Archive for February 2010

BeatBearing and more electronics!

February 20, 2010

The title should probably be the other way around as I’m going to mention the electronics bit first.  I am really trying to figure out exactly what I’m going to need for my proto-typing for my next personal deadline. It’s dawning on me that this is way out of my comfort-zone. I don’t know where to start. However, I have come across some friendly and mostly helpful people so far and I’m hoping that will continue to be the case.

Leon Barker (PhD Student at SCIRIA) will be in uni again doing workshops in a couple of weeks on Arduino circuits and the like (I hope!). I have looked up bits of info randomly here and there about equipment and materials that I may need for AC lighting manipulation (which is really dangerous and so I’m slightly scared) and I’m also trying to find some pressure sensitive mats. The ones at Maplin seem to be very basic and have a switch for an open or closed circuit. This means there can only be two states and therefore two conditions for me to work with. I guess this could potentially do the trick depending on how I set up the lighting. An alternative is to project light on to my work instead of illuminating it from behind. I think both could work. Maybe I’ll need to use both anyway. But that’s another thing I won’t know till I’ve tried it.

I can’t believe how much there is to think about! I’ve had to stall on the sculptural aspects of the work for now as I fear the electronics will take much longer and is a higher hurdle. I did find some interesting acrylic materials but none of these would be suitable for what I need. I also found many steel.aluminum suppliers and cutters but they are very industrial based and so charge huge amounts for bulk amounts (can’t afford it and don’t need that much anyway).

So anyway while looking up these things I came across Peter Bennett’s work on YouTube. He is a PhD student at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queens University Belfast. His current work can be read about and viewed on this site: http://www.sarc.qub.ac.uk/~pbennett/index.htm But I really want you to see is this video which shows his BeatBearing project. You can figure out how it works just from watching:

The cool thing is Peter has used Arduino and Processing for BeatBearing and has made his code and methods available for others to re-construct and experiment with. More about this project can be read here: http://www.beatbearing.co.uk/index.html

And before I finish off this post here is another link to a video in which you can see Peter Bennett and Sean Toru’s Transparency in Digital Art installation. They’ve used processing as well as pressure sensitive mats to allow users to create and edit shapes projected onto the wall through their movement on the floor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyc-zMKeI70

Hmmm – lots to think about!

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Kinetica Art Fair 2010

February 15, 2010

If anyone went to the Kinetica Art Fair last week, I’m sure they would have been as excited as I was. One thing to note for next time – don’t stand still for too long as something will either wheel itself into you or will prod you in the back. Things were moving of their own accord (from all appearances). There were mobile-like metal structures that expanded (one of which nearly knocked me out) and there were glass and metal balls chasing each other or sticking to objects using magnets.

Most of the work required knowledge of electronics, engineering and many other hands-on crafting and technical skills to create.

Here are a few photos I took on the day (on my mobile so quality isn’t that great):

Kinetic sculpture by Hans Kooi

Kinetic sculpture by Hans Kooi

Kinetic sculptures by Hans Kooi

Kinetic sculptures by Hans Kooi

These sculptures looked amazing. Thin wire was used along with magnets both repelling and attracting pieces. This allowed for the work to look like it was floating in mid-air and also kept in place by invisible forces. It must have taken a lot of time and effort to get these as accurately placed as they were. For much better images and more of Hans Kooi’s kinetic sculptures have a look at his site: http://www.hanskooi.com/

Further sculptural work was exhibited by Davide Angheleddu who uses the laser sintering of nylon powder to create these beautiful sculptures of components from marine plankton:

Sculptures by Davide Angheleddu including Iris (the larger of the two)

Sculptures by Davide Angheleddu including Iris (the larger of the two)

Sculptures by Davide Angheleddu including Screw (far right)

Sculptures by Davide Angheleddu including Screw (far right)

For more images and information on Angheleddu’s work see his site: http://www.davideangheleddu.com/

An inspiring piece for me personally was the Moiresphere by Dianne Harris (founding director, and curator of Kinetica Museum). I tried to take photos that illustrated the construction of this piece and it actually looks more complicated in the images. There was a spinning object in the centre surrounded by mirrors on all sides including triangular shaped ones to fill the corners of the box in which it all sat. This created the illusion that there were many spinning parts and at some angles made it look like many more were to be found in hidden crevices.

Moiresphere by Dianne Harris

Looking in to the Moiresphere by Dianne Harris 2010

Moiresphere by Dianne Harris

Moiresphere by Dianne Harris

This reminded me of some of the other art works I have come across in the past that utilise the reflected kaleidoscope effect. It works every time and makes for a curiosity the audience is eager to explore and understand. I am hoping to get this kind of effect from my own work.

Another example of engaging the audience was apparent in many of the pieces where the visitor was encouraged and actually compelled to create the events. In the Hydro-Acoustic Big Bang Filter (below) you had to place your hand over a sensor in order to get the water in the tubes to rise and to create the sound. Here’s a quick explanation from their own site:

“The sound used in the installation is an audio manifestation of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB),widely believed by cosmologists and astrophysicists to be residual radiation from the Big Bang itself, some 14 Billion years ago.” (Excerpt from http://www.interactive-agents.com/kinetica_info.html)

The Hydro-Acoustic Big Bang Filter by Interactive-Agents, Robin McGinley

The Hydro-Acoustic Big Bang Filter by Interactive-Agents, Robin McGinley

Another piece which has been photographed and used a lot for the show catalogue as well as on the web site is the Homos Luminosos by Rosaline de Thelin. This was created using many fibre-optic wires which were scratched in order to have the light catch at different points within the wire. These were then placed together to create the outline of a human figure. Her work is made up of three of these figures hung to look like supernatural spirits floating just above the ground.

Homos Luminosos by Rosaline de Thelin

Homos Luminosos by Rosaline de Thelin

There were also some very simple constructions tht were very eye-catching. Liquid Athletes was designed and created by Nimra Javaid along with a group of students from Thames Valley University.

Liquid Athletes by Nimra Javaid

Liquid Athletes by Nimra Javaid

It was created using overhead projectors (the kind we used to have at school before the latest ones were installed), coloured plastic, and some tubing to allow for the water to be dropped into bowls in time to a human heart rate.

A really cool thing about the Kinetica Art Fair was that the artists were mostly around, either keeping people interacting with their work, demonstrating it, or just ready to answer any questions. One of these friendly artists was Hugh Turvey who was very willing to speak about his work, future project plans and eager for feedback too.

Various pieces by Hugh Turvey

Various pieces by Hugh Turvey

More photography by Hugh Turvey

More photography by Hugh Turvey

The added touch of colour to Turvey’s X-ray photography provides the element of heat or energy inside the objects indicating either movement and growth. It works well in plants, human body parts as well as mechanical objects like the motorbike which can be viewed on his site: http://www.gustoimages.com/portfolio/x-ray/

My final image is of Waves by Paul Friedlander. He’s widely known for his work producing Kinetic light sculptures created with a knowledge of physics. I’m not going to even attempt to summarise this so please have a look at his site where you can find a wealth of information and examples of his work: http://www.paulfriedlander.com/

Waves by Paul Friedlander

Waves by Paul Friedlander

The above image came out quite nicely but will never do justice to the live movement of the waves which you’ll have to try and see for yourself at one of his next events. The colours are beautiful and set against the dark background with minimal lighting really help them to stand out. They looked almost like spinning ropes twining around each other but never becoming tangled. ‘Mesmerizing’ would be the best word to describe it.

I came out of the fair with a real buzz 🙂