Artist Turns Brazilian LAN Centers Into An Audio-Visual Performance Space

Here in the US, where access to the internet is plentiful and easy, it may come as a surprise to learn that a large percentage of the Brazilian population still goes to LAN gaming centers to get online. Over 35% of the online population (according to a 2008 study conducted by the IBGE – the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics) go to these network hubs to chat on their messenger of choice and play Counter Strike, adding up to 108,000 LAN gaming centers (and counting) throughout the country’s suburbs. That’s why artist Giuliano Obici is “paying a tribute," as he says, to LAN gaming centers with an installation that uses networked computers in an audio-visual performance piece.

For the artist, a computer is an unique instrument that gathers different media and makes it possible to link sound, light, image, and machines simply by using the system’s data flow. The proposal of Concerto para Lanhouse [Concert for LAN Gaming Center] is actually to utilize all the various possibilities of computers in a network, turning something ordinary and familiar—a local area network—into a unique audiovisual art installation or, as Obici describes it, a “media performance” of the computer network.

The project developed from experiments carried out during interactive video and audio workshops at hacklabs offered throughout Brazil. The work was then composed in two parts: the first focused on creating a light and sound pipeline that could sync with all the computers in the room. The second focused on establishing color variation from one computer to another, which the artist described as “horizontal time chords." The fusion of these two processes turned the installation into a true visual and sonorous computer concert.

The resulting work is very similar to a project we saw earlier this year from digital artist André Wakko, which similarly makes use of networked computers to create a sound performance (below).