Unknown Territories: Searching for Islands

Is part of an explorational series on haptic search engines. With its help, one can haptically explore our earths islands in real-time.

How does one find a place of which you don't know if it exists? When looking for information online, you are probably most familiar with finding such using a search engine. But the search is only as successful as you make it. It largely relies on how much you already know beforehand. The project marks an exploration into search engines that are not limited by language and into finding information without prior knowledge.

Most of our evolutionary history has been spent in nature, resulting in an innate love of natural settings. Humans also have a compulsion to leave tracks across this earth and discovering previously unknown places offers the possibility of making a mark on history. A land surrounded by water is perceived as the perfect place for utopian experiments and paradise on earth.

With our haptic search engine, we are giving users the opportunity to shape landmasses like a god. While shaping the sand, a camera captures the outlines of the given body, matching it in realtime with 75,000 satellite images of islands all over the planet. As you transform the shape, the machine doesn't stop comparing, constantly returning its findings in realtime.

To me, this project is also an answer to the popular artificial generation of digital environments and images. If we have the right tools and approaches, we will realize that our physical reality holds everything we need and that we can find it, if we just look close enough.

So find your perfect holiday setting, the island of your dreams.



Steel, acrylic glass, 5mW lasers, sand


July 2019


Berlin, DE, 2022

Neuköllner Kunstpreis Exhibition - Gallerie am Saalbau

Stuttgart, DE, 2021

Exhibited at the 34. Stuttgarter Filmwinter - Festival for Expanded Media

Braga, PT, 2020

Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães as the winner of the Semibreve Award 2020.

Hamburg, DE, 2020

Exhibited at the Future Playground of the Reeperbahnfestival.

Berlin, DE, 2020

Shown at Silent Green for the Strange Things exhibition.