ARCHIV Service Area a.i.


Service Area a.i.: Ars '94 / Manual / Audiobox / Map / Access / FTP

Virtual space

In former times cafes and markets were locations of cultural life, but todays society is lacking public space. Service Area a.i. is the installation of a virtual telematic world that offers its participants at home a multimedia access by the networks.

Service Area a.i. is a virtual space, a space in electronical networks, a space to play around, unfold and express yourself at the same time. To access Service Area a.i., you simply need a standard PC and a modem. At the same time Service Area a.i. can be accessed through the internet.

The users of Service Area a.i. can communicate in different media modes: Text, sound, music, painting and live video conferencing (with our video digitizer AVIS) are possible in real time.

Service Area a.i. is an interactive TV project as well. During Ars Electronica 1994 1994 there where several live transmissions on the European satelite channel ZDF/3sat.

Service Area a.i.: Ars '94 / Manual / Audiobox / Map / Access / FTP

The TV - shows:

Service Area a.i. was presented at Ars Electronica 1994 in Linz. At the Bruckner Haus in Linz, Austria, Service Area was visualized in a 3D installation. People could physically enter the cyberspace, see what is going on and participate in the ongoing communication.

From June 21st to June 25th we transmitted several times a day. The TV show was a window into a virtual world. The windows allowed to see telematic landscapes and reflected the events on TV. Each show was presented by a poet.

Each poet lived in the virtual world of Service Area a.i. for one day. Three times a day one of the poets was interpreting news and events live on TV. They became chronicler of their own experience. With their specific language they translated their impressions and mediated between the audience and the virtual telematic world.

The Poets in Service Area a.i. where:
Nanni Balestrini
Blixa Bargeld
Indulis Bilzens (see picture)
Steve Blame
Boris Groys
WestBam (see picture)
Hubert Winkels

Service Area a.i.: Ars '94 / Manual / Audiobox / Map / Access / FTP

Online manual

Welcome to the online manual of Service Area a.i. You will find all necessary information to install the software plus an overview of the most important functions. For further details please refer to the information text that comes with the software.

How do I connect?
Which media modes are available?
How do I look like?
What kind of hardware do I need?

What is Service Area a.i.?

Service Area a.i. is a shared virtual space on the net. Its users can communicate in a 3D multi user environment. Real time text, music, image, sound and video communication is supported by the system. In order to connect you need a special freeware programm, called the frontend. Freeware

How do I connect?

The Service Area a.i. frontend is a self extracting archive. Copy it to a directory of your choice (e.g. : c: \area) and type "area". The software will install itself on your computer.
After installation you can start the frontend by typing "f". First you will see a black and white screen. You are prompted for several things, which you have to fill in and confirm by "RETURN". First you enter your name and age as an information for other users. After that some technical questions: which serial port do you use, if you are using an AVIS cheese for live video and last but not least the Service Area a.i. phone number (+49-511-691929), or the Service Area a.i. internet address (I

What does the communication environment look like?

After you are successfully connected, you will enter the world at the forum "Allgemeines". Have a look around, the blue and orange shapes are forums. Others users look like turqois octaeders, if they have not yet chosen an individual shape. Its not hard to spot them, as they fly around in space or communicate with others. But there is more: multimedia objects, so called containers, that others have left in space. Squares contain text, hexagons music, pentagons sounds, frames images and triangles contain paintings.

Which media modes are available?

In Service Area a.i. there are five basic communication modi. They are visualized as little icons on the bottom left corner of your screen. You can select either one of them just by clicking, or by stepping through with the TAB key. The "T" means text modus. Here you can chat with other users. You will always start the frontend in text modus. The little keyboard means music, the brush stands for painting, the microphone for direct audio connection (only available with a soundblaster board installed) and the little camera for the exchange of AVIS images. Switch through the modes and for each one of them click somewhere in the picture of Service Area a.i. A menu with a list of different commands will appear.

What is a container?

Anything you send or receive during a connection can be saved into a container. These containers remain in the world and can be read, seen and listened to by other users.
Creating such a container is pretty simple: click somewhere in space and choose "create container" from the menu. The mediatype of that container will be the one of the media mode you are using. Anything you type/play/send etc. from that moment on will be stored into the container until you select "close" from the menu again.
Created objects remain in space until you leave the system. The container will only remain in Service Area when our database is connected. The message "object has reached database" will confirm that your object stays in the world, visible for others even after you left.

How do I look like?

You can create your own shape in Service Area. To do this you need some experience in 3D construction because there is not yet a 3D editor . Please refer to the text file "makeuser.txt". Unfortunately it is in German at the moment (we work on that, promise).

How do I quit the system?

With the function key F10. The software quits and disconnects. Good bye.

What kind of Hardware do I need?

Minimum system requirements:
IBM-AT compatible 286 with 20 MHz.
We strongly recommend a 486/50 or higher, 1MB RAM and 1MB harddisk space, and you gonna love it with a pentium. A VGA card and a serial port with a working interrupt are necessary. AVIS, Mouse and Soundblaster Card are optional but recommendable.

Service Area a.i.: Ars '94 / Manual / Audiobox / Map / Access / FTP


Audiobox is the home of the voice chatter. It is online since June 1994 and becomes more and more popular. There are more than 500 users per day and their number is increasing.

An overview of the audio world and a list of commands you can find here.

Audiobox what is it?

Audiobox is part of Service Area a.i. and a virtual world, which can be explored with a telephone keypad. You can refer to the compass with north, south, east and west. For the time being there are six areas with the themes of Allgemeines (general), Freizeit (leisure time), Flohmarkt (flee market), Poesie (poetry), Kritik (spekers corner) und Computer (computer).

The Audiobox is accessible 24 hours a day under +49-511-96 580.
The service is free of charge, the telephonecall is normal fees to Hannover, germany.

Service Area a.i.: Ars '94 / Manual / Audiobox / Map / Access / FTP

Audiobox manual

Telephone number: +49-511-96580
Audiobox needs touchtone. Most telephones can be set to touchtone by pressing -> * ->. You can also use the remote control of your answering machine.

General commands:

# = help
* = back

Navigation mode

2 = go
4 = turn left
6 = turn right
3 = go to conferences, batch conferences or sound depots

Private mailbox

7 = open mailbox

1 = go back one message
2 = listen to current message
3 = next message
4 = go to first maessage
5 = send voicemail to a user
6 = go to last message
8 = identify sender and time
9 = reply immediatly, can be interrupted with any key
speak message after request

Private features in mailbox:

7 = activate private features

1 = speak announcement
2 = change password
3 = new login
4 = lock mailbox
5 = unlock mailbox
6 = create mailing list
O = empty mailbox
* = put back in mailbox
* = close mailbox, back to navigation mode

Batch conferences

3 = enter conference

1 = press key before speaking the message, speak message, send with any key except 0
O = do not send message
4 = exclude one participant from conference. The decision must be made by three users. Exclusion is valid until the excluder leaves the conference
5 = how many people in this conference?
6 = whisper
7 = allow/disable whisper
* = leave conference

Sound depot

3 = enter sound depot

1 = go back one sound
2 = listen to latest sound
3 = go to next sound
4 = go to first sound
5 = record your own sound
6 = go to last sound
9 = answer dirctly to sound
0 = delete your own sound
* = leave sound depot

Information area

5 = enter information area

1 = where am I
2 = where are which users?
3 = where is a batch conference?
4 = where is a live conference?
5 = where are new sounds in sound depots?
6 = how many persons are in an area?
* = leave information area

User list

7 = open user list

1 = go back one step
2 = play again
3 = go forward one step
4 = beginning of list
6 = end of list
7 = select one user directly
* = information area

Service Area a.i.: Ars '94 / Manual / Audiobox / Map / Access / FTP


Service Area a.i. is accessable 24 hours a day. You can reach us either via Modem (14.400 bit/s V.42) or through the Internet.

Modem: +49-511-69 19 29

You need a special software to connect to the Service Area a.i.. You can get it as freeware from Ponton European Media Art Lab.

Download the software automatically via Modem: +49-511-39 16 44 or via FTP.

Service Area a.i.: Ars '94 / Manual / Audiobox / Map / Access / FTP


Copyright © Ponton European Media Art Lab 1995
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