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Icelanders Played A Massive Game Of PONG On An Olafur Eliasson Building

Atli Bollason and Owen Hindley teamed up to create a massive game of PONG on the side of an Olafur Elíasson-designed Reykjavik building.

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Created in cooperation with Harpa and Vodafone, from August 23 through 31, concept designer Atli Bollason and multimedia technologist Owen Hindley teamed up to play a massive game of PONG—using a building facade as their game screen. Co-opting the face of the Olafur Elíasson-designed Harpa concert hall, the interactive multimedia art piece, PONG, employs smartphones, connected to an exclusive Wifi network, to control the game's paddles in realtime on the building's 714 individually controlled LED windows. Says Bollason, "Today, computer games become sort of synonymous with solitude. So I thought it was interesting to have an open-air arcade, so to speak."


Inviting anyone in Reykjavik to join in on the fun, PONG was a high-tech spectacle of enormous proportions, an ode not only to the possibilities of relational, participatory art, but to the enduring simplicity of the world's first video game. Plus, it was a big step for all of the artists involved, as PONG was the first time Elíasson granted other artists the ability to use Harpa's high-tech lighting system. While placing the project on the building was no cakewalk—Hindley employed three simultaneous Node.js servers to run the game—here's to hoping Harpa opens its windows to more futuristic gaming events like these.

Above, check out PONG in action, and visit to learn more.


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