anaBlog is is an electro-mechanical community blog (weblog) originally developed as a site-specific interactive installation for Blink a (now) annual exhibition held during Artsweek in Peterborough (ON).
Part confessional, part message board, part soapbox, anaBlog is a DIY network that stands at the intersections of private and public space, personal and community standards, revelation and surveillance, graffiti and communication, vandalism and intervention. Mimicking the internet but physically structured around a clothesline, anaBlog is a playful examination of the web phenomenon of anonymously bearing ones soul in a public space.
Users can upload and download messages via the mechanical server (below, left). A small two-button controller (below, right) at select Cafe tables provides a simple user interface for joining the conversation. Pages (messages) are served (dowloaded) from the ceiling mounted clothsline when requested. Once they arrive, users are free to modify, remove, amend or create a new post. Once edits are complete the user re-uploades the message and enjoys the experience of their post travel into the 'cloud'.
NOTE: anaBlog was produced just as blogging was exploding as a cultural phenomenon. In fact, blogging was new enough in 2006 to still be called weBlogging by many. It is fascinating to see how rapidly the context of blogging has shifted in the years that followed the production of this work.
From original statement...
While the high cost of access to technology can result in online communities stratified by economic class anaBlog revels in its own low tech, open and free system of engagement. anaBlog is a no-bandwidth system designed to facilitate open dialog and community engagement.
The march of progress demanded the clothesline be displaced by a robotic replica, the clothes dryer. Now, in a self-affirming reversal of technological advance, the automated clothesline of the anaBlog provides pedestrians in Peterborough's downtown core the opportunity to air their dirty laundry.
Unfortunately a city by-law wedged itself between the ideal realization of this work and its final form (see statement). Regardless, the piece was embraced by Blink participants and I collected nearly 250 posts during the 7-day festival.
anaBlog (detail, individual page 'server'), 2006
Mockup (left) and final post-card server mechanism.