G-Player/G-POD/g-turns.com
Mixed Media Installation with modified computer/hacked iPod/online store
Soft- and Hardware construction Sukandar Kartadinata
CI and print Christa Marek
Web-programming schwarzdesign
2004–2007

images / text / www.g-turns.com


G-Players play the world like record players. They are literally global players. The project is equally a functioning and contradictory metaphor that reflects upon the fascination of technologies, the philosophy of the market place and everyday human megalomania. In this context, it is therefore important that all of the presented procedures are not fictional models, but real and fully functional soft and hardware products.

The G-P4 (Global-Player 4) was developed in 2004. It is an audio interface capable of playing the Earth sonically. The user-friendly G-POD (a hacked iPod) was produced two years later to enlarge product line. The project was completed in 2007 with the establishment of g-turns.com, an online store. The players are presented in the name of the fictitious BRAND Company in an installation resembling a trade fair stand. A persistently friendly salesman eager to discuss the use, purpose and beauty of the presented products with the clients is a part of mise-en-scène.

Sound can be visualized using several methods. Spectral analysis is one possibility; it allows a sound file to appear like a topographical cross section of a landscape (fig. 1). In the case of the G-Player, on the other hand, the topographical files (fig. 2) are interpreted like audio files. Regions with high altitudes such as the Himalaya produce more dynamic structures then the Netherlands or the North Siberian Lowlands, for example. According to this logic, the oceans are regions without sound. As 72 % of the Earth’s surface is composed of water, the G-Player is largely silent.

The products

The G-P4 and G-POD function like a record player, but instead of vinyl LPs they play the Earth. Their sound is generated produced in real time based on the satellite orbits selected by the audience and on a topographical database of the Earth. The G-P4 is able to locate the positions of all officially known satellites (at present approximately 2000). It simulates the orbit of the selected satellite around the Earth. Following the principle of a record player needle, the satellite scans the surface of the Earth, and translates the topography into sound like the grooves of a vinyl LP. The display shows the name and type of the selected satellite (military, weather or telecommunication, etc.), its altitude and the coordinates of its orbit on Earth (longitude and latitude). There is no other visualization of the ongoing process. In principle, the G-POD functions like the G-Player, but it has a slightly lower resolution and encompasses only the 400 fastest satellites. As a portable device, the G-POD has only minimal display possibilities. The G-POD is essentially a hacked Apple iPod that only plays back MP3 files, but also generates sounds itself.

Like any normal company, the project has had its own online presence since 2007 (www.g-turns.com) featuring Internet-specific applications. The online store not only offers the above-named products for sale, but also provides everything the heart desires, including Google Earth applications. The products range from a free teaser, the “satellite of the day” podcast, to individualized “flight routes” and satellite orbits that can be book and paid for with PayPal (5 minutes for only 4.95 Euros), and, finally, the opportunity to become a member or buy out the entire company in order to play the Earth the way you want to (I-God Membership Card Gold). Despite the apparent irony, all offered services and products are real and functional and the user must also really pay to access them. The ambience of the online store presented on a white MacBook, a PowerBook or an iMac in the style of IKEA model living rooms as depicted in their catalogs (including price tags).

www.g-turns.com


Produced by per->SON, Raumklang – Klangraum, 2004, Cologne; Sonambiente, Berlin; Kunststiftung North Rhine Westphalia and Tesla, Berlin.