Exhibition : October 1- November 9, 1997

Felix S. Huber, Philip Pocock & Florian Wenz :
A description of the Equator and Some OtherLands, 1997

*1957 in Zurich. Lives and works in Cologne
*1954 in Ottawa. Lives and works in Karlsruhe
*1958 in München. Lives and works in Zurich

Realised for the Documenta X.
Consultation: http://king.dom.de/equator (Login: guest password: guest).

This is an experimental, word-based, film-related Internet project which is scripted and edited by the visitors to the virtual exhibition site as a daily updated series of digital "hypermovies," commanded not by a single scripting and editorial authority as is normally the case in filmmaking, but instead by traces left by those navigating the site, whose words are filtered through a neural net installed on the server, vaulting the users (the "audience") into the screenplay and into their new roles as a global, collaborative group of authors.

Everyone as an author can upload scenes from their lives, private or fictional, and respond to the storylines of others, creating an on-line world of "legible bodies." Their words punctuate scenes like intertitles or subtitles that float somewhere between a newsgroup and a movie. A Description of the Equator and Otherlands is a sequel to Huber and Pocock's previous two network art projects, Arctic Circle and Tropic of Cancer, both involving real travel, through the Canadian Northlands in the former, and as tourists in Mexico in the latter.

Otherlands is also a travel-as-art loop, although this time the travel is less destination-oriented and more interpersonal. Like its two predecessors, Otherlands is a double voyage-on the one hand, in virtual reality, as symbolic exchanges between authors and users over the network, and on the other hand, in real reality to Entebbe, on the Equator in East Africa, and other geographic destinations (Quito, Ecuador; the Galapagos Islands; Singapore; Borneo). Of particular interest are moments when the authors actually travel with one another and visit one another to produce scenes which are then uploaded to the documenta server for view and response.

And so a game ensues. What begins as a classic experimental film, a movie made up primarily of words, fuses with a game-like dramaturgy caused by the instance of users becoming authors, users and story becoming indistinguishable from one another.

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