Counting Door (2009) – the door that keeps track of its “users”. It is a physical interpretation of the unique visitor counter used by website stats applications.

Counting Door – the door that keeps track of its “users”.
Portrait of Counting Door, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, 2009, Julijonas Urbonas.
 
Photography: Aistė Valiūtė and Daumantas Plechavičius.

Counting Door is a physical interpretation of the virtual counter. A modified video camera installed in the doorway of the Contemporary Art Centre was tracking the number of unique visitors with the help of a face recognition system widely used in today’s CCTV surveillance systems. A computer-simulated voice informed each entering visitor how many times the latter had come through the art centre’s door. Unlike in analogous institutionalised internal-use systems, the unique number is disclosed here, thus the data generated by the facetracking “peephole” is open to personal interpretation and digital voyeurism.

 

Website stats applications widely use the unique visitor counter, which tracks the number of every user’s visits to the website over a certain period of time. This indicator is used to measure the real size of a website’s audience, referred to as reach elsewhere. For instance, in advertising it expresses the concentration of a chosen advertising medium’s audience.

This indicator’s counterpart in the physical space – the door – can also track a physical environment’s community and measure the “reach” of the former. Access (or right to access) can reflect a visitor’s belonging to the building’s audience, but it also defines the “outside community”. The door invites and rejects, bonds and separates at the same time.

Counting_Door_[face_recognition_module]
Face recognition module of Counting Door, 2009, Julijonas Urbonas.
 
Photography: Aistė Valiūtė and Daumantas Plechavičius.

The installation was created in 2009 in Vilnius, Lithuania, as a part of the larger project, Talking Doors, which was supported by the national program “Vilnius European Cultural Capital 2009.” The project won a number of awards, one of which was Distinction in the Interactive Art category of Prix Ars Electronica 2010.

 

Concept and design: Julijonas Urbonas
Electronics: Julijonas Urbonas
Programming: Andrius Mikonis, LTD "Neurotechnologija"
Photography: Aistė Valiūtė and Daumantas Plechavičius