LED DISPLAY SYSTEM
M∞ DISPLAYS are based on low resolution images (32 x 32 and 32 x 80 pixels) to avoid misunderstandings: MISSION ETERNITY is about memory. The Project is not about copying or cloning life in cyberspace. To remember is at least as much about forgetting details as it is about storing data. Resolutions change.
The visualizations of PILOTS play with distance, loss, focus and the human brain's very special capacity to compensate missing parts of individual faces.
Resolution change targets three artistic effects. The veil that separates the here from the beyond is a veil of pixels. Some data particles might cross the deadline, whereas others remain as traces in the global memory. From here, we cannot know which particles cross the deadline, whether the human conscience lifts off or dissolves, nor how it looks like beyond. A low resolution represents our best guess. Second, loss is intimately connected to death because crossing the ultimate deadline is a one-way move. A nebulous representation of former life, in varying shades of light, adequately reminds us of what has gone. And third, memory is about interpolation. The pixel images allow the brain to project, refill, expand, reminisce, and revere.
M∞ DISPLAY TECHNOLOGY
The MISSION ETERNITY DISPLAYS are based on LED technology engineered by etoy making use of Troia, an enhanced version of the blinkenlights software written by Stephan Kambor and Stefan Schuermans. The system allows to display digital movies, images, text and output from code on M∞ LED BOARDS that can be combined to build modular immersive spaces or flat panels.
In order to individually address pixels in all three dimensions, the system uses a conversion scheme based on the logic of unfolding the cube into a two dimensional frame. Content on display is handled in terms of frames where every pixel is mapped to its corresponding hardware address. All communication goes through a Linux server that processes frame by frame. This distribution server receives a stream of frames from the Troia Pixel Mixer, then converts the stream and sends it to distribution modules, which in turn process the data further to the pixel modules (196 units of 50 cm by 50 cm large circuit boards each holding 64 SMD LEDS).
The distribution server is the central part that bridges software and hardware. The distribution modules and the pixel modules are hardware components that handle large amounts of data coming from the distribution server to directly operate the LEDs and to let them flash with the corresponding gray scale value (fast changing frequency of white light creates the illusion of 128 gray tones). The Troia Pixel Mixer provides its own protocol to interfere with play lists and content in realtime.
The technology behind the M∞ LED BOARD is the result of an intense cooperation with defekt! gmbh in Zurich and various High-Tech companies in Switzerland and Germany.
The architecture provided by Troia included hardware components addressing the LEDs and software that deals with formats, conversions and protocols. Both, the hard- and software architecture follows a modular approach in which all components are communicating via the TCP/IP protocol. The Code is available under the GNU Public License. Troia has been created as a theater/architecture installation and featured an interactive and mobile space containing a three-dimensional display: a room lined with LED pixels. MISSION ETERNITY learned and centrally built on the troia technology to run all its LED based display systems.