Teleporting an Unknown State (2001)

Eduardo Kac

Short Description: Web interactive installation that allows online participants to send light from eight areas of the world to a single seed planted in a physical gallery. Click here to see a diagram. The plant depends on light sent by Web participants to be able to do photosynthesis and grow in a completely dark room. This work uses the notion of teleportation of particles (photons) to create the metaphor of the Internet as a life-supporting system.

How light is transmitted to the plant: Web participants find a 9-image grid online. This grid has a live image of the video projection over the earth in the middle and black rectangles around it. Clicking on each of the eight rectangles retrieves its corresponding image (a live webcam view from the corresponding city showing its sky). The image is at once seen on the Web and projected over the plant in the gallery.


Screen shot showing light from Isummerit (Greenland) projected over the plant
in the Austin Museum of Art Austin, Texas (November 10, 2001; 12:14 pm CST).
This presentation of Teleporting an Unknown State was part of the travelling
exibition "Telematic Connections: The Virtual Embrace", organized by Independent
Curators International (ICI), New York, and curated by Steve Dietz.

Interaction: The default state of this work is a central image surrounded by black rectangles (which are filled with live images when requested by the participant). Once selected by the Web participant, an image remains active (online and in the gallery) for a few minutes, unless it is replaced by another request. After this period it is replaced by a black rectangle with the name of the corresponding city, to enable incoming participants to make their own choices.

The process: The central image (showing the webcam views projected over the plant) is captured and uploaded automatically with a self-contained camera server. The eight surrounding images are retrieved interactively from webcams around the world when the Web participant clicks on the corresponding black rectangle.

The gallery: Please click here to see a photograph and diagrams of the piece.

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