Speech Bubble is a performance which thematizes the very common text based communication form chat in online computer games like World of Warcarft or Second Life.
To have a "conversation" via the keyboard has become a communication standard during the development of the internet. Although voice communication is much older and also very present in the internet the way of communicating via short text messages on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channels, via Instant Messaging clients or in many online computer games has become a true standard. To comunicate by real time text messages has a very own quality and differs a lot from voice communication. Computer games/worlds like Second Life or World of Warcraft bringing back a spatial factor to the communication form chat. Depending on the location, players read and write other players. The written words appear in the form of speech bubbles above the avatars head and also do follow the player while he is moving in the game. Different to voice communication the text message is visible depending on the client properties for 20-40 seconds unless there is not a new sentence typed by the player.
The performance Speach Bubble transforms this way of communication into the physical world. The concept of the performance at a party of Plazes was to pick up messages which party visitors do post digitaly during the event on the Plazes platform and bring these messages back to the user in form of a physical object. The speech bubble displays the digital message of the user above his head in an analogue way. Like in virtual online worlds the spoken words do follow the "author" when he moves in space.
The text for each message has been laser printed on A4 film and mounted manually on the speech bubble in "realtime" during the party. The object is illuminated by 7 camping light tubes which are run by a 7Ah 12 V led batterie.
Plazes is a Berlin based company offering a georeferencing social network service. The party took place during Designmai 07.
More pics of the event on flickr.
Aram Bartholl 2007