The Tower, Reconnecting People

The Tower is a generative 3D simulation of a growing crowd, which caused several subgroups. Visitors are invited to register by answering a number of questions. The answers are linked to the photo of the visitor which is also taken at the registration procedure. The answers gives (the photo of) the visitor a place in the digital crowd. And the system gives him or her a place within a subgroup. Is this the group that the visitor had in mind when he answered the questions? The organizing principle of attraction and repulsion gives the system its own logic, the outcome may turn out quite differently than you would expect in advance!

After completion of the exhibition, the system knows how many groups there are created and how big they are. Then all participants of each group are invited to come back on the so called reunion. During this reunion group photos are taken of each group. And there is to see whether the connections calculated by The Tower are also relevant in the world of real contact.

Phase 1 , the registration, during the exhibition COPY : PASTE , from 18 / 30 December 2011, in a large empty shop in the center of Leeuwarden , visitors were invited to register at The Tower , Reconnecting People Store. A picture of each participant was made, and eight questions has to be answered. The answers to these questions determined the location of the participant in the virtual , yet to be built , Zaailand square. The software behind The Tower compared the answers to the questions of the participants. The more similar answers , the more the participants pulled together. If there was no agreement there was a repulsive force These attractive and repulsive forces eventually led to group formation . The virtual mass , 238 registrants large , formed nine groups on the basis of computer algorithms in an entirely unpredictable manner.

Phase 2 , the reunion, the people from the nine groups were then invited to the reunion on December 15, 2012 . On this day , the members of each group were introduced to each other . The time of the group meeting was immortalized by a ‘real’ group . Of the 238 registrants , 49 people participated in the reunion .

Phase 3 , the exhibition, during the exhibition at the Fries Museum the group portraits were ​​exhibited. As a complement , the participants were asked to show group portraits from their private lives. These pictures are placed in line with the position of the participant in the group photos of The Tower . There are also interviews with representatives from the various groups who talk about their own lives and the role that played  certain groups in their lives

Snow thanks all participants , Artproject Leve het Zaailand ( CP Berbee ) , Regelpunt ( Margret Havinga and Johan de Vries ) and their volunteers , Frans van Hoesel ( creator and programmer of the system behind The Tower ) , Arno van Oordt ( programmer interface touchscreen the Tower ) , John Welling ( photographer of the group photos ) Dinanda Luttikhedde (camera recording of the reunion ) , Dennis van Tilburg ( the music for the information video and documentary ) , the Fries Museum ( for the beautiful location ) , the Peer Group ( for the use of their equipment).


Phase 1. The Tower, Reconnecting People “Store”. Copy:Paste exhibition. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 1. Viewing the groups. Copy: Paste exhibition. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 1. The recording set up. Copy: Paste exhibition. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 1. Registering. Copy: Paste exhibition. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 2. Photographer John Welling “kneads” the groups. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 2. Ruben explains the origin of the groups and their characteristics. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 2. John again in action. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 2. Overview of the specially designed “return” place, the heart of Leeuwarden, close to the Zaailand. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 3. Opening by Saskia Bak, director of the Fries Museum. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 3. The Tower Museum Weekend participants and visitors view the exhibition.  (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 3. Visitors view the interviews of representatives from the various groups. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 3. Adri explains the registration setup during the exhibition. (Photo: Ad de Laat)

Phase 3. Picture frames with personal group photos of The Tower participants.