Sunday, April 19, 2009

For my Senior Project I am thinking about doing a project with physical computing. I really enjoy it and I think it is the perfect bridge between the disciplines of computer science and art (my majors). I am taking a seminar for the comp. sci. department to prepare for my senior project. I have been looking for some good sources on physical computing and in my search I found some really cool sites to check out:

Tom Igoe is a professor at ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program - the first graduate education program in alternative media). He teaches classes on physical computing and his website is a wealth of knowledge for beginner physical computers. I would also recommend checking out his blog. Through is website I found a list of really cool physical computing projects that I went to check out.

Arthur Ganson: He has some of the coolest looking moving sculptures. Here are some of my favorite sculptures:

(1) Untitled Fragile Machine (click to see video): "Long before making sculpture I dreamed of being a surgeon. The challenge of working so carefully with my hands was satisfied by the creation of very fragile machines. A machine with no utilitarian purpose, this is as close to drawing or painting as I can get. After giving myself a starting point, the machine grew organically. The actions and movement of parts are meaningfully trivial." - Arthur Ganson

(2)Tinguely in Moscow: "An homage to Jean Tinguely, the foremost Swiss kinetic sculptor and my primary spiritual artistic mentor. While posing for the camera in Red Square in Moscow, wind produced by a tiny fan blows Mr. Tinguely's tie. Mechanical air baffles, also powered by the fan, move up and down to cause differing amounts of air to deflect the linkage that moves the tie" - Arthur Ganson

Dan Goods: is an artist with an unusual job at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. He helps researchers communicate their work to the general public.eCloud: Commission for a data driven sculpture for the new concourse of the San Jose International Airport. The eCloud is a dynamic sculpture inspired by the volume and behavior of an idealized cloud. This sculpture consists of hundreds of small square panels of electrically switchable laminated plexiglass, that perform as pixels. This material has the ability to progressively graduate opacities with the transmission of an electrical charge: when in neutral, the panel is opaque and when sent an electronic charge the material transitions to visually transparent. The pixels are arranged to simulate a disperse cloud suspended from the concourse ceiling structure. The animations that move through eCloud are based on weather data changes. Unique animations are displayed through the sculpture as guided by the weather at different airports that might be flying in and out of the concourse.

Ned Kahn: I have been looking at this guy's website for a while now and I can't even pick which of his projects to put up. All of his projects are on such a large scale. I recommend checking out his portfolio and just spend time looking at his projects. I'll just give you a preview to what some of his work looks like....

(1) Wind Leaves: Milwaukee Waterfront, Milwaukee, WI. 2006. A series of 7, 30’ tall, aluminum and stainless structures that turn in the wind and serve as a symbolic hinge between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the new Discovery World / Pier Wisconsin complex. The surfaces of the sculptures are covered by thousands of small stainless steel disks that ripple in the wind. Ball bearings in the support columns allow the sculptures to rotate and reveal the direction of the wind. Hand wheels on the support columns also let viewers turn the the sculptures and interact with the artwork. The columns are surrounded by a series of benches that can be played like a xylophone and a musical instrument that is played by dropping pebbles through a matrix of stainless steel nails.
(2) Tornado: World Financial Center, Battery Park City, New York, New York. 1990. A 10-foot tall vortex is formed by air blowers and an ultrasonic fog machine inside a sculpture installed in the atrium adjacent to the Winter Garden. The vortex continually changed shape in response to the surrounding air currents.These fluctuations gave the vortex an erratic and life-like appearance. Viewers were encouraged to alter the shape of the vortex with their hands. The calm, central core of the vortex is clearly evident.
(3) Wind Silos
: International Trade Center, Charlotte, North Carolina. 2006. An 80’ tall by 450’ long facade of a parking structure was covered with a series of undulating metal screens evocative of grain silos. The corrugated and perforated stainless steel screens that form the silo structures were designed to allow ventilation of the parking structure while creating a visual screen. A 16’ tall band, composed of thousands of wind-activated, 6-inch diameter stainless steel disks, runs the entire length of the facade, rising and falling with the contours of the silos. The polished surfaces of the disks capture the colors of the sky and sunlight.

Ned Kahn presents projects both in scientific settings and in art contexts. By occupying these cultural arenas simultaneously, his work and his ideas are interpreted within separate discourses – as educational, scientific demonstrations or as aesthetic objects. Asked whether his work is more science or art, he replies, "…they're definitely not scientific experiments, because they're often much more uncontrolled and complicated… On the other hand, they're not really artworks in the traditional sense… In the things that I make, even though I've created the physical structure, it's really not me that's doing the sculpting"

Through interactive exhibitions, public programs, experimental projects and its renown collections, the MIT Museum showcases the fascinating world of MIT, and inspires people of all ages about the possibilities and opportunities offered by science and technology.
I recomend checking out the different exhibitions!

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