Monday, April 13, 2009


I have not blogged in a long time.... I actually don't really use my google account that often so I sometimes forget I have this blog. Last term I took the Processed Pixel where I learned how to program in Processing. Currently I am enrolled in Physical Computing.

Course Description: Through the application of basic electronics and mechanical techniques and the use of the programmable micro-controller Arduino this course will explore and control interactive artworks, kinetic sculpture, robotic art, sound works, light art, and performance environments.

Although I did some work last term with Physical Computing, the subject is fairly new to me. I really wanted to take this class because it's my Professor's (Fernando Orellana) specialty. I figured I would check out some of his art work before looking into the art work of other artists seeing as how I will be learning this stuff from him.

I visited Elevator Music last year at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Spring, NY. This was my first introduction to Physical Computing.

Fernando's Description:
The site-specific installation “Elevator’s Music”, visits the topic of synthetic creatures becoming sentient. Hidden within the translucent ceiling panels of an elevator are installed four servo-driven mechanisms. Controlled by microprocessors and networked together, each robot includes a small speaker for sound output, a microphone and sonic sensorial input, and is designed with three axes of rotational freedom. Through this design, the mechanisms act as the vocal cords, the eardrums, and the appendages of the elevator. Additionally, each robot can individually "emerge" from within the elevator's interior by opening a sliding door in the ceiling.

At times some robots will hide within the safety of the elevators
ceiling, perhaps responding to passengers that are too loud or too active. During moments of relative inactivity, the robots might all come out of their shells, displaying emergent behavioral patterns driven by the echoes, whispers, murmurs, and motions of the elevator’s passengers.

In class we watched a video about Bjoern Schuelke. I wasn't too interested in some of his art, but I wanted to take my own look at his website because I think he has a very advanced understanding of Physical Computing which is evident in his work.
I thought this piece was very interesting. It is called the Simulator.

Bjoern's Description: The Simulator works like an automatic machine. The speed and the position of the puppets are continuously changing.The system starts with the movement, speeding up, the running direction of the puppets is changing........Picking up speed, the system is generating a floating movement of the static puppets.

A Videocamera is replacing the human eye. It is rotating inside a stroboscopic drum. Both move in opposite directions. When the system starts, it looks as if the puppets are running through the surrounding space.The System is generating a floating movement of the static puppets.

Looking through the list of physical computing artists Fernando gave us, I was drawn many of the piece by Amy Youngs. I find her work very visually pleasing. Here are a list of some of my favorites:

Hydroponic Solar Garden: This installation is a collaborative project with Ken Rinaldo that resulted from discussions about indoor, sustainable gardens. It is our hope that such systems could become alternatives to purchasing vegetables that have been grown on petroleum-powered farms and trucked to grocery stores (produce purchased in the US travels an average of 1,500 miles from farm to fork). This hanging hydroponic garden also serves as a sculptural, indoor waterfall. A solar pump raises the water when the sun shines, allowing aeration, circulation of nutrients and the sound of trickling water. The glass containers are designed to offer a view of the complex root structures of plants; an important element we normally do not get a chance to see.

I found this piece intersting because I live in the Environmentally themed house at my school and I always like seeing art work with a positive environmental message. These pieces were made from hand blown glass vessels, live plants, water and a solar powered pump. I think its pretty undeniably beautiful.

Exquisite Bodies: This piece is still a work in progress so there was no explination but I wanted to include it because it was the first piece that caught my attention.

MAKE MAGAZINE: I find this magazine really cool because it shows how every one can create some type of physical computing artwork with objects around the house. Its an aw

esome resource for anyone who loves to do do-it-yourself projects. I leave this website for you to explore!

1 comment:

Eric Hancock said...

Very cool. I would have shot up to Skidmore to see Elevator Music, had I known it was there.