Media Arts Lab @ transmediale04

Quaternion.walk / Performance + Workshop by socialfiction.org, Febr. 1st 2004, 2pm.

A project by the Media Arts Lab at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in collaboration with Transmediale.04. Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

.walk is a Software Art for public space which does not only translate simple programme sequences into movements that are clear to everyone, but also brings everyday life into ironic, absurd contact with the logic of information technology systems.
For one afternoon, laymen with or without any knowledge of programming will join together to form an improvised “computer” and move through Berlin according to schematic, easy instructions. In the course of a simple walk, they will gain a completely new experience of the city and at the same time transform themselves into programmed agents of a temporary artificial intelligence. Thus Socialfiction.org does not only convey an experience of programming without technical apparatus. The Quaternion.walk will also become an ironic investigation into the reality content of software art.

Quaternion.walk. To the peripatic philosophers of ancient Greece walking was imperative to thinking. During a Sunday afternoon stroll on 16 October 1843 William Rowan Hamilton rediscovered this for himself in his native Dublin. The answer to a problem he & his colleagues had been working on, suddenly found him: “then and there (I) felt the galvanic circuit of thought close; and the sparks which fell from it” moved mathematics into 4 dimensions, but with no paper on him he carved the equitation in the limestone of the Brougham bridge: i2 = j2 = k2 = ijk = -1. This formular became famous as the formula for Quaternions, “a new System of Imaginaries”. Even though his work had little effect during his lifetime, it would later inspire the likes of Einstein, Murray Gell-Mann & many others. The Quaternion formula is also used for doing computer graphics. The .walk for Transmediale will bring the 4th dimension home to where it began.

Künstlerhaus Bethanien offers its congratulations to Wilfried Hou Je Bek. The Dutch artist – who was a guest of the Media Arts Lab with his Quaternion.walk at the beginning of February – is this year’s winner of the Transmediale Award in the category “Software”.


01.02. – 01.02.2004
2 pm
Admission free