Proposal for temporary installation in public space
Mn8 is a wall of mobile phones standing in a busy pedestrian precinct. In standby mode the live feed image on each phone camera reveals events on the other side of the wall – a person on one side can signal to someone watching from the other side.
In addition simple SMS messaging activates a colour display that ripples across the massed phone screens for up to 60 seconds before reverting to standby mode. During the colour display an audio component provides a whispering soundscape discernible only to listeners in immediate proximity to the wall.
The result is a choreographing of the viewer – first drawing them near to inspect and interect via the cameras then pushing them back to take in the whole as the overall display changes.
Conceptually, Mn8 plays with ideas of connection (the phone) and separation (the wall). A wall divides people but in this case the phone cameras render the wall transparent. This virtual connection is then temporarily obliterated by activating the colour display. The interplay between acts of connection and separation, between the physical and the virtual folds back on itself.
Concept developed in response to the City of Melbourne brief for Illuminating Melbourne, 2007