Day 2 of the Connect the Dots workshop kicked off with a presentation by Amanda Steggell (me:-) in which she attempted to describe her relationship to sensors and the likes, and her approach to “physicalness” of physical computing, as well as prototyping ideas and testing them on, and with others. She drew on her work with the live art group Motherboard which she co-directs with Per Platou, that spans from 1996 to the current day. (Social/artistic networked environments and performance spaces, hacking toys and other gadgets, mixing signals, and so on).
A short discussion about the interactiveness of interactive art took place. HC showed a video of David Rockeby as an example of a complex human/computer interaction system based on video tracking (SoftVNS) to make music that is impossible for the public to play in installation format (Link please HC). Both texts by Rockeby (see link above) and Erkki Huhtamo (whose most recent work has dealt with media archaeology) were suggested as interesting reading for the workshop participants.
Then each of the workshop participants presented themselves – their backgrounds, and motivation for taking part in the workshop. We are mixed bunch, with interests ranging from ceramics, textiles, performance, video, installation, music, visual arts, etc.
After lunch came the more practical side of things, and we worked in 4 groups through HC’s examples of:
1. Creating sound from analogue (dynamic) input – potentiometers (knobs)
2. Sending messages between 4 computers over a local, wireless network via the serial port.
3. Controlling 4 lights with analogue input from 4 potentiometers via this network.
4. Using the same data to generate sound frequencies.
This involved using Arduino software to program the micro-controllers, and using MAX to do the rest. Additional hardware included a LAN box and a CLS 4 plug dimmer to control the electrical output to 4 small lamps.
Several crashes occurred as folks forgot to turn off the Arduino software before opening MAX. We learn that his happens when both programs try to use the same port. Once a communication between the 4 computers was established, HC showed how the signals from the potentiometers could be smoothed in MAX (using the line object) to give less jumpy fades of lights, and how frequency ranges could be applied to the signals from the potentiometers to give all the 4 inputs their exclusive frequency range.
(I had hoped to load up some photos today, but I’ve forgotten the usb cable for my camera ……)