Interactive Switchboard (2005)

This interactive switchboard shares its shape and components with the traditional switchboard, yet it is not activated by people making ordinary telephone calls, but by Internet users typing out their messages on a computer keyboard. The machine uses virtual reality to act on physical reality and is only effective in my current apartment: 5, Placeta de Montcada. This is so because my living space is at the core of this particular experiment - an experiment which allows net users to participate in it at both levels, virtual and real. That is, anyone may step into my apartment reproduced on a web page and, at the same time, make his/her presence felt in the physical flat by animating certain objects in the place. A printed stainless steel ground-plan of the apartment is mounted on the vertical panel of the switchboard installed in the flat. This plan is reproduced in the web ...

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This interactive switchboard shares its shape and components with the traditional switchboard, yet it is not activated by people making ordinary telephone calls, but by Internet users typing out their messages on a computer keyboard. The machine uses virtual reality to act on physical reality and is only effective in my current apartment: 5, Placeta de Montcada. This is so because my living space is at the core of this particular experiment - an experiment which allows net users to participate in it at both levels, virtual and real. That is, anyone may step into my apartment reproduced on a web page and, at the same time, make his/her presence felt in the physical flat by animating certain objects in the place. A printed stainless steel ground-plan of the apartment is mounted on the vertical panel of the switchboard installed in the flat. This plan is reproduced in the web page more elaborately: it contains a longitudinal section and a ground-plan. These two plans include some 450 photographs of every piece of furniture and every single object in the apartment. The navigator or, in this case, the intruder uses a virtual man in order to walk around the virtual apartment, but as we stated earlier, in doing so he/she will physically make his/her presence felt at the other end. He/She may do this in a number of ways. For instance, the minute the intruder enters the virtual flat and starts moving around, whoever is in the flat will be able to verify where he/she is located at any given moment by following the luminous signals on the original plan mounted on the switchboard. If the intruder wishes to communicate with someone at the flat, he/she may send a typed message which a virtual male voice will reproduce at the other end. One of six telephones connected to the switchboard - placed in the kitchen, the entrance, the living room, the studio and two bedrooms - will ring in the room where the navigator is located while sending his/her message. To ensure that every call is received, a reel-to-reel recorder placed on the table of the switchboard will act as an answering machine and record the messages. In addition to this, while moving around the virtual apartment the user will discover he/she is listening to a piece of music which can only be heard properly if he/she positions him-/herself at the center of the apartment. In any of the other spaces, one of the instruments in the musical composition will stand out over the others. Also, the intruder may turn the lights in the apartment on and off at will, as well as activate radios and other electronic devices. He/she is also invited to walk into my studio and obtain detailed information about my work and other recent works created in collaboration with Mohammad Mobaseri. WATCH THE VIDEO

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