MATRIX ABC 52
The installation matrix abc 52 by media artist Boris Petrovsky is a unique communication system Zeichen – Bücher – Netze (Signs – Books – Networks) which can be viewed as an analogue medium in the case at the Deutschen Buch- und Schriftmuseums as well as synchronously accessed and read as a mobile application on the web. Visitors and users are called upon to send messages of up to 52 characters to the matrix, which consists of two overlapping neon light systems: either directly using the keyboard at the display case or on a mobile device in the web-based chat application that can be accessed by scanning the QR code (see image). Letter by letter and word by word a message lights up in the matrix. A message in blue is followed by a response in red either from a person or automatically generated by a machine.
The observer can only speculate as to whether the answers are coming from other users in the live chat, a Google news feed or a chatbot – i.e. a simulation of natural speech. Moreover, the messages leave no trace in digital archives when they disappear after appearing in the light. Users and the matrix are united by characters, language, presentation, object and material only for the moment when the light flashes its message. Unlike the rapid information processes to which humans often attempt to adapt themselves, the system of the neon light matrix stands for slowing down. The application relies on historical and modern technologies of character and information processing and thereby fits perfectly in the context of the exposition of media history at the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Leipzig.