Wednesday, December 2, 2009

breaktime: an organic fountain symphony

Time for some lunchtime aesthetics. This is the tallest fountain of the world, able to shoot water jets up to 500 feet high. More than that and almost incredibly so, the jets can be individually controlled in terms of direction and power, which together with colored light and music allows the creation of stunning visual patterns.

And this is only traditional aesthetics, where the human is the observer and the artwork the observed. Imagine what effect this can have if the fountain is meaningfully coupled to real time data. Think about weather forecasting data, a representation of people's brainwave activity in the city, cellphone use, voting poll statistics, or maybe each jet of the fountain could be directly coupled to a bystanders' bodily movements, inviting a mass interaction to arise. The possibilities are endless, the technological platform is here, so now the people need to start generating ideas and make it useful beyond just preprogrammed patterns, because no matter how seductive it might be to sit back and passively enjoy the ride, it does not render us any step beyond sophisticated couch potatoes. Gently taking what capitalism produces into our own hands is the way to go, if you ask me.

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