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Stream of Consciousness: An Interactive Poetic Garden

David Small and Tom White’s 1997-98 art installation.

“A six foot square garden sits in the middle of an otherwise ordinary computer lab. Water briskly flows down a series of cacsades into a glowing pool. Projected on the surface of the pool and flowing as if they were caught in the water’s grasp are a tangle of words. You can reach out and touch the flow, blocking it or stirring up the words causing them to grow and divide, morphing into new words that are pulled into the drain and pumped back to the head of the stream to tumble down againâ€? (From the web site).

An installation in which texts escapes from the flat screen and spills out into the viewer’s physical space. The installation consists of a garden with rock slabs, plants and water flowing from one level of a multi-tiered fountain to the next. (219) “While the text still carries its symbolic weight as words, it also becomes the physical objects of leaves or detritus carried along by the water’s flow.â€? (Utterback 2004: 220) “The tension between the intangibility of the projected text and its behavior as a tangible object (which you can ‘touch’ via the interface) parallels the tension between the text’s position as a signifier for a real object and the real object it represents.â€? (Utterback 2004: 220)

Starter Links and References: Stream of Consciousness | Camille Utterback’s “Unusual Positions–Embodied Interaction with Symbolic Spaces.” First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan. Cambridge: The MIT Press. 2004.

  tl, 04.23.06

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