Saturday, May 31, 2014

INDN 311: Glass Lensing

To create the new lens, I looked online first. I know that lenses are exceedingly hard to make unless you have an extensive set of tools and expertise. I was tempted to use the skills available to me through the glass blower again, but I thought that that might end up being too expensive (especially since I had already spent a fair amount on the project thus far).

An initial idea that I settled on was to use a convex lens, since this would seek to magnify the output of light, most likely flipping the orientation of the image before it reached the ceiling. Thus, I decided to scrap the notion of having it project a more defined image onto the ceiling. Now I just want to make the phone abstractly project colour washes and slight movement onto the ceiling, in order to create ambient "mood" lighting.

I found this concave lens on the internet for very little money. The reason I'm not looking at convex lenses is so that I can actually disperse the light from the screen further. The resultant effect I want to achieve involves not focussing the light, ergo why I decided a concave lens would work better. The spread of the light would enable the iPhone to provide a larger coverage area.

To minimise vibrations from the phone transmitting to the table in the form of noise, the user can place down the wool mat, intended to provide juxtaposition with the pure and clean form of the phone and lens. I actually went back and re-cut the wool mat, as the first version of it just wasn't the best size. It was a little bit too minimal and not particularly generous.

One of the problems with laser cutting the wool is that it ends up stinking, due to the burnt wool and the burnt oils that are present in wool. And I mean you can't go within two meters of the darn thing without getting a bad stench from it. To resolve this I've used washing powder and then washed it by hand in a sink with cold water, in order to prevent shrinking. Interestingly it ended up stretching, but this pretty much ended up mostly being due to the fact that I was washing it in quite an aggressive way, squeezing and squashing the wool mat.

Friday, May 30, 2014

MDDN 314: Behind The Scenes - analog X digital

Originally intended as the final video, this video captures some of the more Behind-The-Scenes sort of footage. I actually really enjoyed the style of this video more than the final video, but unfortunately, you have to please the judges and the brief sometimes, especially when you have time to actually do so. Being nearly finished with the project more than a week in advance has it's benefits in that regard. At least I actually got the time to make adjustments prior to hand-in, rather than finding out later that I missed the mark.

The reception of the video was good but not amazing. That's fine though, because I can easily build on that from here. I really want to build on the notion of the project being something that dominates the video, rather than just a player in the video.

Some of the production photos that my flatmate Michael got were really good too. This one is interesting, because the light coming off the reflection of the underside of the projection table isn't from the code running, but rather the light behaving weirdly from a mostly white projection. Strange stuff.

Testing and playing with the interactivity of the projection is a lot of fun. I don't know whether to build the project beyond here into something that is completely interactive or leave it as it is, relying off the soundtrack I designed.

The projection turned out really well because of the beauty it generates. The interaction with it through making sounds as well as simply being there are quite potent, so I want to explore this concept further, after the project concludes.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

INDN 341: Presentation Renders

Following our presentation we thought it would be wise to explain a few or the envisioned design decisions we included in our slides.  First up is this render of how we imagined the paper would attach to the system on a magnet based pin. The pin slots into a pre-molded hole in the thick rubber belt and stays via sufficient friction. The head of this pin would be either a strong magnet or some magnetic material such as steel. In terms of attaching the paper to this, it would simply be placed against the head of the pin and clamped on with another strong magnet - neodymium earth magnets would probably suit best. A second method we imagined involved punching holes into the top of the paper, using that to hang it on a small bolt, and then securing it between a set of nuts and washers.

The overall design process here involved creating a piece that was both easily scaleable and took up as little space as possible in the process. For these reasons we decided to go with a wall mounted design. This also enabled us to route the belt in any way we wish, leading us to the idea that we could attach the confessions so that they entered the machine from the top, and wind their way down to the bottom. As they did this, they would be exposed to water via some fashion, and as they spent more time in the machine, they would get more and more destroyed.

We discussed two ways in which we could deliver the water to destroy the paper, this is a simple mockup of the first design - a waterfall that passed down through the middle of the machine, so that the belt would cross it multiple times as the confessions wound down. The water would be collected at the bottom and recycled back to the top with the use of a pump. We felt that as we were also deciding between two paper choices as well (Rice paper or PVA paper) we would have to go with PVA paper with this system, as the waterfall would probably prove to strong for the rice paper to withstand all the way through the machine

This is a visualisation with a few modifications for the second water delivery system, Fog. As the fog would have essentially evaporated by the time it reached the bottom of the machine, we felt there was no need to include a catchment system or pump system to recycle the water. The foggers we would plan to use can last for a long time on a single tank of water, that would only need to be topped up occasionally.

This is a visualisation similar to the one above of how we envisioned the fog system to look/work. This design would have been a little more mystifying to watch as it would have been harder to discern exactly how the paper was getting destroyed.

Renders by Matt Hagedorn

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MDDN 314: New Code

After looking at the various ways in which I want to actually project, and now that I have a clear idea in my head as to how the build of the project is going to work, I can actually work on getting the code to the point that it works with the specific set-up I have in mind for my installation.

One of the primary objectives I gave myself was to get the peaks of of the "mountains" in the real structure to feature in the digital projection, and therefore amplify their physical presence, as well as highlight their importance to the code. To exemplify this, I built in pulsing circles into the code, circles which decay as they spread out across the surface of the projection. The rationale for the circles was that they spread out in a very linear way, but the non-linearity of the physical surface would allow the circles to create a predictable but still mildly erratic visual play on the surface.

The second aspect I added enabled the viewer to understand the locations on the "landscape" and how they related to the moving triangular forms. By making and plotting the small connective line, the viewer can trace the point to the peaks of the mountains in the structure.

The pulse in combination with the connective lines allow the user to perceive a more interesting and structured projection. The projection interacts with the 3 dimensionality of the installation, causing interesting effects and results.

The resultant look for the new code on the fabric is very interesting. I had to create my set-up so that I could actually write the code, as I had to map the points of the mountains into the code itself.

The colours and the lines create a more dynamic experience, as sometimes the colours can blur together a bit, which can be a bit troublesome. Soon I'll be taking my set up to the photography lab to get some real action going!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MDDN 314: Build's Up!

For a while, the moulded fabric that I created was just left loose and experimented with as such. After a few experiments I realised that it really wasn't going to be good enough for the project hand-in, and demanded a resultant redesign. I wanted the design to be minimal and highlight just the main components of the design that do the working.

To hold the cloth, I built a small timber frame out of some wood that I had lying around. That part was really fun. I miss building things. So many of my projects this year have just revolved around digital techniques and visuals that it felt really relaxing to make something, even if it was super simple.

The fabric was actually surprisingly easy to attach to the wood frame, using just an upholstery gun to affix it. I trimmed off the excess fabric and then attached four small wood sections to the four corners, to allow for attaching the legs.

The legs were something I unfortunately didn't photograph, but they turned out to be significantly easier than I initially supposed. I thought at first that I would make them out of wood too, but then decided that the whole composition would work a lot better if I used very thin spindly legs to allow the project to sway back and forth a bit, as well as create a very basic illusion of floating. To do this, I drilled a small hole into each of the four corners, and then slotted a meter-long 3.2mm thick mild steel rod into each hole. The whole piece immediately had a much more pronounced and severe appearance that worked well with the abstract composition I wanted to project!

Coming soon, the code integrated into the project properly!

MDDN 314; Recording Development

The recording that I choose to have run with my code is incredibly important. The recording has to somehow exemplify and harmonise the analog and the digital. In a sense, it is the bridge that joins the two aspects. I wanted to connect the abstract sound visualiser to the landscape-like structure that it is projected onto. To do this, I decided to record traffic noise, since it does two things that I really need it to do. 1, I need the volume of the piece to fluctuate, which car noises do well as they come and go. 2, I need the noise to be able to be consciously linked to the landscape.

To achieve this recording, I recorded various instances of traffic and cars passing by, and then built them together into a big continuous piece, a piece that would be perfectly okay if looped.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

INDN 341: Presentation Slides

INDN 311: A Critical Re-Focus

One of the problems that came out of the interim presentations was that the lecturer didn't really like the design of the little bottle-lens I had made. The opinions flying around were that it was too thick and a bit unwieldy, and didn't really express the design of the phone as well. This is a sentiment that I can appreciate, as unfortunately the bottle did come back a fair bit thicker than I had originally designed. But oh well, even if I don't use it (which at this point I probably won't), it will still make a nice little ornament that I designed. Might even be able to give it away as a little present some day!

The first thing that I looked at was potentially isolating just the lens and then seeing if I could use just that piece of glass, as opposed to the pre-existing metal lens casing. Apparently removing the lens from it's casing requires a very specific tool. Another suggestion that came from the lecturer was that I should get the glass blower to make a small dip in the top of the middle of lens, in order to allow for the water to still be a component in the design. The rationale for this is that the water was what made the whole design special, and not just a lens on a phone. The vibrations of the phone could still vibrate the water too, and achieve a certain result.

In order to encase the lens and make it work with the phone, I decided that working with an aluminium frame on the lens would help unify the aesthetic between the lens and the phone. This also serves the purpose of raising the lens up from the phone, improving the lens' effectiveness. I have a feeling though that I can improve the lens' effectiveness as well as how it holds water even further. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

INDN 341: Component Development

To figure out the main aspects of the project, I needed to nail out the details of the project components. The three main aspects that I perceive will give us trouble are the attachment method for the paper, the pulley/belt system for the confessions to travel along, and the water delivery system.

The attachment method needs to be something that can function around corners and from any possible angle. A suggestion for how it might work is to have a hole in the paper that allows it to sit on a circular hook. These circular hooks sit in the belt  that travels around the shape of the pulleys and extend out from the belt system, so that they don't interfere with the belts workings.

The pulley system allows for the belt to travel around the track. In my opinion, we would have to motorize at least 2, if not four of the corners. We have to motorize the corners at specific speeds, most likely exceedingly low speeds, to achieve the effect we want.

The water delivery system is going to be a little more difficult, but mostly dependant on technology that will be self-contained. The waterfall variant would simply rely on a small water feature pump. The fogger would be a little bit easier, as it atomises water using a very small amount of it up as it works, ergo it wouldn't need to have a pump putting water back up to the top, it would just need to have someone re-fill the water from time to time.

Friday, May 23, 2014

INDN 341: Creation vs. Destruction

Today we looked at deciding exactly how to run the project. One of the critical elements that we need to decide on is the aspect of the project that we want to focus on. The problem that we're currently facing is that it's highly likely we won't be able to make both a creation and destruction aspect of our project. The concept for the creation side of the project was to build a machine that used a pressurized water jet to make an imprint of the users face/hand.

The second idea was for an installation that would revolve around the destruction of the confessions, as opposed to the creation of them. The rationale for that is so that the viewers and creators of the confessions/secrets have the comfort that their confessions will be destroyed, as well as getting the satisfaction and pleasure of reading other people's confessions and seeing them getting destroyed.

To figure out which one we actually wanted to make happen, we started up a big 'ol grand list of the pros and cons of each method. The creation side is definitely the idea that sticks to the original idea more, however, that said, the project now belongs to all of us, and doesn't actually have to follow the original plan at all. The beauty of the creative aspect is that it handles the creation of the confessions, as opposed to waiting for confessions to come to it.

The current consensus is actually to roll with the destruction concept. The aspects of this project that we really like is the potential for the project to be expanded to any conceivable size, as well as the inherent wow factor of an installation piece that moves and dynamically destroys things. People like watching things get destroyed. The destruction that we want to use is still tied in with water, and could be used in a variety of ways. One of the ways we're thinking of that could be quite successful would be to use fog or steam, as that has a gradual degrading effect on paper or PVA. Alternatively we could use a low flow water feature that drizzles water down through the destruction machine.

Since we're rolling with the destruction idea, the idea that we have is to have a progressive system that passes through the water demolition line multiple times. This cuts down on the difficulty, and also means that we can have the confessions get destroyed more and more over time, until they are completely illegible and eventually fall apart.

These are the main parts that we have to develop. It's going to be a tall order to achieve, but it's not impossible by any means. I think we can get all of these components working.

Next is to develop our plan for the presentation! We have to show the class how awesome our team is going to be!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

INDN 341: Inspirations

When researching precedents, we arrived at several different works that helped shape our final form. We had already arrived on our idea for the project through group discussion, and used these in part to influence how we wanted the project to look and perform.

"Melted Captain" - Valerie Hegarty, 2011

Valerie Hegarty uses a melting aesthetic in the majority of her works, and we wanted to emulate this in some respect. By applying water to either PVA paper we made ourselves, or thin paper such as rice paper, we will be able to achieve the desired effect. We really like this quality, as it adds a mystical aspect to the disappearing paper.

"Ribbon Snake" - Len Lye, c. 1965

The mechanical aesthetic of this Len Lye piece was a large inspiration for the wall mounted conveyor belt design. The kinetic aspect was also a factor in our design process, as we knew we wanted the project to move in some regard, and this rubbery, bouncy sculpture was very similar to what we imagined the project to be like, and reaffirmed our initial designs.

"Rotozaza II" - Jean Tinguely, 1967

This sculpture was the perfect example we were looking for in terms of the destruction aspect we were after. It performs almost exactly how we want the conveyor belt of destruction to work, and is also quite similar in aesthetic to our initial sketches.

Monday, May 19, 2014

INDN 341: Food Colouring Grid Test

Over the weekend I decided to try out some of the suggestions that Jeongbin gave to us. The suggestion that I really rolled with was the suggestion to impregnate paper with food colouring to use as a "water activated paper". Applying the food colouring to the paper and then letting it dry would essentially allow the paper to wait indefinitely for water to drip onto the paper. Upon wetting, the food colouring "re-activates" and spreads with the water.

Applying the food colouring to the paper was no easy feat, and keeping the grid consistent was even harder. Ah well. That's okay, because the result wasn't exactly dependant on an even spread. The result is more dependant on the effect of the water.

And the result turned out really well! The water arriving on the paper activated the food colouring and let it spread across the page in a surprisingly aesthetic way. It creates an almost marbled look that flows around the shape of the hand in a kind of abstracted and jagged way. One problem that we encountered when testing the paper that I prepared was that the food colouring ended up staining the person's hand quite badly. A simple countermeasure to this would be to put a grating in between the paper and the person's hand or face. The result could be slightly more "blurry" than if the person was in direct contact with the paper, but that's not too bad.

A suggestion from one of our tutors was to look at creating a space where the confession could be written. A way to make that happen that I thought of would be to only put the grid of food colouring around a circle where the average palm would sit and fit. The result would be that the dots would only sit along and around the outer rim of the shape of the hand, ensuring that the colouration would be delivered without the writing space obscured by the colour dots. More to think about!

INDN 311: Coded Wool and Bottle d'Glass

Moving the code from the computer to the phone proved to be an easier task than I expected it to be, as I found an app that worked on iOS that was able to compile my processing code, albeit at a quarter of the iPhones potential screen resolution. That aspect was actually extremely frustrating, as I had to go back and edit my code to numb down the screen resolution and all the locations.

For showing how the code works on the phone, I recorded the code functioning on my computer with a particular song, and then ported both the song and the frames from the code into Premiere Pro. This I then exported in a format that would function on the iPhone's screen and operating system. 

The code actually ends up looking a lot more sophisticated than it really is. (Not that I should be telling anyone about that, but oh well!) The white circle that travels around the edges is both an aesthetic element as well as an element that helps to place the bottle on the screen.

And hey presto, it's the glass bottle! I got this little guy back from the glass blower today, and it's really quite a beautiful piece. I must admit, it's a bit chunkier than I might have liked, but there's not really a whole lot I can do about that. I designed it thinner, but it being thick like this isn't the end of the world. I carved up the cork once I got the bottle back, making a little stopper that fit nicely.

As you can see, the glass bottle has some very interesting refractive qualities, and these transmit in an interesting way to the surrounding area. The transmission to the roof is very vague and ambient, which is the way I wanted it to be. There are also really interesting little refractive points that shatter off the glass onto the table surrounding the phone and wool.

One of my concerns is that the glass blower wasn't able to achieve the lensing in the bottom of the bottle that I designed. Apparently that would have made the glass too thick to shape and manipulate. The result is that the lens in the bottom is less concave than I would have liked it to be, meaning that the effect it has on the emitted light won't be as strong. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

INDN 341: Idea Expansion- Creation & Destruction

Creating- Dye Experiments 

Experimenting with dye expansion as another way to mark out the shapes of the users hands or face, as the original idea of the paper that changed colour when exposed to water only comes in limited small sizes, and would not be big enough to comfortably fit someone's face or hand.

This also makes it easier for supply and demand as this way, this paper will be unlimited and easy to source.

We also looked at air brushing techniques, however this technique was dismissed as it could end up leaving colour on the users face, and this could deteriorate the audience from using the confessional.

How it worked- We placed small dots of concentrated dye in row form on the paper, creating a handmade paper effect. The user then placed their hand on this paper and it was squirted with water, causing a spread out affect which stopped at the users hand, creating a fill of negative background, and a hand shape was left untouched.

Destruction- Clothesline
Looking at ways to destroy the paper, we started to think about the material of the paper, we came to the conclusion that the safest and easiest way (via supply) would be to use either rice paper or paper we made ourselves out of PVA. this way it could be destroyed in a safe way as we could just use water in the same way we have been looking at in the creation process.

Our first idea for destruction poses similarly to a clothesline, hense the name. The confessions get pegged up along a line that runs the length of the room with 2 stations at either end, much like a ski lift, when the confession passes through one of these stations, it gets a heavy dowse of water, soaking it and destroying the confession whilst disconnecting it from the line.

Additionally we also looked at other possible ways of the destruction process, a cloud of fog that was contained to certain parts of the line that slowly decomposed the confession a little more every time it passed through.

Or having the line wall-mounted around a whole room, and having a curtain of water or foam that travels slowly against the wall with a catchment at the bottom, that could soak the confession as it passes through.

An idea we had but dismissed due to lack of mysticism was the idea of once the confession was pegged onto the line it sent a signal to a machine that would process whereabouts on the line the confession had been placed, and would then send a motor down a parallel line to stop directly opposite the confession. it would then send a steady stream of water onto the confession to cause it to disintegrate and fall off.