Press Play – Xuzhou
Tutors: William Bondin, Lin (Charlie) Zhang, Schichong Li, Sun Tong (Host)
Location: China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT), Xuzhou, China
We’ve just finished the first workshop from the ‘Press Play’ series for 2016, this time in Jiangsu Province, China. The workshop was hosted by the art and design department at the China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT), and we developed ten projects with 90 participants. I want to say a very big and sincere thanks to Charlie and Chongchong for simultaneously teaching, translating and coordinating the workshop. So here’s an overview of the results from the workshop:
Starry Sky – a reactive installation which highlights the memory of occupying a space. The installation is composed of two parts – 1. an array of ultrasonic range finders and LED strips; and 2. a free-form plastic-cup surface inspired by catenary geometry. The sensor-array is used to record people’s position underneath the plastic-cup surface, which is then stored on a microcontroller. These patterns of occupation are then played-back overtime, as a form of light performance.
Cloudscape – Imagine a world where every single person walks around with a cloud of balloons, with each balloon storing and displaying information about their intents and desires. Using this hypothetical scenario, the students explored wearable computing as an alternative soft-interface for social communication.
Bloom – a kinetic sculpture which opens-up when someone approaches it. The mechanism is inspired by one of our all-time favourite books: 507 Mechanical Movements.
Listen!: An Anthropomorphic Wall – a pixel array project composed of nine mouth-like origami structures. Each unit is equipped with an USRF sensor and a servo, which will change state if an object is detected within its’ range.
Composite Membranes – a composite surface made from flexible ‘soft’ fabric and ‘hard’ laser-cut fibreboard. The surface is actuated by 21 rack-and-pinion mechanisms, driven by servos.
Clockwork – a machine which draws time-based marks when a person approaches it. A gel-pen is held at the end of a rack and pinion mechanism, which in turn is mounted on a stepper motor. When a visitor approaches the ‘clock’, the arm rotates to display the seconds while the pen travels linearly to display the minutes. Over time, a drawing is generated based on people’s interaction with the machine over the course of an hour.
Phrase Generator – an electromechanical phrase generator made from bespoke paper belts and laser-cut sprockets. Twelve chinese logograms were laser-cut onto a paper-belt and lit from behind, while an encoder ensured that the projected logogram was inline with the light source. A push-switch randomises the two logograms when pressed, to generate a random phrase.
Breathe – a reactive sculpture inspired by the puffer-fish. The geodesic sphere structure houses a number of inflatable modules, constructed out of recycled computer fans and plastic gloves. When a visitor approaches the structure, the modules inflate.
Maze – a digitally controlled version of the classic ‘wood labyrinth’ game. Four players need to co-operate to complete a maze puzzle.
Pulse – a reactive machine which deconstructs and reconstructs a heart-like cloud.
It is always a great pleasure teaching hard-working and creative students. Now off for a short stay in Beijing before we all return back to base.