Gertfried Stocker, Horst Hörtner: Winke Winke

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    Winke Winke


Creation Year:



    Interactive Installation


Artist Statement:

    The highly suggestive force of marine imagery meets the imma­teriality of digital information, which is not yet surrounded by myths.

    During the French Revolution, the first optical telegraphy net­work was established (under gov­ernment control) in France from 1794 onwards. The system’s achromatic objectives, which were already available at that time, were capable of spanning long distances. The invention of the electric telegraph was vehe­mently opposed by these sup­porters of visual telegraphy. Ever since, their line of reasoning has determined the discussion on open media and communication.

    In Winke Winke, a simple com­puter terminal (modem, key­board, and monitor) located in a public space is connected to a robot set up over the roofs of the city. Visible over a long dis­tance, this robot visualizes the messages entered into the com­puter by means of the interna­tional marine semaphore system. Each letter typed into the key­board or received via the modem is immediately translated into the corresponding semaphore sign.

    From the roof of a high building in a neighboring town, a video camera with a powerful telephoto lens records the robot. These pictures are fed into a computer that recognizes the signals by means of motion scanning (digital picture acquisition) and outputs them on-screen-again as letters.

    This project leads back to the cradle of current communication technologies that are about to radically change the world’s appearance. The basic kinetic structure of the digital communi­cation process is slowed down by the “effort” of translating, of understanding.