International Festival
of Computer Arts

Seven Mile Boots


Seven Mile Boots

  • 29th MFRU
  • Installation
Artists Laura Beloff, Erich Berger, Martin Pichlmair
Seven Mile Boots

"Seven mile boots, the magical footwear known from folk tales, enables its owner to travel seven miles with one step. With little effort one can cross the countries, to be present wherever it seems suitable and to become a cosmopolitan flaneur with the world as the street." The project Seven Mile Boots is a pair of interactive shoes with audio. One can wear the boots, walk around as a flaneur simultaneousy in the physical world and in the literal world of the internet. By walking in the physical world one may suddenly encounter a group of people chatting in real time in the virtual world. The chats are heard as a spoken text coming from the boots. Wherever you are with the boots, the physical and the virtual worlds will merge together."

Walking online. Chatting in the net has become a phenomenon during the last decade. There is an endless communication among the online communities in the chats. Walking and wearing shoes is an everyday exercise for humans. The sevenmile- boots piece is built upon feet and shoes as an interface to move in this text-based non-space of the chat rooms. The visible/physical part of the piece consists of a pair of boots, which are available for use. The seven-mile-boots can be thought as a hole which is attached on the body of a user. Through the hole s/he is "seeing" behind it, at the same time he is aware of the hole itself in a physical environment and the hole becomes a part of the user wherever he goes. The piece offers a perspective into the processes, which are an inherent part of our current lifestyle. The artistic focus of the piece is in the construction of an open structure, which is filled by real people in real time; real life. The structure creates a possibility space which pushes the users forward in a search for more. This deficit produces the desire for substance, a desire to consume and to experience. After putting on the boots they start looking for active chat channels.

When the user walks around s/he can locate a chat activity through audio. S/he will hear himself passing through a group of chatters or s/he can decide to stop for closer observation. The boots log into the chat rooms automatically under the name of "sevenmileboots". The channels are selected according to their activity and topic. Everytime while walking, the boots are looking for a new selection of channels from the net. The boots contain all the necessary techniques in them, a computer with wireless network, microprocessor, sensors, amplifiers and loudspeakers. The boots are ready to function in any location with an open wireless network.