Letters: SMS Messaging Via Paper Planes

Christian Groß’s paper plane project.

Sometimes we simply miss analog life: a world without internet, smart phones or anything that requires an LCD screen. In this case, Christian Groß missed his girlfriend. For a class assignment, he collected SMS messages between him and his long distance girlfriend (from September 2010 to April 2011) and used them to create a physical representation of the electronic communication. Using paper airplanes as a medium, he translated SMS messages onto a more tangible and mobile—in the literal sense—platform.


On his website he explains a bit about creating SMS to Paper Airplanes: "The challenge was to find a medium, which is variable and able to visualize the information of the text messages, but at the same time allows to keep the content private. For me the paper airplane was the perfect image for this scenario, because the text messages as well as traveling by plane are the most common ways for us to cover the distance."

Using Processing, he filtered though all the messages so that each detail would be deliberate and well-calculated. The size of the plane was relative to the length of the message, the number of folds was relative to the amount of emotional words in the message, and even the final placement of the airplane was relative to the time the message was sent and the weight of its emotional value.

Although the SMS messages contain the same ideas, therefore the same amount of emotional value as the airplanes, there's something about a paper plane and the written word that communicates a sense of nostalgia and longing. Seeing the size of the plane, feeling the number of creases, and taking in the sheer number of planes, well, that's something you can't accidentally delete off your phone.

[via Creative Applications]