New frontiers

A gigantic global computer network creates new worlds where we overcome space and time and physical laws are no longer valid. Welcome to the land of cybernetic space and virtual realities – a land

“where the future’s so bright you gotta wear shades. And emissaries from that future – a fascinating, not utterly foreign land – are arriving daily. To get to know this country they come from, you might want to first get a sense of its language, its military elite, its main propagandists and theorists, its social programs, and its creation myths. (Paulina Borsook)

Today what goes on in cyberspace is no longer reserved for a private circle of pizza-eating programmers. Twitter, Skype, and Facebook have catapulted permanent Internet access and mandatory non-stop communication into the private and public realm. Real space and virtual space permeate each other with an unbroken flow of messages back and forth from one space to the other. Parallel to this, business processes of all kinds are also being conducted. In addition to these transactions of power and money, users search and research everything on the Web, from jobs to stock prices to the habits of their coworkers. Public space, once limited to the range of the mass media, has long since spread to virtual worlds via the Social Web.

The Internet is disappearing: everything is online

For some time now we have been witnessing the disappearance of the computer. Parts are still visible in terminals (laptops and desktops). From the coffee machine to the washing machine to telephones, bicycles, cars, carburetors, from ticket vending machines to grocery store checkouts we constantly interact with computers but without really realizing it or noticing anything special about it.

Analog processes are taking place online. Everything is permanently online and in the “cloud”. More and more of the devices coming out on the market are useless without permanent access to the Internet. With Chrome and Google Chrome OS, Google is also making operating systems disappear. If this happens, computers will function solely via the browser and its almighty, omnipresent interface: the search engine.

The search engine

Its input template is the search engine’s main interface. Its results have fundamentally changed our traditional approach to information or its systematic structuring. From this perspective the view of the world becomes completely different. Search engines are an excellent example of a development occurring on the Web – one that moves away from clear, predefined content and toward information offerings that only clearly emerge in conjunction with actual use and through user interaction.

“I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next,” Google CE Eric Schmidt stated in the “The Wall Street Journal” on August 14, 2010.

The tower

The tower is only for looking into, not entering. Its seven openings invite the heads of visitors to pop in and stay a while. The headless body remains outside the tower. The act of inserting one’s head starts the World Machine and condemns the participants to relinquishing their profiles. The Net is mute, and yet it lends its voice to many. The heads hear low voices, are presumably confronted with a counterpart. If their gaze falls on the floor of the tower, they experience real searches in process about the content of the exhibition. Relevant underlying processes such as the structure of the Net, data localization, or data traces and paths become visible. In addition, one is presented with offers for more information on individual aspects. Since representation concentrates on the search process it does not show the exhibition visitors the “new view of things” but seeks to provide an experience of how the “new view of things” is produced.

Search queries produce content. And everything starts with a simple command line – as archaic as the ones in the first terminals …