Bags or Pixels? Pushing the notion of a screen

It is hard to look at this piece without thinking of a digital logic.  It was presented at the B-Seite Festival in Mannheim and at the weekly culture show “Kobra” on Swedish Television. This 2.40 x 1.80 m interactive wall-mounted installation titled “One hundred and eight”  is made of ordinary garbage bags which are controlled by a microcontroller. The bags are selectively inflated and deflated by two cooling fans. On/Off. One, zero.

Its creator, German artist  Nils Völker describes the interaction: 

as soon a viewer comes close it instantly reacts by drawing back and tentatively following the movements of the observer. As long as he remains in a certain area in front of the installation it dynamically reacts to the viewers motion. As soon it does no longer detect someone close it reorganizes itself after a while and gently restarts wobbling around

(, accessed 05/09/2011,

The notion of screens is pushed by this work; the inflation and deflation of the bags is like pixels turning on and off. Through the detection of proximity, the screen can not only communicate unilaterally but establish a dialogue with the passers-by.