20 September - 19 October 2003
Award winners of the prix Ars Electronica for interactive art in 2001, Assocreation is an artist collective interested in digital networks and their transition into a sensuous realm. What is essential to them is developing an “open interface” that enables interaction through every day experience. BUMP was one of a series of works creating ‘gaps’ in the urban landscape for play, reflection and communication.
Two walkways 12 metres long, made up of a series of wooden planks supported by pneumatic pistons, were simultaneously situated in Fabrica Gallery Brighton and the MuseumsQuartier Vienna. The pressure of each footstep as participants move along the pavement triggered an impulse that was sent across the Internet to the other city, moving the corresponding plank by a few centimetres. Visitors could feel the connection beneath the soles of their feet, with a force that matched their own, creating an illusion of closeness to a street hundreds of kilometres away.
A webcam relayed to a video screen at each site gave participants an indication of who they were interacting with.
The Bump project was Fabrica’s second collaboration with its partner venue, Espace Croisé, in Roubaix near Lille in northern France to be funded by the European Union Interreg project.
The Espace Croisé gallery space was not large enough to install the Bump walkway, so a suitable site had to be found. The challenge was to find a site where there was a considerable flow of pedestrian traffic and facilities at hand to feed an industrial compressor and provide a reliable internet connection.
At a meeting with Fabrica members in March 2003 the director of the Centre International de Communication (a new technologies training centre) offered to site Bump in their courtyard with technical and logistical support from their staff. The CIC staff were very enthusiastic about the collaboration and exchange visits between Fabrica staff and themselves were arranged to discuss logistical and technical details.
Due to unforeseen circumstances in June, the CIC were no longer in a position to support the project and so an alternative site with appropriate facilities needed to be found. In view of the short timescale and the approaching French summer holiday recess, it seemed unlikely that another venue in Roubaix would be found and so Assocreation were asked if they could find a site in their home city Vienna.
The Assocreation team worked hard to obtain permission to site the installation on one of Vienna’s busiest shopping streets within a stone’s throw of the MuseumsQuartier. They installed a wooden hut next to the walkway to house the compressor and computer equipment and persuaded a local business to share their broadband connection with them