TRiCKSTR – AN AUDiO-VISUAL ENVIRONMENT WITH ARTIFICAL PERSONALITY
Interactive Installation, 2007
by Sibylle Hauert and Daniel Reichmuth in collaboration with Volker Böhm
«The trickster is an alchemist, a magician, creating realities in the duality of time and illusion.»
A massive presence is established in the space by the pixel light wall, a gigantic illuminator finely articulated through many individual lamp modules. Moving image patterns captivate the eye: rhythmical, abstract ornamentation dissolves into chaotic disorder; cycles oscillate producing pulsating light waves; and, color in gradients of sepia gives the impression that the physical materiality of the illuminator itself changes.
The impression of movement and dynamics is intensified by sound, which is so closely coupled with the image that it’s not possible to decipher whether the sound has evoked the image or vice versa. Whether through light or darkness, sound or silence the machine dynamically activates the space – including by means of a repeatedly-occurring voice!
… slightly irritating; the machine speaks; sound is now suddenly semantically loaded and also no longer seemingly bound to the moving light image. Trickstr’s recited leaps of thought concern a critic of the multiple worlds and levels out of which it has itself been constituted. Specific topics include the invention and developmental history of electricity, the computer, robots, and automats. The very concept of invention in itself is explored, as well as the definition of art since the 20th Century. In fact, Trickstr aims to question all formal systems in general and in particular their assumed irrefutability, as well as their fallibility. This fallibility is humorously underscored by Trickstr’s own frequent ‘error messages’. Paradoxes and contradictions within and between fields of thought are also pointed out. The voice is synthesized, trick and deceit, a faked simulation model of human communication.
We find ourselves seduced into anthropomorphizing this abstract environment. But just as a text has been formulated, it already starts to dissolve again into its individual tonal parts merging with the sound machine…..
The fact that the machine can also be influenced is discovered by the exhibition visitor when she or he enters the “action space,” a slightly raised stage located at some distance from the light wall.
By treading on this platform the player is confronted with her or his own pixilated image and an the sound of the acoustical Trickstr ‘trademark’ announces Trickstr’s awakening out of its self-absorbed mode. TRiCKSTR is ready to play!
Different modules trickily alternate back and forth: sometimes the machine reacts intensely and dynamically to our movements. Just the smallest shifts of weight lead to light storms and sound tempests; then again it demonstrates its sluggishness and forces us to move faster and faster; at times it is a game to be played; at others it is a sound landscape to be explored…
…and then once again the aim is to just dance, really dance, like Trickstr loves it!
The player alone can decide how long this interactive mode is to last; as soon as the stage is empty, Trickstr – after personally saying good-bye – once again falls back into its own regenerative state.
«Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.» – Wizard of Oz