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Press Play: Workshop Malta

It has been an absolute pleasure working with Chris and Francois in delivering an intensive two week ‘Interaction Design’ workshop at Valletta (Malta) during EASA 2015. Working with 14 young and talented architecture students from all across Europe – in 42deg.C and the occasional freak rainstorm –  we developed three projects which address the EASA community through interactive installations.

The first project – Sn[e]ake[y] – is a flexible snake-like robot controlled by servos which can deliver a burst of fresh water when in close proximity to an observer. Inspired by Minimaforms’ Petting Zoo and Festo’s Bionic Handling Assistant, Sneakey the snake encourages observers to compete for its attention.

Another project from the workshop was ‘The Gibberish Machine’, which draws inspiration from the multi-lingual nature of EASA and the lack of a singular official language. The team behind the work started from the question: What can result from the abstraction of language, if meaning is omitted?. The Gibberish Machine is a fabric-clad cube which generates random text in random languages, when prodded. The un-contextual and grammatically incorrect sentences did provide some comic relief, my favourite being: Cucumber rubs bridge.

Finally was ‘Bar Network’ –  a social game which aims to initiate conversations between random people within the EASA network. EASA-ians were given a necklace with an etched symbol on one side and half a QR-code on the back. Each symbol formed part of a pair and the participants had to find their ‘other half’ in order to get a full QR-code. A drink dispensing machine – which used a webcam hooked up to Processing and an Arduino to control a solenoid valve – would check the QR code and dispense two shots of alcohol. These will serve to start a conversation between the two, newly formed, friends.

EASA is always a brilliant opportunity to meet creative talent and colleagues from around Europe. We made lots of new friends, which we hope to see again in Lithuania next year!

Finally I would like to thank everyone involved in delivering the workshop, in particular:

William Victor Camilleri (IAL) – for helping out with technical teaching
Kris Camilleri – for developing the software for ‘The Gibberish Machine’
fablab Valletta – for their continuous support throughout the workshop in digital fabrication
EASA Malta – for enabling such an event
Architecture Project (AP) – for providing their space and resources
Onion Workshop – for collaborating on ‘The Gibberish Machine’
the critics who provided valuable opinions during the development, the people of Valletta who were sympathetic with our late night working hours, and all the friends who helped us carrying stuff around.

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