Breathe On Me is an installation/internet work consisting of a three-walled space with a number of hybrid fan/webcam devices affixed to the walls. The fan/webcam devices are modified netcams such that Internet users can control the direction of the fan from the remote webcam view combined with pan and tilt controls. Internet users can choose one of the devices in the space, log onto the “FanCam”, visually locate visitors in the physical space and then turn on the fan and "breathe" towards the person. Visitors in the physical space are invited to enter a space where they will be remotely seen and will not know who is telepresent. Once seen by internet participants, they will receive an offer of fan “breath’ as a fundamental form of communication. Visitors who enter the space are asking to receive a telepresent stranger’s glance and touch in the form of wind. Internet users reach out to physical visitors in the simple offer of moving air.

This installation proposes to test and explore questions of the possibilities and limits of telepresence. It hopes to redirect the surveillance motive of webcams into a tangible situation of giving and receiving. It explores the boundary between technological ephemerality and corporeal presence. It reconfigures the increasingly cheap technologies of the netcam and the hand-held fan into alternative world-net transmission vehicles for a gestural meeting space.

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BOMTY 700PT Net FanCam

location independent, plug and play,
stylish design in white and titanium

Touch You Robo-controller Software
user friendly, reliable, accessible from anywhere in the world

Installation Space, 10' x 12' clear space with 5 FanCams




The base technology of the installation is the Breathe On Me Touch You (BOMTY) Net FanCam. Operating seamlessly in conjunction with Touch You robo-controller software, internet visitors from anywhere in the world can log on to one of the FanCams and contact physical installation visitors. Once logged on the ephemeral net visitor visually finds and tracks a nearby corporeal visitor. They can then activate the fan as a gesture of breath and an offering of communication. Physical visitors sense the interest of remote internet participants by the motion and activation of the FanCams. They can then acknowledge and accept the remote gesture by looking into the cam and receiving the gentle fan breath.

The BOMTY 700PT Net FanCam is a custom modified Hawking HNC700PT Remote-Motion CCD Network Camera with a hand-held fan icorporated into the pan/tilt camera. When programmed, the control of the camera and fan are accessible to network users anywhere. Touch You robo-controller software is a modified version of the Hawking interface to facilitate optimum use of the FanCam.

The Breath On Me installation space is approximately 10' x 12' though dimensions can be variable. Five Fancams are installed on the walls and wiring is configured on the outside of the freestanding walls. The container space is highly scaleable and adaptable to different workable environments. In situations where space is highly limited, on BOMTY 700PT Net FanCam can establish the installation concept.

presented at:
Technology in the Life World

February 4, 2005, Victoria, BC
@ Open Space Artist-Run Centre
Opening Telepresently and in Situ:
8.00-9.30 PM, Pacific Standard Time
Friday, February 4-6, 2005

Will Pappenheimer

Concept, design and engineering by Will Pappenheimer @
  with Jessie Arnold, Josh Weihnacht, Will Kavesh, Sam Kragiel