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Christopher Ruckerbauer
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Robert Bauernhansl
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photo: 300 dpi

UnitM – Architecture that Reacts to its Visitors
A multimedia project by the Ars Electronica Futurelab has turned WIFI’s Upper Austrian Linz headquarters into an interactive building. UnitM has been this facility’s most outstanding feature since it opened in 2001. The set-up has now been readapted.

The M in UnitM stands for an interactive media art project that links up mankind, media and machines. Its chief feature is the communicative interplay of light and color, language and movement—a configuration that is indicative of the building’s utilization as a place for imparting knowledge and skills that will be much in demand in the future.

The Economic Promotion Institute of Upper Austria (WIFI) commissioned the Ars Electronica Futurelab to design UnitM. Its most conspicuous elements are the multi-hued light columns that constitute an integral component of the facility’s architecture. Another prominent feature is the cluster of computer-controlled crawl-text displays grouped around the entrance to the WIFI Training Center. UnitM premiered during the 2001 Ars Electronica Festival. Now, following its successful four-year run, it’s been enhanced and updated.

The building’s light columns react to the magnitude of the flow of visitors through the facility. When a lot of people are coming and going in the WIFI headquarters, the columns reflect this with very colorful and highly varied lighting effects. When pedestrian traffic in the building decreases, the columns radiate more muted tones.

There are additional forms of interaction available to visitors. For example, they can use a PC set up in the lobby to access "newsmap," Marcos Weskamp’s Internet project featuring a highly innovative user interface that provides links to press reports from all over the world. When a visitor selects one of the current bulletins to read on-screen, it also appears on the crawl-text displays throughout the building.

Plus, UnitM offers WIFI clients and associates a unique entertainment option when they happen to have a couple of minutes to kill. When they play "Four in a Row" on the PC in the lobby, the huge light columns serve as a sort of oversized game board that displays the player’s moves by means of lighting effects.


Commissioned by WIFI Upper Austria, Wiener Straße 150, 4021 Linz

Conceived and installed by the Ars Electronica Futurelab
Martin Honzik, Stefan Mittlböck-Jungwirth, Robert Abt, Horst Hörtner, Gerfried Stocker, Martin Brunner, Peter Freundling, Stefan Feldler.

With inquiries, please contact:

Mag. Wolfgang A. Bednarzek MAS
Ars Electronica
Pressesprecher / Press Officer

tel: +43.732.7272-38
mob: +43.664.81 26 156
fax: +43.732.7272-638
E-Mail: wolfgang.bednarzek@aec.at

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