Magic Eye-Dissolving Borders

interactive installation

© 2010, Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignoneau

First exhibition location: MNBA, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago de Chile and Ars Electronica Center, Linz, Austria

Time:  September – November 2010
Curator:  Esperanza Rapport

The project “Magic Eye-Dissolving Borders” is based on the dichotomy between a positivistic participatory communication artwork and the awareness that communication per se can be superfluous and vain. “Magic Eye-Dissolving Borders” aims to challenge our expectation of conventional communication channels by bringing in absurd and surreal human experiences.

 “Magic Eye- Dissolving Borders” is a variable environment where participants can experience bizarre forms of interactions and communications. Six old style radios from the 1950ies have been modified and “enhanced” with our in-house sensor technology. Sounds coming from these radios create a sensation of humanness and exhaustion as the radios breath, sneeze, burp, cough, gargle, poop or make other private and embarrassing sounds that we usually do not shared in public.

Two radios can also be used to communicate in real-time between remote locations using the built in “Magic Eye Tube” of the radios. These Magic Eye Tubes were also called “Cats’ Eye”, invented in the 1930ies they usually gave a visual indication for the strength of the audio output and signal strength of the radio. We also modify these magic eyes and added our own surveillance cameras and projection system into them. This allows users of the connected radios to communicate through winking with their eyes while looking into the Magic Eyes of the radios. Contrary to what people are used to from telephones and the Internet, “Magic Eye- Dissolving Borders” creates surreal and preposterous experiences, where communication per se is put to discussion and our increasingly communicative world with its often phatic over-communication is challenged.