Between the Words
Application software: Sebastian Egner and Adolf Mathias
Produced in cooperation with the Kunst und Ausstellungshalle Bonn, Ars Electronica Linz, the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe and the Netherlands Design Institute Amsterdam.
In the disembodied domain of televirtual networking, the paraphysical reconstruction of surrogate body languages is a cardinal endeavor. This installation constitutes a specific modality of remote communication between two persons where facial expression and hand gestures are its essential agencies.
Two Silicon Graphics, computers that are remotely located from each other are connected in a local or telecommunications network. Persons at these separate locations can see the transmitted live image of each other's face on the computer screens as well as superimposed computer generated line drawings of hands. In the furniture of the table which suppports these computer screens there are holes where the viewers put their hands to move joysticks which in turn control the movement of these virtual hands. While these hands are interactively manipulated, their gestures continuously change – this is achieved by an algorithmic metamorphosis of the lines that constitute each hand, creating an interplay of abstract transitions between each gesture.
Four hands appear on the screen – two pairs of left and right hands controlled by the respective hands of the two users. For each person the spatial orientation of these hands on the screen is consistent with reality. Thus the work allows two viewers to enjoy an improvised visual communication with each other via a metalanguage of gestural permutations. Distant from each other and yet face to face, they interactively manipulate surrogate virtual hands to articulate a nonverbal yet eloquent dialog.