portrait 2013 - Douglas Engelbart


[ portrait 2013 - Douglas Engelbart ] 肖像2013_

secondhand computer mice, custom computer operating system, custom usb hub

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Brief :

[ portrait 2013 - Douglas Engelbart ] is an installation to be in honour of Douglas Engelbart. It’s an operating system which you can plug 88 computer mouses on it, and that means every mouse has its own cursor on the screen and everyone can control them in the same time.

“One computer, one web browser, many cursors, many computer mice; people surf net and interact HID device together at the same time.”


First commercial personal computer is began  in 60’ , in that moment, computer has only keyboard as its interface for executing commands. Since graphical operating system started, computer mouse to be as an computer pointing device and begin to surf in two dimension world until now. It’s invented by Douglas Engelbart who was an early computer and internet pioneer. He is best known for his work on the challenges of human-computer interaction, and also contribute on development of hypertext, networked computers and precursors to graphical user interfaces.  


In 2013, Douglas Engelbart(age 88 years old) was pass away and  I decided to make a work to remember him. I use to make a portrait work every year for my own artistic practice. In the beginning , I start to think about cloud computing and social network in nowadays. Current social media platform contents timebase status feedback, it’s a comfortable user experience which let people to feel and understand the newest activities of their friends or companies. But I ask myself if there is some other way to make people feel something much more directly, that will be interested and also if the cloud computing is not even just sharing data, co-working, that will be wonderful for me. In that point, I made an un-personal web browser to express my thought which is “how chaotic if people can surf internet at the same time?” “The fastest commander will be the person who did first click on the mouse” “The web media can be true or false”. This project is a computer with 88 computer mouses, and every mouse has actual function. Audience can choose and surf online content by certain pages automatic generate by custom software, and if mouses has been idle for 10 mins. Then the mouse cursors on the screen will be composed itself to become the figure of Douglas Engelbart. Those certain web pages are related to computer mouse online tutorial and something that concerning Douglas Engelbart. I try to create an environment which be different  than the regular way of using personal computer, by this humorous setup to let people feel and think about what will be the next level of computing environment of human being and how media or social media effects of our society. 

This project has been extended now, I am developing an web browser plugin as an new social platform which can allow people to see their friends mouse cursors on their browser and interact with them. I think this way is a kind of physical activity to let people in front of screen to catch the feeling of “being ” of their friends.