Site-specific Installation (Commission) - 2023
bochum - 01,
DIS/PLAY, Görtz Institute for IT Security, Ruhr Universität Bochum

DIS/PLAY is a site-specific installation for the Cluster of Excellence CASA (Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries) at the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security at the Ruhr University Bochum. The installation covers the research and work areas on the ground floor and the second floor of the multi-storey building.

The core of the work is an installation mounted in the entrance area, consisting of about 100 display elements (kinetic 7-segments) arranged in a two-dimensional grid on the glass front of the room, which connects it to the entrance area of the building. Another 25 displays (nodes) are distributed throughout the rest of the building, on the walls of the corridors and in the common areas.

A node (display unit) consists of an 8-digit electromechanical 7-segment display, such as those found in public spaces (e.g. public transportation, gas stations, or offices), and a network-capable minicomputer. The classic and minimalist displays have a sculptural presence and a sonic dimension through their mechanical actuation. All nodes are connected via a network and can exchange data with each other: they form their own computer network.

Visualizations and simulations of IT security and cryptographic topics and concepts are presented on the distributed displays. The whole house becomes one big distributed computer and screen. Bits and bytes flow through the building, swarms of characters and numbers move through corridors and rooms. The displayed symbols, numbers and graphics oscillate between the abstract and the concrete. They allow the viewer to encounter imaginary images of cryptographic and security-related topics.

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DIS/PLAY at Open Space, Horst-Görtz Institute for IT Security, Ruhr Universität Bochum
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DIS/PLAY units in the corridors of the Horst-Görtz Institute for IT Security, Ruhr Universität Bochum
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DIS/PLAY Details
125 custom dispay units (7 electromagnetic 7 segmet display, microcontroller incl. wifi module, metal case), aluminium framemwork, power supplies and linux server running custom software.

Concept: Ralf Baecker
Creative and technical direction: Ralf Baecker
Hardware/PCB development: Felix Fisgus
Product design and enclosure development: Joris Wegner
Production and assistance: Timo Johannes, Luca Izzolino and Antje Weller
Assistance: Timo Johannes
Software development support: Julian Hespenheide
Special thanks to: Annika Gödde and Patrick Schulte


DIS/PLAY (solo)
Horst-Görtz-Institut Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum DE

(c) Ralf Baecker 2004 - 2023