SIGNALS invites interaction with a digital avatar of the artist. The installation incorporates interactive video through Max/MSP/Jitter, Twilio SMS and automated robotic mechanisms to activate motors and physical lights. This meditation on virtual telepresence transforms everyday text messages into a speculative communication link between artist and audience. By sending a text message, generated Morse code messages are flashed to an avatar of the artist on screen via a military signaling lamp. The artist then responds to the visitor’s query through generated video in Morse code with a similar lamp. Visitors are invited to decode the video response, thus customizing the content and crafting a unique exchange. Taking place in different locations reminiscent of our shared cinematic memory (iconic forests, deserts, bridges and bodies of water). SIGNALS creates the illusion that the character in the film is communicating directly with visitors in real-time.

Nick Bontrager is an interdisciplinary artist whose work and research explores the physical and conceptual nature of the moving image, game-based interactions and exchanges, and the idea of replicas or facsimiles as tools of preservation. Nick received his MFA from The Ohio State University for studies in Art & Technology and his BFA at the University of Houston in Photography & Digital Media. While developing the New Media Art program in the School of Art at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Nick has built bridges between the Arts & Sciences while infusing traditional techniques with new and experimental methods.

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