‘nixie mixie matrix’ by boris petrovsky all images © nina martens

nixie mixie matrix‘, created by german media artist boris petrovsky, generates a new way of experiencing text, in an installation that encourages a global conversation of electronically submitted messages written in brightly coloured light. the project is on exhibition now through august 15th as part of paranoïa, shown as part of the lille3000 cultural exhibitions in lille, france.

‘nixie mixie matrix’ comprises 103 cold cathode neon tubes in different lengths and colours, suspended in a metal tube scaffolding measuring 3 meters high, 2 meters wide, and 2 meters deep (9.8 x 6.5 x 6.5feet) .

via SMS, twitter, and special input terminals, users can submit messages of up to 40-characters to the unit, which displays each character sequentially as a flashing, randomly generated formation of lit tubes. the system generates an ‘unpredictable typography’ by coding multiple way to shape each character, for example, 37 different possibilities for the letter ‘a’ and 15 arrangements for the letter ‘z’ alone.

boris petrovsky: nixie mixie matrix installation view, with the onsite input device at right

all submitted messages are stored on the project website, where they may be read, virtually played back on a graphical simulation of the device, or reaccessed by ‘nixie mixie matrix’ and replayed live. a live web feed lets visitors at home join the conversation.

in addition, ‘nixie mixie matrix’ is linked to other of petrovsky’s installations– which use light tubes arranged in different assemblages to effect a similar result– opening the possibility for users to ‘live-chat’ with visitors in other parts of the world. currently the machine is connected to the 440-character ‘you&me-isms / part I‘ at germany’s center for art and media karlsruhe and the ‘wishful matrix’ in geneva.

the interactive piece represents a symbiosis between machine and man, including both physical and virtual visitors. the sequential display of messages draws attention to the reading process, for as petrovsky elaborates:

‘by ‘ascribing’ messages, the users literally organize the tangle of material as a geometric structure by their words with linguistic sense or nonsense.’

boris petrovsky: nixie mixie matrix in this installation, the wiring of the piece is visible below the floorboards

boris petrovsky: nixie mixie matrix detail view

boris petrovsky: nixie mixie matrix additional view

boris petrovsky: nixie mixie matrix view from below

demo of ‘nixie mixie matrix’

video montage of the matrix as it spells out ‘paranoia’ — boris petrovsky: nixie mixie matrix

infiniti digital art competition currently, designboom in collaboration with INFINITI is offering an international competition asking participants to design spectacular or interactive digital artworks, to be installed and displayed throughout europe. participation is open to applicants from every country in the world: to professionals, students, vjs, and design-enthusiasts.

registration is free and now open, through july 8th, 2011. for more information about the competition and how to register, click here.