Floating.Numbers | 2004

| video |

Numbers are commonly seen as quantitative measure of entities. Depending on the context however, they often also have religious, historical, mathematical and philosophical meanings. Floating.numbers attempts to bring back this often forgotten or unknown layer of meaning into their interpretation in the age of digital determinism.
Floating.numbers is a 9 x 2 meter interactive table on which a continuos stream of numbers are floating. Individual digits appear randomly at the surface and, once touched by a visitor, reveal their meaning in text, pictures, animation and small interactive applications. The significance of the numbers materializes from the various perspectives of sociology, religion, history, mathematics, art or one’s outlook on everyday life.
For this installation, the table was consciously employed as an interface. This everyday object is perceived as a place of communication, conversation and exchange of ideas. The visitors are engaged into a dialog with the application as well as with other visitors about the numbers they explore.

The table by itself is made out of wood. On the underside of the tabletop a grid of capacitive sensors are installed detecting the position of the visitors' hands through the wood.

The content is computationally designed and generated in real time communicating to the audience an autonomous, behavioral system. All numbers floating on the table are so-called typobots (type-robots) with specific behavior (move along different currents; move forward, move in the direction of attractorsThe, etc.). The goal was to offer an autonomous system giving users the impression they are engaged with an independently acting and non-deterministic system.
Two version of the installation were build: one in the shape of a common table and a version build in the shape of a steep river.

The project was commissioned by the Jewish Museum Berlin and realized in conjunction with my Friends and colleagues at art+com. Co-authors Denis Paul and Patrick Kochlik. Special mention to Dieter Sachse who developed the touch-sensitive surface.