AMODAL SUSPENSION Relational Architecture 8



Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find this site in Japanese?
Please go to and choose the "Japanese" link (your operating system must have support for Japanese characters).

How do I send a message from the Internet?
Log on to the “participate” section. Type your message in the space provided. Fill in your name and location. Please enter your email address if you would like to be notified when your message has been read. If you would like to send the message to somebody in particular please enter their name, location and email address (if you leave the fields blank the message will be sent to the sky without a recipient). Press the “send” button.

How do I catch a message using the Internet?
In the “participate” section, you select the catch tool, which is below the 3D window and on the right. Place the tool over the ray of light that you want to catch and click on it. The message will be revealed to you as a flying card and then it will be removed from the sky and added to the archive. Please note: the catch tool is disabled after you catch one message. To enable it again you must send a message.

How do I catch a message that was sent to me in particular?
If you received a notification email telling you that there is a message waiting for you, write down the message ID number that is in the email. Go on the net and log on to the “participate” section. In the bottom of the window you will see a list of all the messages that are currently in the sky in Yamaguchi, with ID numbers. As the numbers are sequential, this will let you estimate the time when your message will appear. As you move your mouse so that the cursor is over a lightbeam you can see who the sender is for each message in a yellow tooltip. Find your message and click on it with the catch tool (but do it fast or someone else could intercept it!).


The web interface showed a real-time simulation of what was happening in Yamaguchi at any given time. Participants would send and receive messages using this program, which could be found on the participate page.

How do I send a message from a cell phone?
Log on to the address The cell phone browser will automatically detect that you are on a cell phone and give you the phone interface. Select the “Send message” option. Enter your message and name, optionally you can enter your email address for notification, and name, location and email address if you want to specify a particular recipient. Press the “release” button.

How do I catch a message using a cell-phone?
Log on to the address Select the “Catch message” option. Enter your name and location. Select a number from 1 to 20 corresponding to the searchlight tower that is currently relaying the desired message. Press the catch button and the system will reveal to you the message that is going through the specified tower.

When will my message appear in the sky?
The time that it takes to send a message to the sky depends on how many people are ahead of you in the queue and how many people are catching messages at any given time. For this reason it is impossible to predict exactly when your message will appear, although when you send a message the system makes an estimate based on typical average times. In general, messages sent from cell phones and from Access Pods get priority over messages sent over the Internet, but all of them eventually will make it!

What happens to a message once it is caught and read?
It is shown briefly in a large screen at the YCAM center and all participating Access Pods and then it is added to the archive. You can search through all the messages and see them in the 3D window. You may also enter the ID code in the search field to see the web page of the message.

How is a message encoded?
The encoding is done with a statistical distribution of frequency of characters in the English and Japanese languages. The more frequent a character the brighter the lightbeam is. Spaces between words are dark. For more information visit the technology section.

Can I send messages in any language?
You can send messages in any language that uses roman (western) characters or Japanese characters. However, the automatic translation only works between Japanese and English.

What does the message "speed" control do?
You can specify whether you would like your message to scan the sky slowly or quickly, this may help in identifying it if there are many simultaneous messages in the sky at any given moment.

Are messages private?
No, all messages sent through this system are public and may be caught and read by any visitor. In addition, messages are stored in a permanent public archive so please do not send confidential or private information.

Why do you ask for my email address? Will I get spam?
The email addresses are needed in order to notify senders when a message has been caught. Even though all messages are public the email address is NEVER revealed to anyone. You can ensure that we will not reveal your address to any spammers.

How can I make sure I never get an email from this project?
If you receive an email from this project it is because someone entered it while they were sending you a message. Please write to if you do not want to receive messages from anybody and we will ensure that no message is ever sent to you.

What are the terms of service?
Please review our terms of service here

What is an Access Pod?
Several art centers all over the world have set-up an installation to give their visitors access to Amodal Suspension. These Access Pods have documentation and a special large-screen projection with statistics, 3D simulations and message display. Here is a list of all the available Access Pods.

What will happen after November 24, when the piece is finished?
The piece will remain operative and people will still be able to send and receive messages, visit the 3D archive and so on. However, the searchlights will not be operating and the webcam video will show prerecorded sequences.

Will the project happen again?
Hopefully! As the project is set-up again in different cities the interface will still be through the address so please bookmark the page.


The programs do not load
All the programs in this site are written with Java. Make sure that Java is installed in your browser and enabled in the preferences. All operating systems except Windows XP have built-in support for Java. You may download a free copy of the software for any operating system at

I see garbled text in some pages
If you have loaded a Japanese Applet and do not have support for Japanese characters in the operating system you will see garbled text. To solve this you may download Japanese character support from your operating system disks.

The video loads very slowly
The video from the eight webcams should update around once a second in high-bandwidth connections (cable, adsl, etc). This update rate decreases if there is less bandwidth available.

My message did not appear in the sky
Depending on the number of messages sent before your submission and the number of people catching messages, your message may take a longer time to appear in the sky as it was estimated by the system. Also, sometimes the message IDs are not always presented in sequential order and this is because the system may give more priority to messages sent by cell phone or because it is playing back messages that have been left in the reserve queue. If your message did not appear and the night is over in Yamaguchi the system will save it and show it the next night.

The 3D view is sloooooow!
All the programs on this site are made to be compatible with Java 1.1, which is not a very fast release but is compatible with most browsers. Things that affect the performance of your computer include: the processor speed, the connection speed (especially as the programs load textures), the video card and the kind of Java installed. We have seen most performance with Sun Java on Windows.

The programs load partially and then freeze
Sometimes the Java applets fail to load completely into memory. First try to reload the program by clicking on the "refresh" button of your browser. If that doesn't work try emptying the cache (the temporary memory that the browser uses to store frequently accessed documents). To do this visit the "preferences" or "options" settings in your browser and "delete or empty the cache", which is also called "delete temporary internet files". Once you have done this quit the browser and open it up again...fresh copies of the programs should reload and work perfectly

What operating systems and browsers are supported?
We have tested the applets in Windows 95, 98, NT and XP with Sun and MS Java in Explorer and Netscape. MacOSX runs fine in Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla and Safari (although Safari does not scale font size). MacOS9 is supported in Explorer and Netscape but please increase the memory allocation of the browser (in the "get info" window of the application in the finder). Netscape under Linux is great.


The phone interface was a simple form triggered when a participant logged on with any phone that could access the internet.