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Interactive Annual 14:

Being Not Truthful

Launch Movie

“Playful, human and surprising—a simple experiment that helps us rethink the way we interact.” —Jon McVey

“One of the most impressive accomplishments I saw while judging. Incredibly simple and infinitely complex. The kind of work you instantly wish you’d created yourself.” —Michael Lebowitz

Overview: This interactive projection was first installed at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. Part of a larger exhibit showcasing displaced Austrian talent, the project continues a dialogue that Stefan Sagmeister began with the “Things I’ve Learned In My Life” series that developed from his personal diary entries. A sentence is woven into a projected, virtual spider’s web. As viewers pass by, wherever their reflections come into contact with the web it rips it apart. Time and again it reconstructs itself in exactly the same way a spider would rebuild its web.

  • Viewers interact with their entire bodies and ultimately become part of the exhibit.
  • The administrator can control dozens of factors such as elasticity, gravity and brightness which greatly affect the experience and interaction with the web.

Comments by Sagmeister, Inc.:

What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
“This project is one among a growing number in which we had an enormous amount of freedom. Interestingly, it was the wide-open brief that proved to be most difficult.

“The sentence, ‘Being not truthful works against me’ was part of a list from a diary; like most aphorisms it requires habitual commitment. One might also sense controversy in this statement and question not only the idea of ‘truth,’ but also the value of making truthfulness a rule. Both the exposure and the need to constantly work on such a position are the subject of this interactive picture.

“Ultimately the project’s fragile construction serves as a metaphor for the vulnerability of the maxim and the effort to perpetuate it. In a sense, it is physically questioned by everyone who passes by and thus damages it. For the viewer, this first active confrontation incites an engagement with the content of the statement.”

Did you use any technology that you hadn't used before?
“The technological setup consists mainly of an Intel Mac (with a custom software application written in C++) connected to a Webcam (iSight) and a video projector. The camera tracks the viewers and the software integrates this video input into the simulated physics of a virtual spider’s web. The projector displays the web together with a representation of the viewer.”

Ralph Ammer/Stefan Sagmeister, creative directors
Ralph Ammer, programmer
Matthias Ernstberger, graphic designer
Sagmeister, Inc. (New York, NY), project design and development
Austrian Cultural Forum, client