COLLISIONcollective

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*                        For engineers that moonlight as artists and artists that moonlight as engineers                                         *
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TRANS-ELEMENTAL / Mixed Reality Installation

Aluminum stand, metal box, micro-controller with DC motors and servo, wind chime, video projector, computer
Artwork by collisi1

Can natural elements from a virtual reality take solid form and exist in our physical reality? Can virtual particles affect real world molecules?

This project is a mixed reality installation in which the wind of Second Life is used to move a windchime in real physical space. The virtual wind’s direction and speed are the variables that determine the device’s functionality in real time. This work creates a parallel between these two realities (virtual and physical), showing how they relate and interact with each other, creating a portal from one world to the other.

See video

String Theory

Aluminum, electronics, motor
2012
Artwork by [user-name]
Artwork by [user-name]

String Theory is a kinetic-sound-sculpture that incorporates guitar strings and viewer interaction into an abstract physical form. The conceptual basis for the piece is a loose reference to string theory as the main mechanism simultaneously plucks four of the same type string of a six string guitar thus generally referring to different quantum states of particles and their respective vibrations.

The top section of the piece has a motor driven mechanism that plucks guitar strings. This will be influenced by viewer interactions through the use of a control panel. There will also be light sensors that will be connected to a micro controller, which will use the values of the light sensors to dictate the rotation of the mechanism to change the notes produced by the piece - it will switch directions and speeds based on this information. The ‘music’ that the sculpture produces will be somewhat chaotic, which can be influenced by viewer participation. When no viewer is directly influencing the sequence (by interacting with the control panel), the piece will use the previous values of other participants and randomize those values into a new sequence along with the light value readings.

Wonder

proximity sensor, 54 servo motors, Arduino microprocessor, MDF panel, acrylic, house paint, spray paint, ink and graphite
2011
Artwork by [user-name]
Artwork by [user-name]
Artwork by [user-name]

Wonder (2011) is an interactive, kinetic sculpture that is brought to life by the movement of others. From a distance, the white dots appear to be a constellation, and the work remains static. As a person approaches, the motors suddenly come to life and the dots slowly coalesce to spell the word 'wonder'. However, much like a pointillist painting, the word is illegible when viewed up close. Because of that, it ideally requires two or more people to participate. The person approaching or ‘wondering’ becomes the artist/performer, physically bringing the work to fruition with their movements. Onlookers are given the ability to see the ‘wonder’ in the making, both literally and metaphorically. The typically passive act of looking becomes a physically active performance, and people in the vicinity are able to watch and be entertained by the spectacle of it. It is the sculpture's playful nature that really interests me. Whether or not viewers ever discover the word ‘wonder’ within the work is not important. Meaning is constructed and elaborated collectively, through a shared and hopefully memorable experience. 

Wonderlust

Polymer clay, acrylic mirror, acrylic panels, proximity detectors, LEDs, pager motors, ultrasonic water foggers, H0 scale figures
2012
Wonderlust
Wonderlust - detail

Wonderlust is a glittering, mysterious, miniature cavern. The floor of the cavern is colonised by vague organic shapes shrouded in a gently moving mist. From the ceiling of the cavern hang a cluster of immaculate mirrored rectangular bars of varying lengths. Bright lights shine shine up from the floor but are dimmed by the mists. Visitors notice the resemblance of the suspended bars to data representations like histograms. The column lengths suggest a measurement of an aspect of the shapes found directly below them. As visitors approach the piece, their curious examination triggers movement of tiny observers contemplating their environment. As they spin, the observers kick up the mists both hiding and revealing aspects of the cavern.

The piece suggests a dialog between Nature and one of the ways in which we attempt to understand it - scientific study. Do we diminish the subject by reducing it to numbers? Does the abstraction really reveal anything more? Is wonder lost or gained when we try to satisfy our curiosities?

This piece is part of a series of works I have made exploring the value we place in scientific discovery and what consequences such reverence might have for making progress - either in deepening and elaborating a paradigm or shifting to a new one. Previous works show data and models rendered either verbatim or abstractly in gild, glitter and rhinestones while all other explanatory information is lost.

Undulum

cast acrylic, wood, aluminum, neoprene foam, motor, phenolic laminate, steel
2011
Artwork by [user-name]

I’ve long been fascinated with the segmented structures of larvae and of spinal forms and their ability to express elegant motion through waveforms and writhing. Undulum is the first attempt in a series of sculptures under development inspired by sinuous motion in nature.

The mechanism of Undulum is deceptively simple and consists of a helically shaped rod that rotates within a flexible sheath, which in turn is anchored. A second, outer, sheath is built of translucent acrylic shapes held apart by preloaded flexible foam spacers and is also anchored. As the rod rotates within the core of the sculpture, the outer sheath rides the convolutions of the inner sheath as it contorts to follow the changing shape of the rod within.

See video

Spring

Wood, aluminum, Formica, Garolite, brass, mechanical components, motor
Artwork by [user-name]

Originally inspired by looking at ferns on a walk in the woods, "Spring" is a mechanical abstraction of the same unfurling action that occurs in fiddleheads. The title is a double-entendre referring also to the coiled spring-like shape that the sculpture assumes. In fact, in an earlier version of this piece, there was a coiled spring incorporated into the mechanism.
Spring is the time of year most associated with hope and ebullience of spirit. I wanted to tap into that spirit and create a piece that embodies the gesture of reaching toward the light, in the sense of both offering and receiving. In the calculation of the relationships in the spiral the "golden ratio" was used, resulting in a spiral that is found in many natural forms as they grow. I believe that what in mathematical terms expresses balance and efficiency, by moral extension and cultural expression becomes the universal golden rule of human behavior. Spring is the part of us that aspires to unfold the golden rule in our interpersonal relationships and which is embodied in the gesture of reaching outward toward each other and upward against the drag of negative social pressures.
Ultimately, Spring is forward looking, but acknowledges the cyclical nature of optimism. It is also meant to remind us that optimism and patience go together.

Annosphere

Mahogany, brass, handmade paper, LED, electric motor
2009
Artwork by [user-name]

The annosphere is a tabletop model, designed in the style of a 19th century scientific instrument, that demonstrates the planet's daily and seasonal changes in sunlight.
With the annosphere, you can see why our days are long in the summer and short in the winter. The annosphere can be adjusted to show the changing sunlight everywhere from the north pole, where a day lasts for six months, to the equator, where day and night are equal throughout the year.
The annosphere is also a timepiece, like a sundial, telling time with a moving shadow . Unlike a sundial, the annosphere can be speeded up, showing a day's changes in sunlight in just four minutes.

Mechanical Universe, Part I: The Pastoral

Oil paint on wood, aluminum (steel brackets), motors, solar panels, wire, electronics
2008
Artwork by [user-name]

Mechanical Universe originally was created for the Boston Cyberarts Festival and shown as part of the 2007 festival at TransCultural Exchange: Punzo shipped his cyber insects to the Boston, where I created their ‘living spaces’ - part irreverent homage to Donald Judd; part reverent homage to Jean Tinguely and Alexander Calder. But pure Punzo and Sherman.
Each 'box' is a collage of highly textured paint and polished aluminum.
At the push of a button, the doors open at staggered intervals, revealing a host of musical 'cyber insects,' before slamming close. The individual 'boxes' also can be re-configured to respond to the architecture of the space in which the piece is exhibited. The idea is to create an up-dated, modular version of the 17th century Italian pastoral by way of the 21st century
Special thanks to George Bossarte for electronic/programming help; and Nexus Machine Shop and Gallery for use of the shop

One Small Step

Moon globe, child’s moon-boots, plastic, metal foils, light blue paint, Qwerk robot controller, motors, sensors, misc. additional mechatronic components.
2009
Artwork by [user-name]

A moon globe sits in a stand on the floor of the gallery near the wall. A mechanical structure attached to the gallery wall supports a child’s moon-boot above the globe by two thin cables each of which is controlled by a winch motor. Movements of the winch motors puppet the boot to perform a walking motion with a bounce like that of the Apollo astronauts as they explored the moon’s surface. A small toy satellite dish is gimbal-mounted above the boot mechanism so that two additional motors can make it peer in different directions around the gallery. It sweeps the gallery looking for “life” which in this case equates to anything that interrupts the beam of its low-end IR range-finder, including occasionally itself. A third motor on the boot turns the winch assembly so
that the boot can “walk” in different compass direction depending on where the satellite dish indicates it should search. “One Small Step” is a simple robot that quixotically “believes” it is living every robot’s dream: to go to other celestial bodies and look for life.

FaceLifter

Acrylic modeling resin, foam board, wood, steel, servo motor, micro-controller, custom software, webcam, video projectors
2009
Artwork by [user-name]

FaceLifter is an interactive video installation that allows the viewer to see his/her face projected on a 3d mask. The mask is mechanically raised and lowered to allow the viewer to see him/herself eye-to-eye.
An outline of shoes marks the spot on the floor where the viewer can get a closer look at FaceLifter (and FaceLifter can get a closer look at the viewer). The viewer's faces is illuminated by lights mounted on the column. A web camera mounted above the mask captures the viewer's image, which is algorithmically identified and processed with a hidden computer.
The mask, rendered in white acrylic resin, is mounted on the surface of a column attached to vertical rails. A computer controlled motor inside the column lifts the mask to the height of the viewer.
A video stream of the face is projected via two ceiling-mounted projectors. The projectors are mounted diagonally to allow the viewer to get close to the mask without casting a shadow. The images are adjusted vertically by the computer to track with the mask.
The overall effect of the installation is to allow the viewers to see themselves as they appear to others.
The face finding algorithm is by Philip Abbet, from the IDIAP Research Institute, in Valais, Switzerland.
Thanks to Jennifer Lim, Vivien Leone, and William Tremblay.

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