‘Reclaim Expression’: An immersive installation that puts you at the center of the internet
Mozilla’s Reclaim the Internet event at the Alte Münze in Berlin, happening Oct. 12 to 16, features an immersive journey that invites people to act, build and choose to reimagine our digital future. The journey includes three art installations where visitors can explore how reclaiming the internet will help us take back expression, inspiration and wonder online.
Below is a preview of the installation “Reclaim Expression,” created by the Liganova Horizon team led by Sebastian Kraus and in collaboration with Christine Mayerhofer. You can click the following links to read about the other two installations: “Reclaim Inspiration” and “Reclaim Wonder.” Reserve free tickets to all three exhibits here.
Imagine the internet with you at the center, rather than big tech and its profit margins. What would it feel like?
That was the assignment for digital artist Christine Mayerhofer and Liganova Horizon’s executive creative director, Sebastian Kraus. They embarked on building an interactive art installation that embodies Mozilla’s mission to empower everyone so that we, as individuals, can shape the internet and our own experiences online.
Visitors who step into the exhibit, titled “Reclaim Expression,” are handed the reins to craft the room’s aesthetic by uploading personal images from their camera rolls. Through projection mapping and reactive soundscapes, people’s contributions transform the space in real time.
“We wanted to create a digital landscape that’s interactively shapeable,” Sebastian said. “Every time you participate, you bring in an expression, the whole landscape will change.”
Sebastian, who doesn’t consider himself a traditional artist but has worked in creative branding for the last two decades, found the project challenging but less restrictive than what a traditional advertising career typically allows. He was inspired by his first internet experience, in 1995: “It was quite a mess with our first computer. It took ages for a website to load with a 56k [dial-up] modem. But even then, I got a glimpse of what the internet could be. I connected with other students and worked on school projects online. It was a time of excitement and discovery.”
Sebastian’s experience in creative advertising complemented Christine’s extensive background in immersive art. She first started manipulating light to create large installations as a college student, saying that light – even when produced by a machine – made her feel alive. Christine hopes visitors to the exhibit feel the same way. “I tried to make it emotional,” she said. “Maybe people will laugh. Maybe they’ll feel connected to other humans. I want them to interpret [the installation] themselves and not need an explanation. They should be able to feel that it’s their own, live experience.”
Like Sebastian, Christine’s first memory of using the internet involved connection with others. “I remember one holiday, when I was 14, waking up early every day just to check if someone’s online. All I did was chat with people.”
Threading their early online experiences to the project at hand, Sebastian and Christine created something that reflects what they both hope for the future of the internet: a space where people can express their individuality while connecting with others to build something unique for everyone. Corporations may be the ones who build the online platforms we use, but people – once we recognize and wield our power – have the ability to make technology more transparent, responsible and inclusive.
“The internet is fluid, growing all the time,” Christine said. “People can come together, take care of this tool and handle it with honesty, so that it serves and remains free for everybody.”
Sebastian added, “You will be surprised what kind of nice things will happen if we all collaborate and work together.”