While thinking about contemporary ephemeral communication of twitter- we are interested in creating an interactive object that provokes thought on the distance we have come from when messages could be left in little more places than the sand.
Peter, Luis and I have discussed how the simplicity of connecting a twitter account to a slab of sand will inherently speak to humans' desire to communicate or to leave traces- sometimes regardless of who's listening.
In coordination with the latent mechanical restrictions of the device & code, the messages that the user will be able to communicate will be restricted. In a sense this is another reflection of the way in which we quickly communicate with simple and homogenized icons for example thumbs up or "like". This message restriction will exist in the form of two to four words written in the sand. Potentially "young", "old", "happy", "sad". The user can write one of the words to the twitter account and the marble will move in the direction in which that word is written in the sand until the marble is circling the word. This circling motion will continue until a different word is tweeted to the account.
As with art objects, this device will likely be used by the owner and his or her friends who will know the twitter account to which they can direct they message. This naturally contains the volume of tweets to an amount of participants decided by the owner. Or potentially, if the the sand exists in a more public space like a gallery the account would be known by those who visit the show.
I think to explain "Oh, you just tweet happy#sozen" for example is simple enough for people to explore the poetics of the object and its meditative properties.
Using disposable swipe cards to enter a subway station is one of three methods I can think of. The others: using currency, and subway tickets & tokens.
Using disposable swipe cards on New York's MTA can be frustrating. If the card gets bent, it will not work ever (this has happened to me and getting an attendant to help you retrieve the amount on the card is time consuming).
If you don't have a unlimited monthly pass, remembering how much money is still on the card is a small but present effort. Also, if traveling on a bus I often put the card in the wrong way first as there are 4 possible positions (because the magnetic stripe is only on one length of one side). Further, even if the card is put into the swipe section of the terminal correctly the terminal often will not accept the first swipe action. Rather it will digitally spell out to swipe again. I see this happen to others frequently.
I don't doubt that an extensive allocation of time and money has gone into the research and development of the disposable swipe card method. And its worth acknowledging the acclaimed design of the pay kiosks that dispense the cards; but I have a hard time understanding why reusable light metal tokens were not chosen. They can be inserted in to a slot with out fail ie. optimal entry efficiency, they last and can be reused infinitely, and they are easy to count out/ keep track of how many one has left.
Of course for unlimited Monthly passes, or unlimited week and day passes cards make the most sense but for infrequent riders I would advocate for tokens. You'll never see them scattered like garbage in subway entrances and on the tracks.