Breaking the Ice

Breaking the Ice en français

Breaking the Ice is an artistic telepresence installation, with the goal of connecting individuals across cold wintery climates. Originally commissioned for the CODE Live festival, as part of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the station allowed visitors in Montreal to experience the Olymic atmosphere from thousands of kilometers away. It places its users face to face in front of a collaborative game of reconstructing the image which fragments when the screen is touched. In doing so, the participants engage in a dialogue that literally permits them to “"break the glass."”

The first telepresence stations at the SAT were developed in the Territoires Ouverts (2003-2007) and Propulse[ART] research programs. This project includes and refines the results of this research.

The insertion of a collaborative 3d space between the participants.

The system is permanently installed (still true?) between the SAT and the W2 space in Vancouver. It is therefore possible to observe the quality of the communication experience that it offers.

Researchers: Mike Wozniewski, Paul Warne, Michaël Richard, Alexandre Quessy

original concept: Paul Warne, sound design: Andrew Kozloski, programmer: Mike Wozniewski, shader programmer: Louis Bouchard, industrial designer: Sébastien Dallaire, production director: Louis-Philippe St-Arnaud, technical coordinator, Vancouver: Dominic St-Amant

Year: 2010

Tools used: SPIN, Scenic

As participants approach the custom designed kiosk, they encounter an icy window that shows their frozen counterpart on the other side of the country. Through this audiovisual link, participants can connect with potential game partners and proceed to play, using a human size touchscreen. A frosty layer can be removed by virtually melting the surface between the users, revealing live video transmission from the other city. Users can play in this icy atmosphere, drawing in the ice, using snowflakes to re-freeze the scene, or just talk about the weather. The ice can also break completely, requiring participants to piece together the shattered fragments. Through one of the fastest internet lines in the world, and real-time audio/video streaming, this game lets audience across the continent literally ‘break the ice’.

The technology used to connect both ends of the country include SCENIC and SPIN, developed in the research program at the [SAT]Metalab. The high speed connection used to link Montreal to Vancouver benefited from among the most efficient fiber optics networks, those of RISQ and CANARIE. These networks are the most evolved in Canadian research and innovation.

The installation of BREAK THE ICE is a production of the [SAT]Metalab presented in collaboration with Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and CODE; and also with the support of The Department of Culture, of Communications and of the Status of Women in Quebec, the Réseau d'informations scientifiques (RISQ) and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (COVAN).

BTI_poster.jpg (481,91 ko) Andrew Kozloski, 2012-04-09 20:00