PLAN-it: 2000, Millennium Dome/ MindZone, London GB



click to see screenshots of the show>Installation View>

PLAN-it! - a multisensory experience
PLAN-it! - at the Mind Zone/Millennium Dome/London
PLAN-it! - by Herbert Lachmayer [Concept] and
PLAN-it! - fuchs-eckermann [artwork, realization]

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 [

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 [NMEC]
Martin Newman [Content Director], Alan Dobbie [Production Manager]

The project was developed by Herbert Lachmayer and fuchs-eckermann

Contributions by:

Fatih Aydogdu (Video, Morphing)
Ronan Bocarro (3D-Model of the Dome)
Niki Chesworth (Texts and Research)
Caroline Delval (Translation)
Ricarda Denzer (Video Composing)
Julija Ezergailis (Photo and Research)
Christian Gargele (Consulting)
Stephen Grey (3D-Body Scans)
Ruth Kaaserer (Video-Shooting)
Sergius Kodera (Research)
Thomas Macho (Consulting)
Reinhard Mayr (Photo)
Philip Mann (Research)

Rowland Morgan (Texts, Revision)
Yoko Muraoka (Scanning)
David Perryman/ Psygnosis (Computer Game)
Peter Piccottini (Lingo Consulting)
Johnny Porsch (Research)
Fridolin Schönwiese (Photo)
Julian Scott/ Audio Affects (Audio Samples)
Martin Skladal (3D-Design, System)
Lars Tuubjörk (Photo)
Chris Whatmore (Titel)
Marcus Weimer/ Rattelschneck (Cartoon)
Michael Westmoreland (Panoramic Stills)
Tanja Widmann (Research)

2000, Millennium Dome/ MindZone, London GB