European Mobile Lab for Interactive Artists

Artists: Alexandra Berlinger (tat ort), Wolfgang Fiel (tat ort), Tobias Rosenberger

Type of project: Responsive Object

Dimensions: 2m (length) x 1.3m (depth) x 2.2m (height)

Materials: Metal space-frame on wooden pedestal, 6 TFT screens, 3 computers

“Glen Runciter is dead. Or is he? Someone died in the explosion orchestrated by his business rivals, but even as his funeral is scheduled, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping and regressing in ways which suggest that their own time is running out. If it hasn´t already.”

- Philip K. Dick, Ubik

Embarking on the notion of a seamless passage between the realm of public urban space and the secretive worlds of corporate business, we focused on the development of a mediating appliance that would allow for playful interaction along the lines of an arresting narrative.

The interventionist manipulation of a fictitious reality unfolds in a series of mysterious events, staged and displayed within the framework of a simulated corporate environment. A sketch-like model of a prototypical corporate building type is the materialized space-frame for the organizational complex. Within the physical constraints of the architectural proposition, a number of office units provide for the generic setting of various scenarios, all of which are based on the same narrative but looked upon subjectively from the individual perspective of imaginary characters. All these people contribute their personal version of events past, simply because they happened to be inside or around the building at a particular time. Step by step the evidence at hand may appear to make for a comprehensive round-up, but remain the fragmented collage of an alleged incident inside the complex. The façades of the model are equipped with 6 modified TFT displays in order to regulate their degree of transparency depending on the amount of white light received in the course of transmission. With their ability to transmit light, the screens retain their quality to display any kind of digital information, and take on the following functions:

  1. Regulation of transparency
  2. Framing device for highlighting specific details or pieces of evidence inside the building
  3. Display of additional information, e.g. text, video or diagrams

Once the visitor activates the cycle, her or his proximity to the model is prone to create a fragile commitment to follow the densely illustrated simulation of an ever changing narrative as its constitutive elements are being re-arranged with every incoming signal triggered by a new visitor.

The model is a self-sustained unit, and once the sideboards are flipped open, its wooden transport packaging turns into the surrounding landscape of the model. The lower part of the crate forms the pedestal for a presentation at eye height in a room with its only source of light being the media façades of the scaled building. A number of small speakers enhance the various scenarios acoustically from inside the various rooms of the structure.

Contact artist: Wolfgang Fiel (fiel@tat-ort.net)


Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture
Vorarlberg State Department of Cultural Affairs, Austria
Kulturamt Stadt Giessen
Giessener Hochschulgesellschaft
Hessische Theaterakademie


Project images
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