HAZE Express

HAZE Express (1999) is an interactive installation by Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau.

HAZE Express is an interactive computer installation that develops the metaphor of traveling and watching landscapes passing by through the window of vehicles such as trains, cars and air planes. When looking at a landscape at high speed, one does not really know very much about this landscape, how it looks in detail or how for example people live in it. The passing landscapes become mere images, accumulations of forms, shapes and colors, like a haze of impressions.

HAZE Express performs the recombination, development and evolution of seemingly random images in a way that is reminiscent of how we see images through the window of a train. In the interactive journey with HAZE Express the viewer can watch the passing images, stop them and look at their composition in more detail. The way he moves his hand on the train window surface will influence how the landscapes behind become composed: non-deterministic evolutionary image composition linked to interaction will always provide new and unique image elements that become part of the semi-realistic and semi-virtual trip through data landscapes.

Sitting in one of the HAZE Express's comfortable chairs the viewer can look out of the window and move his hand on the window surface. When he slides his hand from the left to the right, the images will slide in the same direction, uncovering continuous landscapes, composed of organic and abstract image scenes. The location of where the viewer touches the window as well as the frequency and speed of his hand's movement will influence what kind of image elements will be created.

Genetic selection is used to always provide new image elements that are selected upon the viewer's interaction. The faster the hand slides horizontally on the window surface, the faster the landscape scrolls in the same direction. Images can also be simply stopped by ceasing the hands movement while remaining with the hand on the window surface.

The scenario of HAZE Express resembles that of a dream, where time can be stopped, reversed and speeded up at the touch of a finger tip. The journey is thus not only one through space, but through time itself. However, the genetic processes that bring forth the images make sure that this is no time machine with which you can return to the same place where you were before: by the time the visitor has reversed the travelling direction, the view has changed and what had been passed (past) has transformed into a new virtual landscape.

Developed at IAMAS International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences, 1999 interface design support: Stephen Jones.

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