Ouija 2000 (2001)

What is the difference between knowledge and belief? ...And where is Houdini when we need him?

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Ouija 2000 A Collaborative Art Installation

Ken Goldberg, Rory Solomon, Billy Chen, Bob Farzin, Gordon Smith, Steve Bui, Jacob Heitler, Derek Poon, Gil Gershoni, David Garvey, Paulina Wallenberg Olsson, Barney Bailey, and Mark Sottilaro.

The Ouija board is an ancient device for communicating with spirits. Ouija 2000 is a net art installation, an on-line Ouija board with its planchette mounted on a robotic arm.

Participants logging on to the Web site are given instructions for using their computer mouse to interact with other live players. Ouija 2000 is available twenty-four hours a day, and viewers/users come together to "play" with up to twenty others at a time. In contrast to most teleoperation systems where a single user controls a single robot, in Ouija 2000 multiple users come together to collaboratively control a single industrial robot arm. This suggests the Central Limit Theorem, developed by DeMoivre and LaPlace in 1812. This statistical theorem describes how independent random variables can be combined to yield an estimate that becomes more accurate as the number of variables increases.

Ouija 2000 comments on mysticism and technology by posing questions about telepistemology: What can we know at a distance?


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