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Slow Screen
The Slow Screen is a kinetic installation stretching over the entire front of the MuDA. It is made of 805 mechanical pixels which can display patterns, images and text – at a very slow speed.
Slow Screen ist eine kinetische Installation, welche sich über die gesamte Fassade des MuDA zieht. Sie besteht aus 805 mechanischen Pixeln, welche Muster, Bilder und Text darstellen können – bei ganz langsamer Geschwindigkeit.
The Slow Screen is a kinetic installation stretching over the entire front of the MuDA. It is made of 805 mechanical pixels which can display patterns, images and text – at a very slow speed.
The idea of the Slow Screen was conceived during the construction of the MuDA. The initiators were faced with the dilemma that some exhibitions will have the need for sunlight, while others will require darkness, others somewhere in between. Whereas curtains usually are the obvious solution for this dilemma, it didn't feel appropriate for a museum of digital art.
Die Idee des Slow Screens entstand während den Umbauarbeiten für das MuDA: Die Initiatoren waren mit dem Problem konfrontiert, dass manche Ausstellungen Tageslicht benötigen, andere dunkel sein müssen, und wieder andere irgendwo dazwischen. Während Vorhänge oder Storen normalerweise naheliegend sind, war es keine passende Lösung für ein Museum für digitale Kunst.
The idea of the Slow Screen was conceived during the construction of the MuDA. The initiators were faced with the dilemma that some exhibitions will have the need for sunlight, while others will require darkness, others somewhere in between. Whereas curtains usually are the obvious solution for this dilemma, it didn't feel appropriate for a museum of digital art.
First was a virtual simulation of the Slow Screen to visualise its mechanics. Try it out by pressing the 1 or 2 key on your keyboard (doesn't work on mobile).

Zuerst war eine virtuelle Simulation des Slow Screens, um dessen Mechanik zu visualisieren. Man kann diese Simulation selbst ausprobieren, indem man die Taste 1 oder 2 auf der Tastatur drückt (funktioniert nicht auf Mobiltelefonen).

The first virtual simulation of the Slow Screen to visualise its mechanics. Try it out by pressing the 1 or 2 key on your keyboard (doesn't work on mobile).

Try it
Ausprobieren
Try it
Assembling the Slow Screen.
The assembling of the Slow Screen. Seven mechanical elements where fitted onto each of the 115 columns, creating a total resolution of 805 pixels.
Die Installation des Slow Screens. Jeweils sieben mechanische Elemente formen zusammen eine der 115 vertikalen Reihen, was eine Gesamtauflösung von 805 Pixeln ergibt.
The assembling of the Slow Screen. Seven mechanical elements where fitted onto each of the 115 columns, creating total a resolution of 805 pixels.
Beautiful patterns emerge from the shadows drawn by the mechanical pixels, such as from the street lights at night.
Das gelbliche Licht der Strassenbeleuchtung bei Nacht kreiert geometrische Muster im Innern des Museums.
Beautiful patterns emerge from the shadows drawn by the mechanical pixels, such as from the street lights at night.
The MuDA is often about explaining digital technology by simply making its mechanics visible. This ignited the idea of building a screen that would stretch over the 100 square meters of the museum’s front: 805 physical pixels that can each rotate individually and therefore make it possible to control exactly how much light can come through the facade’s large windows.
Oft geht es im MuDA darum, verborgene technische Vorgänge sichtbar zu machen. Und so entwickelte das Team die Idee einen riesigen aus physischen Pixeln bestehenden Bildschirm zu bauen, der sich über die 100 Quadratmeter grosse Fassade des Museums erstreckt. Durch das präzise Rotieren jedes einzelnen Pixels kann genau kontrolliert werden, wie viel Licht durch die grossen Fenstern gelassen werden kann.
Often, the MuDA is about explaining digital technology by simply making its mechanics visible. Hence the team developed the idea to build a screen stretching over the 100 square metres large front, made by 805 physical pixels which can each rotate individually and therefore allow to control exactly how much light can come through the large window facade.
Since it would have been financially impossible to deploy 805 motors to steer each one of these pixels, a system that only requires one motor per column was developed, positioning each pixel of the column starting from the bottom up, by alternating the direction of rotation. While this is very efficient in terms of resources, it also means that it takes about six minutes to build up an entire image, resulting in a frame rate of 10 images per hour. Hence the name.
Da es finanziell schlicht unmöglich wäre, 805 Motoren zu installieren um jeden Pixel einzeln zu steuern, wurde ein System entwickelt, das mit nur einem Motor pro vertikaler Pixellinie auskommt. In dem die Drehrichtung alterniert wird, kann jeder einzelne Pixel genau positioniert, und das Bild somit von unten nach oben aufgebaut werden. Dies benötigt viel weniger Ressourcen, dafür aber etwa sechs Minuten um ein gesamtes Bild aufzubauen, was in einer Bildrate von zehn Bildern pro Stunde niederschlägt. Deshalb der Name.
Since it would have been financially impossible to deploy 805 motors to control each pixel a system was developed with allowed to only require one motor per column, which then can position each pixel of the column bottom up by alternating the direction of rotation. While this is very efficient in terms of resources, it also means that it takes about six minutes to build up an entire image, resulting in a frame rate of 10 images per hour. Hence the name.
The first working prototype, built with pixels made from cardboard and filled with rice to simulate the final weight.
Die Pixel des erste Prototypens wurden aus Karton gebaut, welche mit Reis gefüllt wurden um das schlussendliche Gewicht zu simulieren.
The first working prototype, built with pixels made from cardboard and filled with rice to simulate the final weight.
While the Slow Screen is used to regulate the daylight, it can also run animations and display short messages (like here, announcing the Qubibi exhibition) towards the bustling street in front of the museum.
Während der Slow Screen für das Regeln des Tageslichtes benutz wird, kann die Installation auch Animationen und kurze Textnachrichten (wie hier, die Ankündigung der Qubibi-Ausstellung) darstellen.
While the Slow Screen is used to regulate the daylight, it can also run animations and display short messages (like here, announcing the Qubibi exhibition) towards the bustling street in front of the museum.
Local engineering company Greenliff is working on connecting each motor so as to make them run perfectly synchronously.
Die lokal ansässige Ingenieursfirma Greenliff arbeitet an der Synchronität der Motoren.
Credits
Direction: Christian Etter
Project Manager: Caroline Hirt
Producers: Johanna Taubenreuter, Lucas Uhlmann

Production: Etter Studio
Engineering: Solution, Greenliff
Metalwork: Fidel Morf

Idee: Christian Etter
Projektleitung: Caroline Hirt
Produzenten: Johanna Taubenreuter, Lucas Uhlmann

Produktion: Etter Studio
Engineering: Solution, Greenliff
Schlosser: Fidel Morf

Direction: Christian Etter
Project Manager: Caroline Hirt
Producers: Johanna Taubenreuter, Lucas Uhlmann

Production: Etter Studio
Engineering: Solution, Greenliff
Metal Work: Fidel Morf

Thanks
Danke
Merci
Moritz Schuler, Ivo Hirt, Sabrina Cerea, Markus Pilz, Quang Thai, Beat Schuler, Irene Sibler, Caroline Lerch, Alexa Jeanne Kubser, Chantal Schuler, Quang Thai, Gomti Etter-Ravji, Marc Dörflinger, Justine Brevet, Dynamo Zürich, Max Schuler, Urban Etter, Patrick Ammann, Sheraton Zurich, Alexander Houben, Mattia Torsello
Hinderling Volkart Microsoft Greenliff