Klangwolke ABC

Credit: Barbara Heinzl

Creating new ways of collaboration

People create their own characters equipped with a radio receiver and LEDs, enabling them to communicate and collaborate with others on the day of the voestalpine Klangwolke in Linz – forming words or entire phrases wandering at the Danube shoreline.

The Klangwolken ABC was initiated as a social participation project, focusing on “character” in the age of networks, constituting one of the core programs at the voestalpine Klangwolke 2012. The audience was invited to design their own characters that could interact with the radio frequencies of the event – resulting in a huge galaxy of characters at the Danube shoreline.

In Klangwolken ABC workshops, people constructed their own alphabet characters and added a receiver and LED kit to link to the Klangwolke event itself. They selected a character, assembled it, and personalized it in creative ways. So every single person created a unique character. The character created in the workshop was recorded in an image database and became part of the Klangwolke Font. In addition, the participants were able to join CharakterBook, an online service that worked like a micro social network, enabling people to browse for other characters created by other participants, to create messages and to take social action. The individual characters created by the participants became words or messages through communicating and collaborating with each other. In the Klangwolken ABC, we collected messages as combinations of characters with characters – and people with people.

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On the day of the Klangwolke, Klangwolke ABC parades were held in Linz. In addition, a large group of letters gathered on the Danube at sunset. LEDs would light up in response to certain sounds or radio signals for individual letters or messages. The Klangwolken ABC not only expressed the personality of the letter constructors, it also lead to concrete actions by those involved who jointly shaped the here and now.

Another project realized for the 2012 Klangwolke was the quadcopter swarm Spaxels.


Concept: Gerfried Stocker, Horst Hörtner, Hideaki Ogawa, Emiko Ogawa
Project Management, Ars Electronica Futurelab: Pascal Maresch, Hideaki Ogawa, Patrick Müller, Roland Reiter
Controlling: Yvonne Hauser
Receiver Technology: Ray Gardiner, Josh Gardiner
Design: Werner Pötzelberger
Web Programming: Gunther Schmidl
Content Management: Michael Kaczorowski, Roland Reiter
Website Design: Stefan Eibelwimmer, My Trinh Gardiner, Emiko Ogawa, Hideaki Ogawa
Character Design: My Trinh Gardiner, Matthew Gardiner, Emiko Ogawa, Hideaki Ogawa
Website: Christoph Hofbauer, Fadil Kujundžić
Video: Vanessa Schauer, Tamer Aslan, Michael Mayr
Technical Support, Ars Electronica Center: Florian Wanninger, Wolfgang König, Thomas Kollmann, Martin Kneidinger, Daniel Murina, Thomas Hillinger, Daniel Kern, Sebastian Zach, Benjamin Perndl
Editorial staff, Ars Electronica Center: Martin Hieslmair, Sarah Breibauer