- Art in public space
- Electronic environments
- Video sculptures
- Light objects
- Expanded photography
- Video tapes
- Performative context
Computer-controlled interactive light installation
Polytechnic school Bregenz (AT), extension Baumschlager/Eberle, competition, realization 1996–8
12 light sticks with 64 LEDs each, microprocessors, eproms, control computer, terminal for direct input
Text content and language consulting: Veronika Schnell
project assistant: Martin Kusch
electronics: Alexander Pausch
In each of the three staircases of the new building of the HTL [polytechnic school] Bregenz, a light stick with red LEDs is installed in each of the four floors. From a word catalogue with 600 terms, 3 programmed "phrase machines", each assigned to a staircase, receive grammatically correct combinations of four words per day through random generation. The word catalogue contains keywords that exemplify the topic of fragmentation and re-composition of reality. It is created analogously to a language canon.
The 12 sticks generate a text that becomes perceptible to the observer only when she/he is in motion. The inertia of the retina is responsible for the sequences of words that seem to appear in the surrunding space – a meaningless "sign" suddenly becomes "language".
Using a computer terminal installed in the library, students can rewrite the text of one of the light sticks. Over time, these "electronic graffitis" change the original text.
The provocative intrusion of the deviant new into the cozy lap of the regulated is hardly ever played with like this. Paradoxically, this tendency is mostly realized unintentionally. Its fall just below the speed limit of complete word recognition incites a constantly-generated nonsensical, sometimes obscene, Dadaistic word stammering. It is not a creative, cross-border expansion of language that occurs, but rather a crossing of the word boundaries, disintegration of the word into letters, dissolution of the language code. Communication works "when it doesn't work." Sprache Sehen works in its failure. Look deeper, more fundamentally. Show there, what peculiarizes the artwork, what it refers to, what it symbolizes.
Erich Troy, in: Neubau Kunst Technik (translated from the original German)