Propagation of the Luminous Word

1988  Almere, Netherlands

Software: Charly Jungbauer
Hardware: Charly Jungbauer

Propagation of the Luminous Word is a site-specific installation permanently installed in the Landelijk Bibliotheekcentrale (LBC) in Almere, Netherlands. The artwork communicates the library as a repository of written language, and gives aesthetic expression to its digital binary transformation, as the LBC is the computing centre for a network of provincial libraries.

The work has two components. One is mounted on the floor of the LBC lobby and has an LED alphanumeric display and a domed mirror to reflect the ceiling structure. The other is attached to the ceiling as a square spiral grid of LED panels suspended on rods. Each of these LED panels can illuminate with either a ‘0’ or a ‘1’.

The installation taps into the library database and registers keyword searches made by its users. These keywords then first appear on the alphanumeric display on the floor-mounted element of the sculpture. Then, on the spiral LED panel display that is hanging above, the words are directly translated into illuminated binary code—0’s and 1’s—which radiates from the center of the spiral outwards. In this way the sculpture presents the keywords used in the LBC’s networked document searches for a visualization of binary data that aesthetically informs and enlivens the entire lobby area of the library.

A computer keyboard that is part of the floor-mounted element allows visitors to interrupt this real-time flow of keywords by typing in any words of their own. This then circulates once through the sculpture's alphanumeric and binary displays.