Replication of System: explorations in kinetic sculpture

Authors: Cernoch, A.

Publication: Submitted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Electronic Visualization, Graduate College, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

Replication of System is AnnMarie Cernoch’s Master of Fina Art thesis project - an interactive kinetic sculpture. The project plays with the idea of creating an interactive spatial circuit. A replication system, in the field of technology systems, is the flow of information. This “flow of data” is echoed in my project by way of electrical impulses. The center of the project takes on the server or brain of the system being presented. An Arduino board acts as the nucleus and releases impulses through programmed code. The code waits for input from contact sensors. These sensors are stretched outward and attached to different surfaces around the room. The vine-like appendages take on the function of sound sensitive ears. The project uses the entire room to interactively communicate with its audience. Audience participants create sound, for example by hitting a wall or stomping their feet, which in-turn is picked up by the object. That human-computer interaction is then transmitted to the nucleus of the project. The project then displays instant feedback though super bright LEDs and/or small speakers. How aggressively a participant interacts with the artwork determines the project’s reaction or mood. An example scenario is when a sensor close to the nucleus is triggered; the piece illuminates red LEDs and emits a loud screeching sound. This kind of display is a negative or angry reaction from the sculpture. The default interaction consists of trailing blue and white LEDs. These LEDs cycle up and down the outstretched arms of the project. The blue and white LEDs are a visual representation of information being communicated to the nucleus. This kinetic sculpture is a physical replication of a system.

Replication of System creates a feeling of ever expansive growth and informational movement. The project consists of a chaotic wire-filled nucleus that is attached to two sets of consecutive rings. Stretching out from the center of the project are vine-like arms. These arms have small but powerful sound sensors. The appendages attach themselves to walls and flat surfaces around a gallery space. A diffused spotlight above the sculpture creates a sparkling coagulation of copper wire. As one moves around the piece, the illusion of growing wires emerges adding movement/life to the sculpture.

In its exhibition form, Replication of System is a physically hanging sculpture which consists of multiple metal rings, thousands of yards of copper wire and a variety of electronic elements; both Arduino and Wiring programming boards are utilized as the “brain” of the project. These boards receive sensor information, and then send out reaction impulses. Blue, white or red LEDs are the visual response identifiers. Piezo speakers and transducers are incorporated as the reactive sound output. Sound reinforces the visually reactive impulses being displayed to create a semi-intelligent kinetic sculpture.

Date: July 25, 2008

Document: View PDF
Replication of System, 2008 - A. Cernoch, EVL

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