Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bucky Media

Attending the Tuned City festival in Berlin recently, one of the highlights was the work by Farmer's Manual. Located at the Alexanderplatz during a hot afternoon, the work Bucky Media consists of a 5-meter geodesic metallic ball fitted with live wireless microphones. Inviting interaction, the work created a playful and performative instance, with live processing of audio signal amplified through a sound system generated by the thudding and rolling of the ball as it bounced around the square, making people laugh, run for their lives, and join others in the unspoken game of exploring this uncertain object. Sitting on a nearby bench, I took delight in watching people walk by, become curious, and slowly approach the ball, touching it at first, wondering how to proceed, what kind of possibilities exist for interaction... It was an immediate process, resulting within a few moments in confident actions: it did not take long before people understood how to engage, what was called for, when to interact... The ball was there, as an out-of-place object that quickly found its place within a public situation. I felt Bucky would be satisfied to know his dymaxion engineering principles would find such an expression, as an object of playful interaction that may, in the end, create a sudden space for performative and shared investigations.

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