Sentient Sign (of the times)

(de)constructing the (de)sign of the semiotic (de)signifier

Design, de-sign, de-signify, de-signifier

As people walk down the sidewalk to approach the sign, it functions as a mirror, displaying a left-right reversed image from a video camera hidden in the sign. People see themselves in the mirror.

Then the video in the mirror fades to a view of what would be seen if the TV were completely transparent. This provides an illusory transparency (a la Magritte's 1936 painting "The Human Condition").

Here we can see the video display in the sign functioning as a window:

Then it turns itself into a funhouse mirror, distorting reality.

First it changes the time of day, and renders the illusion of transparency at a different time of day (so that it's like looking into a window that converts day to night, or night to day). This is done by time-lapse video delay.

Next it begins to make fun of any text that happens to come into its view, through a variety of real and virtual cameras:

Here it's as if the sign has become sentient: it mischeviously alters the meaning of words in it's field of view, by slight changes, e.g. PARADISE becomes PASTICHE.

Maybe the AI in the sign has poor taste in text. Or maybe it thinks text (or a nude woman's buttocks) is GAUDY. Or maybe it just wants to make love with the nude woman it sees come into its field of view, hence the word "MATRESS". The viewer is left to wonder whether the sign has gone crazy, or if it's merely a sign of the postmodern times we live in.

The sign gathers all what it can see, and mixes it up in an Intelligent Image Processing and computer graphics world:

Original camera data:
the camera begins facing
toward the viewer, then
it pans across the street,
as shown above, and
finally it ends, panning
away from the viewer,
so the mirror becomes
the window shown in Fig. 1.

Computer graphics data:
the sign has also mischeviously
deleted all the corporate logos,
and changed some of the words
that it can see, indicating that
the sign has become a sentient
being, aware of its surroundings.

Video sequence

Four frames from a video sequence are shown on the right, depicting the gradual transition from lesser to greater degree of pastiche, as the virtual camera pans to the right. Text such as "ON NOW TO JAN 5th" eventually morphs into "ON NOW TO JAIL".

This panning sequence functions as a natural transition from mirror (in which the viewers see themselves) to window (in which the viewers see down the street, that which is otherwise obstructed by the sign.

Finally the sign talks to another video display in the window, which begins left-right reversal of another camera:

With all these cameras and displays, it's doing more than just holding a mirror up to society.

The signs reflect the signs of the times.

Next, a worldwide ouiki of signs start to talk to each other... Frequency-dependent time delays allow the viewer to see themselves in a virtual world at another time of day, while at the same time, seeing others around the world.