transmediale 04: BIX

Haven‘t spent much time at transmediale this year although there seem to be quite some interesting things here. However, primarily this event is the annual meeting point for all kinds of artists and weirdos. Guess that‘s why I have to show up here finally as well :)

The transmediale provides a public wireless network. It seems to be well-accepted as the download speeds are low. Enjoying the backlit keyboard of my Powerbook and suffering from Safari 1.2 and NetNewsWire 1.08 eating 100% of my CPU I prepare for the transmediale.

Actually, I am here to attend the lecture on the BIX installation in Graz which is a very Blinkenlights-esque project done by realities:united.

The installation uses f*cking expensive fluorescent circular lamps that can be dimmed at 18fps with no visible afterglow and the capability to dim down to zero with no delay. It‘s a hacker‘s dream to have but it‘s not very achievable.

A main difference to Blinkenlights is that the artists no longer have control over the content of the installation. So it is used for commercials as well which might make money for the owners but somehow despises the fact that this shouldn‘t be a screen. Jan and Tim of realities:united were not that happy about that either.

BIX has a resolution of 56×25 pixels although some pixels are left out due to the structure of the building. The matrix is also not strictly rectangular as the skin of the building is heavily curved. But that doesn‘t mean the images are not working. Actually, it looks realy great.

At the start of the project, the group created a 3D simulator (Mac only) which allows viewing the installation from any point of view. This is something really helpful and should be a must for our next target (whatever it will be). Hopefully, blinkensim will gain OpenGL support soon.

Some good articles on the project can be found at and Architecture Week.

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