InfoBreath (image above, video below) by Christopher Robbins is one of many works (what have become known as clients) produced which use Carnivore to collect internet traffic data which is then visualised. While many other works fulfill this visualisation role in diverse and interesting ways, InfoBreath provides a scenario where the invisible effect of physical interaction, breathing causing the movement of air, provokes the appearance of what is usually invisible in the virtual, the flow of data.
the participant is presented with a cybernetic flower arcing from a frosted pane of glass. Rigged with a breath sensor and connected to Carnivore, an internet packet sniffer, the flower is cued in to the wireless network flowing in the space immediately surrounding it. Breathing on the plant triggers a flurry of text that makes visible the wireless internet traffic passing through the air around the viewer…This project imagines a world in which the carbon dioxide we exhale carries comprehensible information, and envisions the transfer of carbon dioxide to oxygen within a plant as a transfer of information: an information ecosystem. It imagines the plant, buffeted by streams of wireless data, sifting through those pings and packets for the few elements sent from one human to another, and reflecting those living packets of internet data back to us, in an elemental attempt at communication.