SUN.DIAL ’05

SEE VIDEO DOCUMENTATION HERE:
https://vimeo.com/33815473

VISIT THE SUN.DIAL WEBSITE HERE:
https://wonderblimp.com/sundial/

Sun.dial (2005) is an internet-based installation project that fosters a sense of shared global space and time. The principle system consists of twelve LCD displays suspended from an overhead apparatus in an outward-facing ring. This circular display is the hub of a world-wide input system. Each screen displays the information from one of twelve webcams located at intervals around the world. Each camera faces upward, capturing only the sky in each location. This creates a light gradient ring that displays the current state of the sky’s light at points around the globe. When it is dawn in one screen, it is noon a few steps over, and nightfall a few steps down from that. A connection is created between the hosting site, where sun.dial is located, and the locations capturing the light of the sun. The piece is in a way a digital incarnation of the astrolabes and orreries that were the beginnings of technology’s global perspective. The webcams are fitted with a custom fabricated housing allowing them to be distributed and easily installed at their capture locations. These locations have been selected based on an approximately even distribution, comparable latitudes, and supported Internet access. From each camera, a webcam software will capture images at an established rate and post them to a server from which each system accesses its image feed. Each of the twelve computers in the sundial installation is also involved in gleaning data from the internet that is related to the source location of its webcam. This data, such as atmospheric and demographic information, is captured with Macromedia Director and interfaces with physical devices through microcontrollers. These devices will extend the impact of the sun as a generative source into the physical space of the installation making it animated and responsive. In the prototype pictured, each “plant” unit responds to incremental changes in temperature value as captured and translated by the software. Each screen will overlook a corresponding landscape array in the path around the sun.dial. All information and images that make up the sun.dial installation is available through the project’s main website. This project was done in collaboration with artist Andy Holtin.The fabrication of the central physical system has been largely completed with grant funding from the University of North Texas. Materials: 12 Computers, 12 LCD screens, basic stamp microcontroller, pipe cleaners, wood, laptop, steel frame, 12 web cameras with custom housing

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