Project Web of Life

Customer ZKM Karlsruhe

Interactive networked audio-visual installation employing 3D-video und -audio. Topic: networks of networks

Idea audio
Project leader audio
Architecture and development of the RAVE spatial rendering system
Specification audio hardware
System integration
Sound design

Realized 2001 – 2002

Display Main Installation
Web of Life was premiered in March 2002 at the Intermedium-2 festival at the ZKM Media Museum Karlsruhe and has been on display as part of the permanent exhibition from 2002 until 2009.

Display Remote Terminals
Produced @: media art revisited, ZKM Karlsruhe 2009-2010
Arte Scienza, Casa dell'Architettura - Museo Acquario Romano Rome 2006
The Sydney Festival 2005
QUT Festival Brisbane 2004
Melbourne International Arts Festival, ACMI Melbourne 2004
mind (21) house, TU Bratislava 2003
Caesar Forschungszentrum Bonn 2003
DEAF Dutch Electronic Arts Festival Rotterdam 2003
Multimedia Art Asia Pacific, Millenium Monument Peking 2002
ISEA 2002 Nagoya
InterCommunication Center [ICC] Tokio 2003
Multimediainstitut Zagreb 2002
Instituto Itau Cultural Sao Paulo 2002
World Conservation Union Johannisburg 2002
Aventis SA Straßburg 2002
Museum für Kommunikation Frankfurt 2002
Die Erde 2.0, Messe Stuttgart 2002
Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe 2002


Michael Gleich, Jeffrey Shaw (Concept)
Bernd Lintermann, Lawrence Wallen (Graphics, Video)
Manfred Wolff-Plottegg (Architecture)

The theory of networks and networking is providing us with radical new insights into the underlying processes of nature, economy, and society. The »Web of Life« is conceived as a multi-disciplinary project that conjoins art and science to give form and expression to this fundamentally important new realm of understanding. Its three components are a book titled »The New Web of Life: the Art of Networked Living«, a large scale distributed interactive artwork, and a web site.

The Web of Life artwork allows persons to interactively influence the performance of an audio-visual environment by their imparting to it the unique patterns of their individual hand lines, thus giving symbolic and experiential expression to the action of connecting oneself to an emergent network of relations. This audio-visual environment is formed by an immersive conjunction of projected three-dimensional computer graphic and video images, together with a fully spatialized acoustic experience and a specially conceived architectural surrounding. Interaction is effected via a hand scanning user interface.

This artwork is configured as a distributed network of installations – one large-scale environment situated permanently at the ZKM, and four others designed to travel to various locations around the world during the period of the project. User interaction at any location communicates with and affects the audio-visual behavior of all the installations.

The audio rendering environment enables the user to experience sound-field movements in three dimensions by means of true multi-channel audio projection. The aesthetic aim behind this approach is to create dynamic webs of sound vectors all around the visitors, and to imprint this sound image as a gestalt onto their perception. These three-dimensional sound gestalts move within their virtual sound spaces in varying relationships with the graphics.

The sound engine is laid out in a twofold manner. One layer is constructed as a network of sound streams that interlock with each other in various ways in relationship to the content structures of the imagery. A second layer projects these streams into the installation room as the hand lines dynamically evolve and fill the installation space over time. Various links between the imagery and the soundscape control its levels of complexity and spatial distribution. The audio environment inside the ZKM installation is connected (via the Internet) to those at the four traveling installations, so that when a new hand is scanned at any one of these sites, a new soundscape (relating to the new image sequence) is triggered at all locations.