Over the years, the Ars Electronica Futurelab has done a lot of research on various forms of reality and their forms of presence or interaction. In the wake of the pandemic forcing us all into virtual video spaces, the Lab is dedicating its 25th anniversary to collective exploration of the intersections and boundaries between different (physical) spaces with the Hybrid Space project.
The installation provides an interactive space in the Ars Electronica Center where museum visitors can meet and interact with online visitors. Online visitors can interact in real time in the physical space in the museum by using a drawing board on the FL25 website, or by taking control of a telepresence robot from home. The robot will “embody” them, giving them a presence at the museum in Linz.
Collective music-making serves as a form of interaction. Here, the tracks of different visitors from the various “spaces” intersect, contributing to the overall composition.
Another feature in Hybrid Space is the integration of OutReach, one of the winning projects of the Lab’s internal “Futurelab Ideas Expedition.” OutReach seeks to remove the limits on possibilities for action offered by telepresence in real space. It is dedicated to equalizing/democratizing the different forms of attendance.