|Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.|
On the premises of the telepresence installation is a large cage filled with approximately 30 real birds and a telerobot in the form of a rare bird (rara avis), inside whose heard are installed two CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) cameras in place of eyes. Wearing the data helmet, in front of the cage, allows viewers to experience the surroundings from the rare bird’s perspective; thus placing people inside the cage, where they can observe themselves from the telerobot’s perspective. In addition, the helmet-wearing viewer’s head movements trigger those of the rare bird.
Since the installation is continually connected to the Internet, it allows the user to observe the space from the perspective of the telerobot. So the body of the artificial bird is conveyed in real time to those present as well as to the physically missing viewers, who participate worldwide in the Internet.
«This piece created a self-organizing system of mutual dependence, in which local participants, animals, a telerobot, and remote participants interacted without direct guidance, control, or external intervention. As the piece combined physical and non-physical entities, it merged immediate perceptual phenomena with a heightened awareness of what affects us but is visually absent, physically remote. Local and on-line participants experienced the space in complex, different ways. The local ecology of the aviary was affected by Internet ecology and vice-versa.»
Source: Eduardo Kac, »Ornitorrinco and Rara Avis. Telepresence Art on the Internet«, Leonardo, Bd. 29, Nr. 5, S. 393—394. http://www.ekac.org/ornitrara.html