Toyota LandCruiser Emergency Network

My latest work via Saatchi & Saatchi. As featured in Wired, Engadget, TechCrunch, PSFK and The Verge.

Nearly a year and I half ago I walked in to my then ECD’s office and said “what if you could connect all the LandCruisers in Australia to create a gigantic, roving emergency communication network. Not just the new ones, but all of them!”. Well, after a year and a half of toil it feels great for Toyota and Saatchi & Saatchi to finally announce The LandCruiser Emergency Network – an ongoing project to bring emergency communications to the Outback:

Toyota LandCruiser Emergency Network – Transforming Toyota LandCruisers into a pop-up, emergency mobile phone network powered by everyday Australian drivers.

Extreme terrain, killer predators, isolation from services and rapid onset of extreme weather make the Australian Outback one of the most inhospitable environments on earth. One of the biggest challenges faced by rural communities, and visitors, is a lack of access to mobile phone networks.

With over 5 million square kilometres, or 65% of the land receiving no mobile signal, the Australian Outback is one of the world’s most dangerous mobile phone black-spots.

In times of emergency this can be incredibly dangerous.

LEN industrial design. Inspired by the ancient relay batons

To quote the wonderfully eloquent editor of “People who drive Toyota LandCruisers are a special kind of helpful adventurers. There’s literally ‘LandCruiser gangs’ that drives out to remote places to drag Jeep’s out of situations too difficult for them to handle. Not even kidding”.

It’s estimated Toyota have over 500,000 LandCruiser vehicles in operation, making them the country’s most popular 4×4 and outnumber cell-phone installations in Australia 30 to 1. While rural Australians find themselves far from cell towers, they’re never usually far from a Toyota LandCruiser driver. The project seeks to take advantage of this scale by installing a small, inexpensive, signal-providing devices that turn LandCruisers into communication hotspots.

Simple plug and play installation

Together these create a store-and-forward network of emergency signals that anyone can use with just an ordinary mobile phone.

In times of emergency such as fire or flood, a mobilised and fully rolled out network like LEN can also create a coverage within an emergency zone. This enables the community in need to organise their disaster response, as well as communicate with the outside world.

Developed with Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen, Senior Lecturer at Flinders University School of Computer Sc, Engineering & Mathematics, and specialist in disaster and attack resilient technology, the plug-and-play devices are built upon the fundamentals of Delay-tolerant networking currently being explored by space agencies such as NASA for interplanetary communications and deep-space internet protocols and can be fitted to both old and new vehicles. The device’s design takes its industrial design from the relay-system baton design used to carry vital messaging across vast distances by the Ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese civilisations.

project-engineerThe LandCruiser Emergency Network launched in August 2015, with a successful, ongoing community pilot in 50,000 km2 of remote Outback South Australia.

Adland says: “It’s a brilliant idea that turns the LandCruisers out there into moving Wifi hotspots, enabling people out of reach from cellular networks to piggyback on their wifi-signal in order to send out an emergency signal/call. This is an idea that is actually changing the world – starting with the outback, of course”.

Saatchi & Saatchi global describes the idea as a “‎world changing‬ idea”.

Special shout out to the wonderful team I had the pleasure of going on this journey with: Paul Gardner-Stephen and his team at Flinders University School of Computer Sc, Engineering & Mathematics. Saatchi & Saatchi creative teams Wassim Kanaan, Guy HobbsPierre-Antoine Gilles – without who’s ingenuity, creativity and insight the project would not exist. The persistence of Sam Jones, Anna Warren, Mike Spirkovski and Gary Clark. The craft of Tod Duke-Yonge. The cinematography of Eddie Bell and the 8 crew. And a special thanks to Marg & Doug Sprigg and co. of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, and the friendly citizens of the Flinders Ranges, SA.

Role: Group Innovation & Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Note: After delivering this project I left Saatchi’s to set up my own agency (Theo+Theo) with my lovely wife, award-winning design director Clare Theophane, but I will follow the project closely and hope it achieves the global potential I had always envisioned from the beginning.

Doug Sprigg, Project LEN volunteer Simple installation LEN in action

Agency Credits
  • Client: Toyota
  • Brand: Toyota LandCruiser
  • Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Australia
  • Executive Creative Director: Mike Spirkovski
  • Group Creative Director: James Théophane
  • Senior Creative: V. Wassim Kanaan
  • Creative Team: Guy Hobbs / Pierre-Antoine Gilles
  • Integrated Executive Producer: Anna Warren
  • Producer: Michael Demosthenous
  • Head of Design: Tod Duke-Yonge
  • Senior Digital Designer: Jake Bruce
  • Group Business Director: Ben Court
  • Senior Business Director: Sam Jones

Stop the Spies – An Interactive Privacy Installation by James Theophane

Stop the Spies
Art & About, Sydney. 19 SEPT – 12 OCT 2014 2014
in collaboration with Luca Lonescu & Celina Stang (aka Neon Nomads)
Live Streaming / LED Fabric
Made possible by Holler Sydney, Nylon and

This year the organisers of Art & About, Sydney invited artists from around the globe to pitch ideas exploring the “endangered – the ‘at risk’, the threatened, the exposed and the risky from all perspectives“.

I chose to take this as an opportunity to raise awareness of the eroding privacy of our digital lives. This was especially topical as Australia was putting a motion through the senate to retain 2 years of every citizen’s metadata.

To bring this to life I worked with Neon Nomads and Holler Sydney to create giant all-seeing eyes, envisioned as stark symbols of the government’s threat to online privacy.

We installed these in Hyde Park, the heart of Sydney’s CBD and the centre of the Art & About. Each ‘eye’ was linked to a ‘spy-station’ situated away from, but within line of sight of it’s linked giant eye.


Each station had a voyeuristic-looking scope attached, and the surround-environment was designed to ensure the passer-by understood peeping in to the scope live-streamed their eye to the giant conical LED installation.

However the stations served a greater purpose.


Looking through the scope not only live-streamed the viewer’s eye to the installation, but using a two-way mirror system we were able to present the user with information about the proposed changes to online surveillance legislation, and urge them to visit and take a stand.


On 3 October 2014 the bill was passed by the Senate allowing the government to spy on it’s citizens, but not without a clear warning; we’re watching you, watching us.





‘Disrupted Christmas’ honoured at the 18th Annual Webby Awards

Our  “Disrupted Xmas” has been honoured for best Online Guerilla & Innovation for Interactive Ads in the 18th Annual Webby Awards.

The idea: Advertising prides itself on disruption. But what if you could disrupt advertising? For Christmas 2013 we gave the public, and a local children’s charity a very special present:

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. The IADAS, which nominates and selects The Webby Award Winners, is comprised of web industry experts, including media mogul Arianna Huffington, Skype CEO Tony Bates, Mozilla CEO and Chair Mitchell Baker, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, mobile-phone inventor Martin Cooper, and Creator of the Jif Steve Wilhite.

“Honorees like Disrupt Christmas are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 12,000 entries we received this year.”


Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 4.29.45 pm img-5 DisruptXmas-2 CardDesign_V02f

Life Framer International Photography Exhibition and Book

by James Theophane
Skin to Skin by James Theophane (cc) Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) 2013

Should you find yourself in London between April 1st – 22nd 2014 be sure to check out the Life Framer International Photography Award’s exhibition theprintspace Gallery, Kingsland Road. Register here for the event.

The exhibition features winning work from all 24 winning artists from across the year as well as several hand-selected honorary mentions including yours truly.

If you can’t make the exhibition you can buy the book online for 32GBP: LF Volume 1 is a collection of stunning contemporary photography from 24 winning photographers, each selected by globally acclaimed judges across twelve months of varied themes encompassing ‘Life’ at its most diverse.

Life Framer Exhibition: 2 – 22 April 2014, Mon- Fri 9am – 7pm, theprintspace gallery, 74 Kingsland Road, E2 8DL, admission free.


Life Framer is an organization aiming to push artists to boundaries with an international award and exhibition open to all. The award is by photographers, for photographers.




Disrupted Christmas – A live Installation by Holler

img-5 Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 4.29.45 pm

Best Ads – Best Interactive

Advertising prides itself on disruption. But what if you could disrupt advertising?

On Friday 13th December 2013 we raised $5,500 for The Factory, a local community centre, via a live, interactive installation, which gave the public the chance to disrupt the agency as it worked throughout the day.

We hacked Electric Muscle Stimulation units and hooked them up to the Internet via IP cameras. Key members of the agency were then connected to the EMS units, and the Internet via a live stream.

The public could watch our day and disrupt it at will with the click of a button. Users chose a stream, clicked the ‘Disrupt’ button, and watched as the EMS instantaneously zapped our staff, interrupting their ability to continue the task at hand.

For each ‘disruption’ we donated $1 to The Factory, a local community centre with a long history of supporting socially and economically disadvantaged local residents.

The interactive webcast lasted more than 4 hours, raising a grand total of over $5500. We achieved precious little work, but succeeded in spreading Christmas cheer in spades.



How it worked

The EMS hardware was custom built to be controlled via MIDI protocol. We designed it to put out pulses of 60v maximum, but we are mostly working with a third of that, sending 20 pulses a millisecond. The engineer opted for a battery operated system, running off 8 AA’s, mitigating risk of mains surge.

To control the device we built a patch in MAX/MSP, designed to receive the “trigger messages” sent from the Internet.

Our ‘disruption’ web interface was built with Backbone.js for view rendering and UI interactions and switching video streams. It connected to the server via to listen to broadcast events (zap), and to trigger a zap.

We used a Single node.js server hosted on Heroku to manage queues and handle connections. This server would receive and validate a ‘zap’ from a user, and then trigger a broadcast event which all users/clients were subscribed to.

Once a message was received, the socket server converted it to OSC format in order to communicate with MAX/MSP, and transmit that message over UDP protocol to MAX, subsequently triggering the EMS device to deliver the shock to the desired user. This happened all within milliseconds.

By Holler Sydney in collaboration with Michaela Davies.



Advertising Agency: Holler, Sydney, Australia
Agency website:

Creative Director: James Theophane
UX: Vlad Ivanovic
Art Director: Ben Heath
Copywriter: John Gault
Photographer: Anton Sugianto
Developers: Michael Hazell, Scott Swabey, Can Ertel.
Designers: Catalina Gouverneur, Jessica Tong
Producers: Nathan Johnson, Brooke Tebbenhoff, Coby Walter
Streaming Technology by BlueCentral
PR Max/Spectrum

Generation Connected – A Facebook Cover Shoot

5 ethernet leads, a key to an electric bike, 2 scaples, an iPhone 5s cable, 1 old MiniDisc player (plus disks), 64g of sugarfree gum, a pink pinpong ball, 2 scalpels (plus blades), 2x pencil sharpeners, a mouse, a lomo camera, 1 St Judes disposable coffee cup, iPhone 4 earphones, a DVDR disk, 3 blocks of lego, 1 dvi connector, a dinosaur, 1 macbook plug adapter, a paperclip, ye olde iPod, aKlang USB, a LEAP motion and an HB pencil later…


Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.59.05 pm

Download free hi-res desktop background [5556 × 3600 jpg 12.7mb]

Maria Garcia, Antonny Sugianto, Catalina Gouverneur, Jessica Tong and James Théophane.

work @ holler

One Million Photographers Shot of the Month Winner

As well as my flickr upload hitting the frontpage of Reddit, the shot has also won the prestigious One Million Photographers photography award.

[Skin to Skin] resonated with and caught the eye of the team because of the connection it made: the captured instant unravelling a momentous event, situation and story in one frame.  All the hallmarks of a good reportage shot.

by James Theophane
Skin to Skin by James Theophane 2013 (cc) Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs

via thinkTANK Photo Shot of the Month: October – One Million Photographers.

Australia. Land of quattro – An interactive TV spot for Audi made by drones

Audi - Australia. Land of quattro FWA Site of the day


Site of the Day: FWA, Google Sandbox, Awwwards, Design Licks, CSS Winner, HTML Inspiration and CSS Inspiration.

Australia. Land of quattro is no ordinary TV commercial.

We (Holler Sydney) hacked quadcopters to track our car through Australia and create a multi-angle, multi-screen, interactive commercial – designed to be instantly and infinitely remixable from the comfort of your couch.

To achieve this we had to reinvent the way we shot a commercial. We used ‘dynamic waypoint’ hacked quadcopters (arduino) and 3DR telemetry tracking technology to match our Audi quattro turn for turn and capture each scene over and over again, so you can take the director’s chair and create your very own commercial to share. The best of which is aired on as a 60 second spot on national TV.

Results: 202,700 unique users visited the online experience, hitting an Audi-record 18 minute average dwell time from 2,677,795,659 (billion) individual interactions. 2,287 user videos generated 814,316 views, entering into the top 25 Australian viral video chart.

And the interaction with the experience resulted in a 28% increase in test drives.

Try it now or watch our wrap-up campaign video.


Director: Yanni Kronenberg
Agency: Holler Sydney
CEO: Mike Hill
Creative Director: James Theophane
Art Director: Ben Heath
Copywriter: John Gault
Agency Executive Producer: John Mclean
Agency Producer : Thomas Trentfield
Account Director: Laura Boyd
Planner: Damien Hughes
Senior Backend Developer: Ronnie Pyne
Senior Front End Web Dev: Scott Swabey
Frontend Developer: Mike Hazell
Designer: Antonny Sugianto
Designer: Thomas Fitzpatrick
Designer: Maria Santos
Designer: Damian Simpkins
Producer: Suzanne Mallos
DOP: Bob Humphreys
Production Company: Aloha Films
Post House: The Editors
Editor: Dave Whittaker
Sound Design: Klang
Music: Michael Dow