Commissioned as part of the Virtual Storey Project, this one of a series of projects proposed for future integration into Lancaster’s Storey Institute. The Storey Institute is a landmark building in Lancaster that has an historic mission to provide the city with artistic, scientific and cultural educational opportunities. As part of the Institute’s regeneration as a building for the 21st Century, a fully interactive 3-D model of the Institute was constructed and a number of virtual artworks were placed within it.
call_centre is a prototype for a fully functional telephone call centre, to be installed inside the Storey Institute. The call_centre system is autonomous, meaning that it has no human operators, and adapts itself in response to human activities in the Storey Institute. Using a combination of sensors and software agents, the call_centre is integrated with the building’s architecture, databases and environmental conditions.
Once dialed, the call_centre provides a voice-interface to the building, relaying real-time data from its sensors to provide a picture of the state of the building’s information spaces. Texts for the voice interface were produced in collaboration with Kate Pullinger. Consequently the call_centre operates as a kind of interactive representation of the institution’s social, political and physical architecture through embodying aspects of the building that are imperceptible, unpresented or unnoticed by human beings.
The system is programmed to reflect and uphold the Storey Institute’s mission to provide experiences of cultural and scientific benefit to the people of Lancaster. It looks to evaluate ideal operating scenarios for the provision of this mission, and then condition its users to experience the building in accordance with such scenarios. Armed with this information, the project aims to explore the relationship between the remote and local, institutional and informal, and visible and invisible spaces around the building.