Ars Electronica 2001
Festival-Website 2001
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Festival 1979-2007


If you don´t think this is art, call ...

'Christoph Ebener Christoph Ebener / 'Uli Winters Uli Winters

A large white billboard measuring about 100 square meters is going to be mounted on the facade of the University of Art located on Linz’s main square. The message printed on it in large letters will read: “If you don’t think this is art, call 0800 1234567” Within seconds of a passer-by calling that number, a paintball will be shot at the billboard from a scaffold set up a short distance away. The ball splatters against the surface of the billboard leaving a brightly colored splotch. Then the caller hears a recorded message: “If you still don’t think this is art, please call again!” Every caller (no matter where they’re calling from) triggers a paintball shot fired by a cannon being aimed at random. Over the course of seven days, this will produce an image that is constantly changing and becoming increasingly colorful.

The paintball variant of the interactive billboard is one of several possibilities of utilizing a cell phone/billboard interface. Concepts now in the developmental phase for various advertising clients include projects in which parts of the billboard move, polls are conducted among callers, or giveaways are distributed via cell phone calls. Enabling passersby to have a direct impact on a billboard adds an interactive element to classic outdoor advertising that involves viewers and customers in a way that is well-known in the field of interactive art: the “work” or the “piece of advertising” challenges viewers to act and thus makes possible an approach that is considerably more emotional than conventional strategies. The interactive billboard has been registered for a European patent by Raumschiff- Interactive GmbH.

Commissioned by Ars Electronica 2001.