Sound of Europe
Salzburg, 27.-28. Jan 2006
"Europe is Real"
An interactive image of Europe as the central portal to the conference
If the visitors approach this video wall, their motions leave behind traces in the image of Europe and, from behind the European flag, a satellite image of the European continent emerges.
The central element of this interactive media installation is a large-scale display screen, vertically aligned, centrally positioned only a few meters away from the top of the escalator. The screen is filled by the image of a European flag (12 stars on a blue background) and the logo of the Austrian presidency. This large-scale display screen can already be seen by visitors as they enter the Congress Center and thus assumes the function of “greeter” (portal).
Visitors take the escalator to the 1st Upper Level and thus ride precisely in the direction of this projection screen. The area between the video display and point at which guests step off the escalator on the 1st Upper Level is monitored by a digital camera. If someone debarking from the escalator enters this zone under surveillance by the camera, then this person is displayed as a graphic symbol on the video screen at a position that corresponds to his/her actual physical position. Then, the person’s movements through the area being monitored “erases” swaths of the European flag and, in doing so, frees up a view of the satellite image of Europe underneath it. Depending on how many people walk through this zone, the view of the real Europe becomes “complete.”
This process of emergence can take place by means of conscious steps on the part of the guest—i.e. one who wishes to reveal the satellite image of a particular European country need only proceed to the corresponding part of the monitored zone (active intuitive interaction with the installation). This process also frees up a view of those parts of Europe through which the guests move “in transit”—e.g. proceeding from the escalator to the Conference Hall. But regardless of whether the individual is going about this deliberately or not, as long as there are active participants, Europe becomes real.
The more participants there are getting actively involving in bringing forth the “real Europe,” the greater the likelihood of it becoming totally visible. Analogous to the situation in the Congress Center—ultimately, it is not enough just to attend “The Sound of Europe”; each individual has to actively cooperate.
Concept and Realization: Zachary Lieberman, Ars Electronica Futurelab.