Connecting and sampling mouse clicks across the globe.
ICA London, solo screen-based exhibition, 2003.
Clicks was a downloadable networked application that provided an ambient connection to other people’s desktops by collecting and distributing desktop mouseclicks. Once collected, clicks were sent to a central server and each connected client is assigned a unique tone which is played in a physical location, creating an ambient sound installation as an indicator of computer activity and use on a global scale.
Clicks_LiveMixer allowed people to “hear” the incoming clicks and mix the sounds by changing pitch, tone, and duration of each note associated with the incoming clicks. Version 1.5 allowed for drag and drop of users into specific pitches and tone coordinates that assignd unique notes for each person connected.
Mouse clicks are ubiquitous elements of the modern computer GUI interface. A mouse still exists as the key device we communicate and interact with elements on screen. Our use of the mouse is so natural that we even forget we use it and without it our methods of computer interaction would change dramatically.
Clicks centered on this background activity of clicking. Specifically, it looked at everyday computer activities and how when shared, these actions can take on new meaning. From providing a window into computer usage in local communities (such as offices, homes, schools, or events) to global use as distributed over the Internet, Clicks created an ambient link between computer users within the desktop sphere. When multiple users were connected, their click total is added to the collected total and distributed to everyone connected.
Clicks was the fourth installment of my “Desktop Subversibles” theme which includes MouseMiles, ClipIt!, and MouseTraces. These projects allowed people to be aware of each other’s computer usage and to “get a feel” for what they are working on or thinking about in real-time. They are all focused on sharing the low-bandwidth information of everyday interaction.
The Clicks system worked as a downloadable application for both Mac and PC that is meant to run all day long in the background of your networked computer. Clicks recorded only your clicks (not where you are clicking), and relayed the tallied number to the server. Thus there was no security risk with using Clicks. On the physical side, users in the space could hear the sound collage and get a sense of how much activity was being registered on the network.