Drums of War
Rahul Bhargava and Mira Friedlander
Drums of War (DOW) gives viewers an auditory display of the current war status of regions across the globe. Viewers are invited to plug small drums into a large map of the world, split into numerous geographical regions. If the war-likelihood in that region is high, the connected drum will beat quickly. If the war-likelihood in that region is low, the connected drum will beat slowly. Plugging in a number of drums allows viewers to compare the chance of conflict in various parts of the world.
Originally envisioned as an installation for the headquarters of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), DOW joins a growing family of ambient information displays. DOW gathers information from a variety of online public news sources, distilling relevant content down to a single index of war-likelihood. This rating is mapped to the beating of drums. This drumming echoes both the tribal communication patterns of Native Americans and the drummer-boys who accompanied western European armies in generations of combat. It also serves as a concentrated info source to replace the onslaught of todays news and war-reportage.
This reinterpretation of distributed data into the simple and classic notion of beating the "drums of war" leaves the passerby with an audible perception of unrest across the globe.
Rahul Bhargava is the founder and director of the Institute of the Future. The Institute focuses on creating computational tools that empower end users as designers, and tools that allow people to interact with others in new and unique ways. A recent hit from the Institute is the interactive "Am I Hot Or Not: Party Edition", which allows party-goers to rate each other using their Palm Pilot PDAs. Rahul also creates technologies for workshops he runs with children, helping them build their own interactive robotic sculptures.
Mira Friedlaender is an artist working with concerns of intersubjective conflict and struggle as a part of human achievement and culture. She works across disciplines and is currently working towards her MFA in Visual Art at NYU.
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