Service Area a. i. (1994)

With Service area a. i., which was shown as an installation at the Ars Electronica in the Bruckner House in Linz in 1994 and was broadcast on television by 3Sat, the communication that was transmitted to television by telephone at Piazza virtuale was transferred to a three-dimensional virtual space on the internet – the first time the group used the new medium. “Cafés and marketplaces are public places of communication culture, yet today’s society is characterised by the loss of public space,” reads the description of the project. “Service area a.i. is the installation of a virtual telematic world that provides multimedia access to many participants from their homes using their computers…. Visitors can enter cyberspace live and during their visit not only follow events but actively participate in what is happening.”

For this, one had to install a programme on one’s computer that showed the participants as geometric avatars in a virtual, three-dimensional space on the screen with the VRML programming language. The expressions and movements of these avatars were also transmitted to Linz. The presenters of the show, who interacted with the connected audience, included Italian writer Nanni Balestrini, MTV host Steve Blame, philosopher Boris Groys, DJ WestBam and singer Blixa Bargeld from the German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten. Three times a day, short segments were broadcast on 3Sat programme in which the presenters “reported” from the virtual world on live TV.


„Service Area a. i.“, Ars Electronica

Screen shots „Service Area a. i.“

Plan and topography