Bar Code Hotel

by Perry Hoberman

This piece was a lot of fun, and really pleased my aesthetic sensibilities. The exhibit consisted of a room with various bar-like counters that are plastered with printed bar code symbols like those you would see on a cereal box in your grocery store. However, each of these codes is labelled with some action or modifier word, such as enlarge, dodge, or even earthquake. These codes affect the action of a character that you create in a floating three dimensional world. This world is projected onto a large screen TV and with the aid of polarised glasses, the 3D illusion is quite convincing, if not wholly immersive. The characters are in Bar Code Hotel are the stuff of everyday life: eyeglasses, paper clips, suitcases and bowling balls for example. Their actions can be affected by passing a special light pen across any of the many bar codes in the room. Up to five guests can participate in the environment at once, and it is sometimes this interaction that is most exciting. The use of the bar code, a symbol of our consumer based society is a nice touch. Here this precise and ordered system of inventory regulation and price determination is used to create unpredictable and often comic behaviours in non- glamorous products. The bar codes also present an amazing graphical collage on the walls and counters of the space. Although not traditional VR, the Bar Code Hotel was and interesting and exciting surreal environment.