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13 Sep 2008

REMOTEWORDS – an interdisciplinary communication project – has marked its third location.

Edith Russ Site for Media Art / Jochen Klein




Joseph-Stelzmann-Straße 5
50937 Cologne/Germany
Phone: +49 221 9339203

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REMOTEWORDS – an interdisciplinary communication project – has marked its third location: Edith Russ Site for Media Art

REMOTEWORDS – established 2007 in Cologne by Achim Mohné and Uta Kopp – disseminates statements via Google Earth and other virtual globe systems. The interventions are meant to include international art institutions and private facilities. The verbal messages are applied to the roofs of the buildings with paint. The aim of this action is to publicize the messages worldwide. International writers, art institutions, curators and scientists are invited to develop statements for the project or have already created site-specific messages. The site and the message are a semantic unity: i.e., the site is the message.

In December 2007 the roof of the REMOTEWORDS-home base located in Cologne has been marked. 'Start' not only means the beginning of the project. From this point the virtual tour via Google Earth starts on the REMOTEWORDS.NET website. In March 2008 the roof of the Fuhrwerkswaage Kunstraum was the first institution to serve as a 'bulletin board'. The author and artistic director Jochen Heufelder developed a statement that reflects the situation of a non-profit-art-space in Cologne and abroad. In May 2008 a quotation by Austrian American scientist Heinz von Foerster has been installed on the roof of Kunst:Raum SyltQuelle.

On the occasion of the Museum night in Oldenburg on September 20th REMOTEWORDS will switch on the Edith Russ Site for Media Art with a single word. An appropriate message is displayed on the roof of the exhibition building. With a time delay – after the aerial photographic data from Oldenburg have been actualized by Google – it will be online worldwide.

Other locations that will install their contributions over the next month are: Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, The Center for Land Use Interpretation Los Angeles as well as several other facilities in Europe, Asia and The United States.

The REMOTEWORDS website will inform you of the locations, features interviews with the authors, will offer a look at current projects, that can be discussed within the forum.


For any Internet user programs like Google Earth/Virtual Earth costs nothing and reproduces the whole surface of the earth in impressive detail. The detailed resolution of the raster data mostly covers 15 m; in some agglomerations, resolutions of up to 15 cm are available. The quality of the aerial photos is dependent on the area and its resolution. Thus the relatively small roof of the Edith Russ House for Media Art – because of the poor resolution of the data for Oldenburg – has just about room for one word, while Berlin's new National Gallery would even allow a short poem. Most of the big cities boasts excellent satellite representation. As a rule, 1-30 characters should suffice for messages. Buildings that lie near 'places of public interest' are especially suitable because of the high frequency of hits.

Google and Microsoft update continually; because of the landmass and the amount of data, however, the time lag can last up to several years. Some recently completed edifices still appear on the virtual globe as architectural shells, while buildings long since razed still seem to exist from the air. The image data are, on average, between one and three years old. The virtual globe systems suggest a present time that in reality is made up of time segments. This fact can, however, be put to artistic use. When news once appears on the virtual globe, it remains on the net for a long time whether it has, in the meantime, been uninstalled or 'censured' in real space.

The messages are installed in a typical 'pixel font'. REMOTEWORDS enlarges a tiny digital pixel screen to an analog large letter. Seen from space, it appears small again. The concept plays with the idea of fusing the surface of the computer screen with that of the land. Red as a striking color is responsible for the recognizability. The REMOTEWORDS-Logo marks every single roof with numbers in the chronological order of the messages.

REMOTEWORDS is engaged with aspects of digital simulation, time shift, authenticity, perception and construction, virtual reality, subjectivity, cartography, land use, computer games, real time, censorship, documentation, medial perception…