Arzu Arda Kosar

Terminal Time

Screened at the Santa Fe Art Colony, Los Angeles, California
Screening organized by Arzu Arda Kosar, in conjunction with 1st Art in Motion Festival
Presenters: Steffi Domike, Michael Mateas, Paul Vanouse

Compiled in Pittsburgh, PA by a group of film-makers and computer artists, Terminal Time is a cutting edge audience powered history engine that combines mass participation, real-time documentary graphics and artificial intelligence.

Each half-hour cinematic experience includes multiple-choice questions aimed at the audience at several points. The loudest applause determines the audience response. The computer then evaluates the answers and composes a documentary that covers thousands years of human history that reflects the values, biases and desires of the participants.

Terminal Time is a highly entertaining event that amazes the audience with its advanced technology and lures them into getting comfortable and letting their guards down by encouraging noise to interact with the program. The fabricated documentary makes an unmistakable point about the subjective nature of information and knowledge. But it doesn’t necessarily stop there.

One can argue that the crux of the experience is the realization that, as interactive as it is, Terminal Time gives the audience only the illusion of control. Of course the audience is free to choose an answer that matches their biases, but they are still playing a game that has been put together by a mastermind so that there are a finite number of permutations for the outcome.

Terminal Time is a remarkable analysis of the genres of documentary and interactive multi-media installations ad the concepts of power and control.