The Klangwolken ABC was initiated as a social participation project, focusing on “character” in the age of networks, constituting one of the core programs at the voestalpine Klangwolke 2012. People create their own characters to interact with radio frequencies at the event – a huge galaxy of characters meeting at the Danube shoreline.

In Klangwolken ABC workshops, people construct their own alphabet characters and add a receiver and LED kit to link to the Klangwolken event itself. They select a character, assemble it, and personalize it in creative ways. Literally, every single person/character creates a unique character. The character created in the workshop is recorded in an image database and becomes part of the Klangwolke Font. In addition, the participants joinCharakterBook, an online service that works like a micro-facebook, enabling people to browse for other characters created by other participants, to create messages ant to take social action. The individual characters created by the participants become words or messages through communicating and collaborating with each other. In the Klangwolken ABC, we collect messages as combinations of characters with characters – people with people.

On the day of the Klangwolken event, Klangwolken ABC Parades took place in the city of Linz. Additionally, a multitude of characters gathered along the Danube River at sunset. Responding to sound, to radio signals for individual characters and messages in groups, the LEDs lit up. Klangwolken ABC not only shows mere character information, but also leads to actual tangible actions by people; moreover, people create their own shared “now”.

(Excerpt from “Klangwolken ABC” by Hideaki Ogawa and Emiko Ogawa, in: “The Big Picture. Weltbilder für die Zukunft. Ars Electronica 2012,” S. 242-253.)