to see screenshots of the show>Installation
- a multisensory experience
at the Mind Zone/Millennium Dome/London
- by Herbert Lachmayer
The Mind Zone [architects:
Office Zaha Hadid] in the Millennium Dome at Greenwich was designed
to be a synthesis of contemporary architecture, art, electronic media,
and information about aspects of the mind, consciousness and our ways
of understanding the world.
PLAN-it! is an installation connecting a spatial with
an aesthetic and an intellectual experience. One might call this kind
of sculpture: media-architecture.
PLAN-it! was developed by fuchs-eckermann and Herbert
Lachmayer to set-up a multisensory environment for a sector of Zaha
Hadid's Mind Zone. The "Suspended Cube" [image above left]
was the location to house the projections and loudspeakers for the installation.
We started out about 1 year ago with a 3D-model and a structural description
of the location and began designing a media set-up for the visitors.
Our aim was to allow for an interactive work of art involving many interactors
at the same time. The visitors should feel free to join or leave the
game at any given moment. They should have fun no matter whether they
actively interfere or just watch passively. They should be surrounded
by sound and moving image rather than being confronted and they should
leave the installation with some new information, feeling or question.
The intention was not to explain a complex problem or to even predict
the future. In the process of creating such an installation both the
architects and the artists had to adopt their initial concepts. Based
on the unconventional format of our projection areas [20 meters wide,
3 meters high superpanorama] we started generating animations and videos
using this particular format. We recorded sounds feasible for spatial
distribution and we programmed the presentation software capable of
handling this kind of data.
PLAN-it! presents artistic
statements to answer 4 questions regarding our social and personal futures.
These questions focus on the topics of communication, work, material
things and transport [especially flight]. The statements are posed in
a way that might be experienced as surrealistic, ironic and playful,
yet they are based on serious research into possible developments and
on a careful observation of developments already underway. Each of the
topics is introduced with a short clip abundant with associative images
and sounds. The interactors are confronted with a question [e.g. "How
should we fly in the future?"] and 3 alternatives are offered describing
substantially different approaches. ["Bargain flights for 10 billion
people" - "Eco-friendly flying for a few" - "My
own virtual flight bubble"] The voting consoles in front of the
audience allow for 20 interactors at a time to press a button corresponding
to his/ her personal preference. After a voting period of a few seconds,
our computer system calculates the majority voted for and presents a
clip reflecting our artistic view of the chosen scenario. Again, this
clip may look and sound bizarre to a few visitors, however it has a
serious background: the visions and fears connected to it.
As artists the challenge was to invent and compose material which is
related to the problems of the "real world" without being
carried away by over-optimistic futurology, apocalyptic misanthropy
or the glossy dullness of the advertising industry. We consciously played
with the modes of exaggeration, irony, surrealism and travesty trying
at the same time not to get lost in fairy-tale telling. We kept an open
eye on facts and figures of our economy, politics and ecology. These
facts - compiled and selected by the NMEC - were inserted as scrolling
or billboard text or animated information in order to form an additional
layer on top of the images and sounds generated in our London studio.
Technically the system consists of an application synchronizing various
events on 6 computers, 20 input devices, 8 loudspeaker units and 5 video
projectors. The core programme is a multiuser server connecting the
main devices. A custom-built command language interpreter scans for
commands such as "start movies on computer 1,2,3 now" or "stop
soundtracks on computers 5 and 4" and effects synchronized actions.
The programme also stores statistical data from the voting.
PLAN-it! was first shown on January 1st 2000 following
a test phase of some 20 days. It will run non-stop 7 days a week until
the end of this year.
Location: Millennium Dome in Greenwich/ Tube Station:
Jubilee Line - North Greenwich.
The installation is located at the exit section of the Mind Zone [next
to the Faith Zone]
Equipment: 5 Macintoshes G3, 1 Pentium Computer, 5
BARCO projectors 6300 G, 8 Meyer Sound Speakers via SoundWeb, Input
Interface by Electrosonic, Software: our development [Hardwaresetup>>]
Development Period: 1 year [4 months in our London
studio at 44 Copperfield Road together with Martin Skladal]
Produced by: ART & TEK Institute Linz, Hauptstraže
4, A-4040 LInz
Production manager: Ricki Oelmack
Commissioned by: New Millennium Experience Company
Martin Newman [Content Director], Alan Dobbie [Production Manager]
The project was developed by Herbert Lachmayer and fuchs-eckermann