Teleporting an Unknown State (1998)

Kibla Art Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia - October 24 to November 7, 1998

Eduardo Kac

Short Description: This was a Web interactive installation that allowed online participants to send light from eight areas of the world to a single seed planted in the Multimedia Center Kibla Art Gallery, in Maribor. The seed depended on light sent by Web participants to be able to do photosynthesis and grow in a completely dark room. This work used the notion of teleportation of particles (photons) to create the metaphor of the Internet as a life-supporting system.

How light was transmitted to the plant: Web participants found a 9-image grid online. At first, this grid had a live image of the video projection over the earth in the middle and black rectangles around it. Clicking on the middle image replaced it with a live, zoomed-in view of the plant. Clicking on each of the eight rectangles retrieved its corresponding image (a live webcam view from the corresponding city showing its sky). The image was at once seen on the Web and projected over the plant in the gallery. To see a diagram, please click here.

Interaction: The default state of this work was a central image surrounded by black rectangles (which were filled with live images when requested by the participant). If you saw a black image when you logged on, either it was dark at the moment at the selected geographic location or the corresponding image was not selected by the previous Web participant. Once selected by the Web participant, an image remained active (online and in the gallery) for five minutes. After this period it was replaced by a black rectangle, to enable incoming participants to make their own choices.

The 9-image grid: The grid was a map, with Slovenia in the middle. The placement of the other eight images followed the concept that, in the context of the piece, the host country (Slovenia) was at the center of the world. Thus, Vancouver was on the upper left corner; Paris was on top; Moscow was on the upper right corner; Chicago was on the left/middle; Tokyo on the right/middle; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was on the lower left corner; Mawson Station, Antarctica, was at the bottom; and Sydney, Australia, was on the lower right corner. Please click here to see more examples of the grid as it changed throughout the day and from one day to another.

The process: The central image (showing the projected webcam views) was captured and uploaded automatically with a self-contained camera server. When projected, this image concentrated the light sent by Web participants and projected it onto the seed. The eight surrounding images were automatically captured by the KIBLA server from webcams around the world and made available every five minutes. They were uploaded interactively when the Web participant clicked on the corresponding black rectangle.

A bilingual 88-page catalogue is available (ISBN 961-6304-00-3). For catalogue information, please click here.

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