BUGS / KÄFER (2007)

BUGS /// KÄFER - bugs, errors, and weird behaviors - The idea:

"Bugs" are errors in softwares. They occur unexpectedly and get eliminated with debugging routines. But software errors can also provoke unusual and interesting results. Those misfits can sometimes be guided and reintegrated into the original programming to produce a striking and novel effect. Coincidence here helps to create what could not be planned. So "bugs" can have positive attributes. They are not wanted initially but break their way into life anyways, uncontrolled and often inspiring.

The "millennium bug" caused a stir at the turn of the millennium. It was a synonym for the the unexpected, the unknown, the undefined and the uncertain of the time to come. The image of the "bug" as error and variable of the program will be the metaphor for this interactive installation. The user is encouraged to play with the bugs and by doing so create new bugs and variables in the software.

Everyone has probably once tried to influence and guide bugs or ants by putting small obstacles in their path. If you cross the path with a finger or hold it above to drop a shadow onto the path, the ants will not cross this virtual barrier and move around it. The same way the users will naturally interact with the "BUGS" installation.

The installation/interaction:

When a visitor approaches the "BUGS" installation he will see different projected bugs sitting on the surfaces of the abstract ant-hill object. They seem to enjoy the digital sun. From time to time they stretch a leg or wing, but otherwise remain motionless. If the visitor puts a hand above the installation landscape, he drops a shadow on it. If the shadow touches a bug, the bug wakes up and starts to move. The bugs try to avoid the visitors shadows and do not cross them. If they reach the border of a shadow they will turn to the side and crawl alongside the shadow. By using their shadows, the visitors can guide the bugs to a certain direction.

When a bug reaches the highest peak of the ant-hill object, it triggers a random variation in the software. This variation affects the attributes of the bugs and the look of the projected ant-hill. This way the bugs cause unpredictable modifications in their control software, like a software bug normally does.

Full Description

BUGS - KÄFER /// bugs, errors, and weird behaviors

Using projected animated insects as a metaphor for bugs in computer software, we have created an interactive installation that explores how software bugs can sometimes provoke unusual and even enlightening results.

The digital bugs are projected onto a multifaceted ‘anthill’, where, using their own shadows, visitors can stimulate the bugs’ movement and guide them in particular directions. When a bug reaches the highest peak of the anthill, it triggers a random variation in the software, subsequently changing the bug’s appearance or behavior. Then, the debugging starts all over again.

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