photo: S. Sinclair

Bandwidth is a an interactive installation that attempts to explore the issues of information poverty. Information is becoming increasingly important and concrete in our society and culture. Those that cannot access and manipulate information technology are forming a new lower class. There are many causes for not being able to access information: monetary poverty, educational poverty, sensory and physical poverty... Bandwidth addresses a type of sensory poverty, that is, blindness. The disabled are one group that are prime (but not automatic) candidates to join the ranks of the information poor.

The braille pad (pictured) has six metal pins that can form braille letters that a user can experience with the palm of his/her hand. A computer can send any type of information to the pad through a parallel cable. Although no information is destroyed, the information transmitted to the pad is rendered useless: the bandwidth is so narrow that reading text with the pad is impossible. It is this ironic aspect of the pad (useless but complete information) that I feel makes one ask questions about accessibility to information in our increasingly information centric culture.

This piece was first shown at the Third Rail Arts Festival in the fall of 97.