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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

An Interactive Poetic Garden
David Small, Tom White

The Interactive Poetic Garden is literally a fountain of words. Water flows briskly down a series of cascades into a glowing pool. A tangle of words projected on the surface of the pool float like leaves in a stream. Sitting on the edge of the pool - but without getting your hands wet -you can control the flow of words, blocking or stirring them up, causing them to grow and divide into new words that are eventually pulled into the drain, then pumped back to the head of the stream, only to tumble down again. The garden is one of the experiments underway in the Media Lab's Aesthetics and Computation group, under the direction of Professor John Maeda, working to sculpt computational media into new expressive forms. The garden is the symbol of man's control over nature.This project attempts to bring the computer into the garden in harmony with stone, water, and plant materials .The computer is used to drive a video projector, creating the illusion of .text floating on the surface of the water as it flows through the garden.

Water enters at the back of the garden and cascades down a series of pools until it reaches a large square pool.This larger pool is lined with crushed white coral and here the water moves slowly until it spills out the back edge. Words appear to tumble down the rocks along with the water, calmly pull themselves through the shallow pool, and then magically reappear at the top of the stream along with the water. The words mimic the physical behavior of objects floating in a real fountain.The person sitting at the bench can interact with the words through a special hand interface letting her stop the word flow, push and pull words, and over time change the content of the words themselves.