The bouncing messages follow amodal patterns derived from Buckminsterfullers notion of tensegrity, attempting to distribute information loads over all the nodes of the searchlight matrix.
The endlessly errant message is meant to refer both to the labyrinthine circulation found in the writings of Jorge Luis Borges and the Japanese tradition of Omikuji fortune knots.
The encoding of text messages into light flashes is quite inefficient, only about 2 Japanese and 4 roman characters per second. This gives the installation charm and also a rhythm and speed that the eye can detect (even if it can't decode it). What we see is the message density, not the story. If we wanted to be "efficient" we would use lasers, which can transmit 1.5 gigabits per second; but then again why be efficient? This project is not about communication, it is about relationships. We want to slow-down communication to an urban level, to make it tangible.
Messages are public and anyone can read them even if they are sent to someone in particular. If only two people are writing to each other, a message can have multiple states of suspension, of in-between, never quite arriving. This third state between sending and receiving is a gap of intense poetic lines-of-flight.
The light beams are themselves the vehicle for the transit of messages. The effect that you see from the city is that of the circulation of "light switches" as searchlights form vectors between them. If no one reads these messages they will remain in an endless state of suspension over the city. If no one participates the searchlights will be off and we won't see anything.
We need to calibrate the searchlights in 3D so that we can guarantee that the light beams will only hit switch nodes...and these will be carefully chosen to avoid disturbing neighbors or drivers or the bird sanctuary in the mountains.
The best way to view the installation is from anywhere inside the perimeter of the searchlights. The beams will fly quite low (not hitting any buildings nor the ground) so it will be a canopy overhead. One of the important features of this distributed arrangement is that there is no privileged viewpoint for VIPs. Everybody gets a partial view only. There is no such thing as a complete, objective view and this is good conceptually.
The cell phone interface is important because it is so prevalent in Japanese society and because it allows people to send and catch messages on the site with their own personal technology, adding intimacy. The mobility allows people to stroll through the data cloud and participate from different vantage points. Finally, the fact that cell phones and local access terminals are on site means that the piece is not a passive spectacle but an intervention dependent on public complicity.
There is no catharsis, no build-up, no narrative
the piece is better compared to a water fountain in a public square than to a son et lumière show.
Message nodes, information fabric, airborne message suspension, atmospheric photospheric, open, participatory, post cards, non-linear, non-narrative, tensional integrity, message turbulence, interception, otherception.