The Difference Engine #3 uses the
architecture of the ZKM Media Museum as a 3D template
and the visitors to the museum as the interface. It is
an interactive, multi-user, sculpture about surveillance,
voyeurism, digital absorption and spiritual transformation
of the body.
The Difference Engine #3 was inspired
by Charles Babbage's original Difference Engine # 1 (commonly
considered the world's first computer). The original machine
was used to calculate numerical positions. This piece
calculates the captured image and position in the physical/virtual
space of visitors to a physical space, located now at
The ZKM Media Museum.
Avatars of museum visitors are "born"
when they approach one of three Bi Directional Browsing
Units (BBU's). These are mirror like units that flip between
the physical and vitual space. Quickcams embedded in the
BBU's , flip 180 degrees to capture the image (Avatar)
of the person standing before it. Each avatar (image of
the visitor) is assigned a number, representing the time
in seconds the visitor approached the unit. The numbered
avatar embarks on a 27 second journey through a 3D representation
of the museum constructed in VRML2 and coded with Java3.
The avatar then moves to a Purgatorial
Site where it cycles continuously with 30 other avatars.
Eventually, the avatars are archive permanently on the
internet where their image can be recalled via the identity