‘Hello, world!’ is a real installation for the virtual globe of Google Earth, made by German media designer Bernd Hopfengärtner. In May 2006 he created a huge semacode measuring of 160 by 160 meters and consisting of 324 bright and dark squares in a wheat field near the town of Ilmenau, Germany. The code produces the classic phrase ‘Hello, world!’ when it is decoded. “The ambition was to have an aereal view of the code integrated in Google Earths’ regular database”, Hopfengärtner explains.
“The semacode is a visual code that codes character strings (just like the QR code, J.B.). It was planned to graphically code weblinks. The thus extracted pixel graphics can, for example, be retranslated from camera mobiles into URLs. With ‘Hello, world!’ the code serves as a kind of branding of a digital culture whose omnipresence is obvious, yet whose modes of action are unknown in wide parts of society.”
On the website of this great landscaping project, Hopfengärtner provides a KMZ file to see an areal view overlayed in Google Earth. Click here for a photo set on Flickr about the realization of ‘Hello, world!’.