Breaking the Ice

Breaking the Ice is an artistic telepresence installation, with the goal of connecting individuals across cold wintery climates. Originally commissioned for the CODE Live festival, as part of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the station allowed visitors in Montreal to experience the Olympic atmosphere from thousands of kilometers away.

As participants approach the custom designed kiosk, they encounter an icy window that shows their frozen counterpart on the other side of the country. Through this audiovisual link, participants can connect with potential game partners and proceed to play, using a human size touchscreen. A frosty layer can be removed by virtually melting the surface between the users, revealing live video transmission from the other city. Users can play in this icy atmosphere, drawing in the ice, using snowflakes to re-freeze the scene, or just talk about the weather. The ice can also break completely, requiring participants to piece together the shattered fragments. Through one of the fastest internet lines in the world, and real-time audio/video streaming, this game lets audience across the continent literally ‘break the ice’

Additional Material:


Art Direction, Concept: Paul Warne
Director of Production: Louis-Philippe St-Arnaud
Software Development: Mike Wozniewski
Insdustrial Design: Sébastien Dallaire
Shader Development: Louis Bouchard
Network Infrastructure, System Administration: Simon Piette, Philippe Chevry
Sound Design: Andrew Kozloski
Camera integration, Streaming: Tristan Matthews
Vancouver Team: Dominic St-Amant, Guillaume Bourassa

Produced by:

Society for Arts and Technology [SAT]