Jumping letters in red poncho

0noponcho.jpgPaul De MarinisThe Messenger was awarded the Golden Nica in Interactive Art.

The work splices up old-fashioned telegraphy to electronic e-mail traffic. E-mails messages received to deMarinis’ personal account are forwarded to the installation and displayed letter by letter on 3 alphabetic telegraph receivers, one of them is made of 26 skeletons wearing ponchos displaying one of the letters of the alphabet. The letters of the message activate the corresponding skeleton and the chorus line’s dance reproduces the text of the e-mail. I blogged about it at the time but i didn’t have many images to show. Now i do. Silly joke i know but my not-too-sophisticated sense of humour urged me to post this sequence of pictures from the installation:


The three alphabetic receivers are really impressive, aesthetically striking in the case of the jars, poetic in the case of the old-style washbasins and more funny than macabre in the case of the jumping little skeletons. It’s not that often that i see a new media art work that makes sense, is fun, refers in a sensible way to technological ideas of the past (XVIIIth Century scientist Francesc Salva i Campillo’s system that involved an array of 26 servants who, following an electrical shock, would each call out a particular letter of the transmitted message, which could then be understood by a listener) AND is… well, beautiful. i can’t find any word more suitable to describe it.

Movie. Thanks Jan for the inspiration!