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Monthly Archives: April 2009


dotsPaul Shen, Joana Ricou, Jet Townsend


Installation:  The installation is in a darkened area where 50-100 LEDs appear to float. The installation hangs from a suspended PVC square frame.When visitors observe from afar the installation will pulse in synchronicity. If a visitor approaches, they will disturb nearby LEDs. The lights will eventually synchronize again.

Still needed:

  • dimensions


Input: Presence of visitors.

Blackbox: The presence of visitors will disturb the pulsing pattern of nearby LEDs. Individual LEDs use consensus to synchronize their blinking. 

Output: an increasingly synchronized pulsing.




  • prototype of 13 LEDs
  • deliver sketch of algorithm
  • decide on appearance
  • decide on sensors: presence 
  • material list



  • PVC pipe + paint: lowe’s/home depot
  • conductive thread or wire: already have
  • 1 or more arduinos: already have
  • LED drivers / shift registers / multiplexors: already have
  • LEDs
  • PIR Sensor (



  • how many LEDs?
  • size of the external structure of the LEDs?
  • what will it do when no-one is close? (Can it reset itself?)
  • does it respond to motion or presence? Ie. will it re-synch if people stand close but still?
  • if someone stands close to an LED cluster could those stay on?


This installation consists of a modified task chair that turns to face children in the museum, but doesn’t turn to face adults. The idea behind the installation is to create a playful experience for the children as if they are in a world where normally inanimate objects “come alive” like in many children’s movies.

[Sue Ann, Patrick, Polo]

* Phase 1

Input (camera)/output (using screen output) code. A basic classifier.

A timeline:

* Phase2 (by 4/14 Tue):

– central mechanism built and mounted on backboard with arduino

– program arduino for servo and shredder control

– a more solid version of the base classifier

* Phase3 (by installation beginning date 4/21 Tue):

– adaptive code, display (5 best paintings) code

– build accepted box, a stand for the shredder, mount the camera, cover the central mechanism

– a “SUBMIT” button


This program clusters movies and genres together, based on some “seed” genres and movies that the user provides: the user can just pick one genre, or one movie, or a mix of genres and movies as seeds.

The user can find a movie or genre by using the prefix search tool (gray box at top left).

To pick an item, just drag it into a colored box (e.g., the yellow one at the bottom left).

Then, the clustering engine, based on the belief propagation, propagates the seeds’ relevance to its neighbors, and then the neighbors’ neighbors, and so on. The seed’s effect on other items diminishes as their distances from the seed increase.

We show the top 5 genres and top 30 movies that are most relevant to the seed items, using spring layout, which shows how the movies and genres are connected.

The visualization can be improved. For example, genres can be layout in a more meaningful way, using variations in colors, orientations, and compositions that reflect the theme formed by the genres.

I’m sorry I can’t post the code, because many packages are used and many files are written. Some of them are “research-ware” that cannot be released yet.

Examplesof Installations that relate to your projects

Nam June Paik – Buddha

Tony Oursler

Ken Rinaldo

Pipilotti Rist

Michael Naimark

Babbage ComputingMachine×535/10301732.jpg

Wim Delvoye – Cloaca

Tim Hawkinson

Theo Jansen

Helmut Smits.

David Rokeby

Gordan Pask


John Klima

Art+Com & Human Machine

Maywa Denki

robotic self destruct and self healing chair

Walking Chair

Golan Levin

art+com – deVisualizer

Damian Ortega

Here I’ve clustered 35 currencies, based on their change of exchange rate with respect to the Euro in the past 2 years.  Each cluster is represented as a gear, and the gears spin together, symbolizing kind of how the world economy spin together…. yeah… Visually there’s much more to be done. In particular, I’d like to give it a more dreary and factory-like look with “dirtier” grimier colors that are associated with both money and gears, grease/oil, both for the text and the background. It’s really way too happy right now given the current economic situation. The gears might also start rattling, seeming to fall apart, to reflect such sentiments. Also, I thought about using actually currency bills as opposed to the text I’m using now, though most people wouldn’t be able to tell which bill corresponds to which country. As we discussed in class, conceptually more exploration of how to represent and discover how the currencies affect each other might be interesting, though I think of currency exchange as a symptom of something with little causality between them. However there probably is a structure where the change in one currency’s value influence another currency’s… etc.


The code can be found here.

Shoe Prints

For my final proposal, I hope to create a piece that scans a user’s shoe print, classifies it as certain type of footwear, and then animates it on screen according to its characteristics. A person will step onto a platform which has a clear plexiglass top with a camera underneath. The piece will take a picture of the sole of the shoe and try to classify it. The following categories will be:
– Basketball/Athletic
– Running
– Skateboarding
– Casual

Based on its classification, the shoes will then be animated to interact in a projected space according to certain characteristics. For example, a person’s shoe print that is classified as a running shoe will start running around the perimeter of the screen and constantly be in motion. A skateboard shoe print will be placed onto a board shape and glide around, interweaving between other groups and generally disrupting the space. Basketball prints will be competitive and challenging other similarly classified prints. And so on.

This piece is strongly influenced by braitenberg vehicles, which try to make complex interactions through objects with simple rules.

For phase 1, I will create circles in Processing which exemplify each category and start to get an idea of how the interactions will take place. I will also start building the platform and calibrating the camera capture.