A Waterfall of Words by Julius Popp
Whenever the artwork is switched on a large audience gathers; the fascinating Bit.Fall is a waterfall creating a cascade of words sourced from live news feeds. The work is a play between the highly technological system and its relationship to the nature.
The speed at which information is sourced, exchanged and updated in our modern society is almost inconceivable and more ephemeral than ever before; Bit.Fall translates this abstract process into an experience for the senses.
The information-curtain acts as a metaphor for the incessant flood of information we are exposed to, and from which we draw our perpetually changing realities. The visual information is only temporarily perceptible as an image before it dissolves into itself. The distribution of information is revealed as a transient, easily manipulated phenomenon. The point is not what we see, it is how we evaluate it.
In Bit.Fall, information is represented by words generated by a computer program, based on a statistical algorithm. The program filters relevant terms from the current stream of news on the internet and transmits the values to the control unit of Bit.Fall. In a split second, the machine releases hundreds of drops at specific intervals, creating a ‘waterfall’ of words.
Each drop of water becomes a liquid and transient ‘pixel’ or ‘bit’, the smallest unit of information. Bit.Fall combines two distinct circulation systems – circulation in nature (through its own laws, such as gravity) and circulation in culture (through the degrees of social attention as recorded by statistics).
Date September/October 2004, December/January 2010/2011, July/August 2012, 2015 to present day
Location We originally exhibited a Proto-type for Bit.Fall in a London Bridge railway arch in 2004. In 2010/2011 we installed 2 developed machines: one on the river walkway outside Tate Modern, Bankside, the other under the DLR bridge in Canary Wharf. The Bankside Bit.Fall was linked to the tidal Thames and operated only when the tide was high enough to spark its sophisticated mechanism into operation. This was the first time Julius Popp has linked his world-renowned installation to a river tide.
In 2012 a 45-metre machine was commissioned for the Olympic Park during the Olympic Games. In 2016 a ten-metre machine was permanently installed under the DLR bridge, Chancellor Passage in Canary Wharf, it can be seen on Winter evenings.
Curated and Produced by Illuminate Productions in partnership with Canary Wharf Group
Supported by Southwark Council, Tate Modern, Arts Council England, Port of London Authority
Key coverage total reach 600 million. Media included BBC London News, BBC Radio London, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Times, The Financial Times, The Independent, The Guardian, Time Out, Metro
Julius Popp is a media artist who currently lives and works in Leipzig, Germany. After an apprenticeship as a photographer, between 1998 and 2005 he studied Fine Arts at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig. From 2005 to 2009 he was a master class student of Astrid Klein at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst. In the past Popp has received several awards, including the Robot Choice Award of the international art exhibition ArtBots in 2003, the Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in 2008, the Kunstpreis of the Leipziger Volkszeitung in 2009, the Silver Design Lion and the Bronze Outdoor Lion of Cannes in 2011. His work often involves technology, resulting in interdisciplinary ventures that reach across the boundaries of art and science. He cooperates with the University of Leipzig, the Fraunhofer Society in St. Augustin, Germany, and the M.I.T. Cambridge in Massachusetts, USA. Since 2005 he has been included in various group exhibitions worldwide, solo exhibitions include; Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Oboro Art Centre, Montréal Canada, Kunsthalle Wien Austria, Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, Konstmuseum Eskilstuna Sweden and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul South Korea.