Tomorrow is my last day in Linz, Austria and, unfortunately, ends my visit to the Ars Electronica Festival.
I found the past week an interesting and educational experience. To be quite honest, my digital/net art knowledge
began a mere six weeks ago, I obviously took to it pretty quickly. As I do my last reporting here at Ars, I will
discuss some of the difficulties I encountered as a neophyte in the field.
Yesterday, I went to see the Museum of the Future aka The Ars Electronic Center.
I walked into the center and was greeted by two reknowned about pieces - Ken Goldberg's
"Telegarden" and Ars Electronica Futurelab's "Telezone." I felt proud of myself that I had experienced
them before as online artworks. It gave me the false security that the rest of the museum's
exhibitions would be as familiar and accessible. I was sorely mistaken.
I walked up the stairwell to see a small vestibule with a person in a bicycle harness raised
three feet above the floor. This person was enclosed in hard plastic casing and reaching out at nothing.
I read the accompanying sign that described the installation. It was a virtual tour through the museum.
Basically, one can go through the Ars Electronica Center suspended from the ceiling.
I was about to try the virtual tour and give-up on the actual one, i.e. rest my feet, but the machine broke
before my turn. I suppose I could use the exercise.
I went to the next floor and saw a lot of computers and large screens hung above them. Each table was
surrounded by many kids. I could not get near enough to see what each piece did, but I did notice
that I was in some virtual classroom. So, onto the next.
What was next? Oh, yes, I went to try this virtual reality game. I was supposed to place my pointer
finger in a holder. The holder acted as a mouse for an animated red ball that was on the screen ahead.
I tried, and I was supposed to feel as if I were moving the multi-colored blocks. I felt nothing. I noticed it was broken
and found a keypad and pressed "ctrl-alt-delete" twice to restart it. The image was gone and did not reappear.
I moved on to the next floor.
I arrived at the cafe. It was a beautiful room with about six large circular tables in the center
and a row of iMacs, in all the colors (of course). I decided to take a break from my exhausting and unsuccessful tour
and order an Austrian version of the cafe latte. It was perfect. I regained energy to start all over again.
This time, from the top down.