Running is already a thing of beauty, as anyone who’s watched Prefontaine float sublimely past a finish line will tell you. Here to push the sport even further into the realm of fine art is Nike, which commissioned a project recently that lets runners paint with their most cherished asset: their feet.
Nike tapped YesYesNo, an interactive design collective with offices in the U.S. and the Netherlands, to custom-design software that takes runners’ routes — recorded using Nike + GPS — and turns them into abstract paintings. The project was a two-day workshop to promote the NIKE FREE Run+ 2 QS City Pack shoe line.
The designers used openFrameworks to develop a program that converts runners’ movements into elegant, sensuous brushstrokes based on not just where they ran, but how they ran — how fast they went, where they sped up and slowed down, and what their “unique style” (to quote YesYesNo’s website) looked like. Each runner then got a high-res print of his run and a pair of shoes, complete with the running path laser-etched on the box.