Fountain (2002)

Interactive Media thesis project by Catherina Centanni

In this interactive installation I combine my interests in design, art, programming, and electronics. In past projects have focused on representing numerical information visually or acoustically on a computer. My thesis is a continuing effort to combine art and technology in a public space uniting the “virtual” networked world with the “real” world.

“Fountain” is an installation that watches people’s online search activities. I created a program that retrieves real time content searches that are entered into Google search by people around the world. Using a different  search function, the same program then retrieve images related to these search term and displays them as a collage on a cathode ray tube mounted under a plexiglass tank filled with water. In this virtual fountain images bubble up and appear to float at different levels in the water. The viewer has to look into the tank in order to see the screen. Viewers in the gallery can hear each term spoken using text to speech, attracting them look into the tank in order to resolve the images.

The water relates to the fluidity of images found on the Internet. The user has no direct control over the graphics or words displayed on the screen, but experiences it as a voyeur, looking into an agitated display of refracted light, and seemingly random spoken words requested anonymously, surfing the web in a fish tank.

Catherina Centanni - 2002

Chairman’s grant

Alumni award

CA thesis grant

Award for best Interactive Media thesis


HC11 Microcontroller

PC, CRT, Speakers

Steel, Plexiglass, Water

Electric pump