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Creating Digital Worlds of the Future

Under the theme "Build Your Own World," more than 100 artists are creating fanciful universes in the hopes of prompting civic engagement at this arts-and-tech biennial in San Jose. We peeked at six intriguing projects.

Creating Digital Worlds of the Future
David Rockwell
The biennial's interactive centerpiece uses inputs both physical (bullhorns, hopscotch) and virtual (Twitter) to record crowd activity and project it abstractly on the facade of City Hall. "You'll sense how your performance is part of an overall performance of city life."
Natalie Jeremijenko
Staged artificial wetlands make the case for saving these ecosystems by using them as light-sport landing strips. "Regulations exist, but the excitement about wetlands is not there. That's the shift I play with, using the techno-fetishism of flight."
Michael Sarff
All Raise This Barn, West
This digital-age barn raising asks participants to answer 100 yes-or-no questions (Is the window centered? Is the barn invisible?) and then build the structure on-site, in a day, based on the data. "We're not trying to build a lasting sculpture. We're building an activity."
Nova Jiang
The Angeleno maroons GPS — equipped plywood "desert islands" on city corners. Passersby can leave a message in a bottle — both a metaphor for car culture and a small remedy for it. "The social isolation of how much people have to drive is part of my daily life."
Teddy Cruz
Mapping NonConformity
From businesses in San Diego alleyways to "mixed-use" tunnels 70 feet below Tijuana, Cruz maps immigrants' radical reshaping of the U.S. — Mexico border. "These illegal densities and economies are retrofitting what otherwise is a very homogeneous, one-dimensional idea of land use."
Victoria Scott
Gift Horse
Biennial-goers will fill a 13-foot Second-Life-made-real-life Trojan horse with paper versions of famous viruses (e.g., ILOVEYOU), which will then be spilled onto the floor of the San Jose Museum of Art. "We're providing a cover for people to get their art in."

A version of this article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.