On The Level

With screens of one kind or another becoming the de facto interface between us and the world, applications that can create tangible connections between our physical presence and abstract or remote data have a lot of appeal. In a playful and more-than-a-little-satirical gesture, Reykjavik-based artist Pall Thayer has created a new way to interact with your surroundings through the screen of your Powerbook laptop. Using the Apple Motion Sensor, an internal mechanism for sensing the computer's movement, Thayer has designed a widget (a mini application) that mimics a common carpenter's level, revealing whether your computer is 'flat' or slightly askew. While others have long been experimenting with logical applications for motion detection technology, such as game interfaces, Thayer's digital level humorously points to the absurdity that can be found in the race towards total technological convergence. But then again, in this multi-tasking, multi-disciplinary global economy, who's to say you won't need a network connection while leveling some kitchen cabinets? - Ryan Griffis