Posts with «installation» label

Earthquakes reinterpreted by the human body become art

“Earth Partitions” installation by artist Melik Ohanian was exhibited at the Centre d’Art Contemporain à Sète in France and it’s composed by two synchronized videos with a dancer and a seismogram, the second being “written” by the first.

The dancer with two controllers in the hands was asked to “translate” into corporal expression and movements what he saw in a seismogram of an earthquake . His movements were consequently “translated back” to a seismogram using a device. Both the mime and the seismograph were filmed at the same time and both were then broadcasted simultaneously on two different screens during the exhibition.

The project was made thanks to the work of Out of Pluto, a multidisciplinary startup working on the research and development of new technologies to materialize various projects and ideas and decided to share with us some more info about this installation.

Arthur and Mathias, founders of the startup, submitted the project to this blog describing me how they used two Arduino boards:

The Arduino Micro reads the accelerometer values, computes a global value and sends it via bluetooth to the computer. The computer reads this value, computes an angle according to a configurable ratio (sensitivity) and sends a new value to the Arduino Uno. The Arduino Uno sends the angle to the servo motor that rotates to this angle and then come back to 0 (if no other value is sent). Coming back to 0 simulates the end of the “earthquake”. The mechanical part of the arm is flexible so there is some inertia involved, creating the typical outline of seismograms. There is a simple motor to pull the paper at a constant speed.

Take a look at the video:

The world knows what you did last summer

Jaap de Maat shared with us his final year project called I know what you did last summer, the finale to a two-year-long MA in Information Experience Design of the Royal College of Art. The ingredients are  simple (an old electric wheel chair, an Arduino Mega, 12v motor board, Bluetooth slave, wires, blood sweat and tears) and the concept is very actual:

It is physically impossible for the human brain to remember every event from our past in full detail. The default setting is to forget and our memories are constructed based on our current values. In the digital age it has become easier to look back with great accuracy. But this development contains hidden dangers, as those stored recollections can easily be misinterpreted and manipulated. That sobering thought should rule our online behaviour, because the traces we leave behind now will follow us around for ever.

The video of the installation shows how the physical presence of an archive drawer  stalking has a real impact on visitors:

Here’s the making of the prototype:

Arduino Blog 08 Jul 20:53

Monitoring glaciers at the Venice 14th International Architecture Exhibition

Glaciers are the largest moving objects on earth and the  glacier on the Austria’s sixth highest summit called Simulaun  is the protagonist of an installation awarded a Special Mention by the Jury of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

On May 4th, 2014, the Italian Limes team installed a network of solar-powered GPS units on the surface of the Similaun glacier, following a 1-km-long section of the border between Italy and Austria, in order to monitor the movements of the ice sheet throughout the duration of the exhibition at the Corderie dell’Arsenale.

The geographic coordinates collected by the sensors are broadcasted and stored every hour on a remote server via a satellite connection. An automated drawing machine—controlled by an Arduino board and programmed with Processing—has been specifically designed to translated the coordinates received from the sensors into a real- time representation of the shifts in the border. The drawing machine operates automatically and can be activated on request by every visitor, who can collect a customized and unique map of the border between Italy and Austria, produced on the exact moment of his visit to the exhibition.

Italian Limes is a project by Folder (Marco Ferrari, Elisa Pasqual) with Pietro Leoni (interaction design), Delfino Sisto Legnani (photography), Dawid Górny, Alex Rothera, Angelo Semeraro (projection mapping), Alessandro Mason (production coordination), Claudia Mainardi.
Italian Limes has been supported by Fablab Torino, Favini, FaberSum, Intergrafica Verona, LAC–Litografia Artistica Cartografica.

Read the Press release >>



Arduino Blog 23 Jun 11:10

A tangible orchestra one can walk through and play with others

Tangible Orchestra is a project by Picarøøn, a collaboration of artists Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian Walter, combining electronic and classical music perceived very individually in a three-dimensional space.

Single units are triggered by people in close proximity and play a unique instrument, with the collection of individual instruments gathering as people congregate in the project space, eventually creating a complete musical work. As electronic music is usually composed and arranged at the mixing desk, the installation creates the illusion of an orchestra playing a musical piece that relies heavily on digitally created sounds and therefore could normally not be perceived this way.

Tangible Orchestra consists of seven individual cylinders that play their unique instrument if people in close proximity are identified by a complex system of sensors. Each column is an independent, interactive sound and computer unit that has the ability to play a separate instrumental track and a sensory system which reacts dynamically to the proximity of its participants.

Essentially, this enables each member of the audience to become a musician and together they constitute a musical ensemble or orchestra. This is achieved because depending on the proximity of each participant to any particular cylinder and the number of participants involved, the range, contribution and volume of the music contained within each cylinder varies proportionately. Therefore, the experience is guaranteed to be different every time; orchestrated by the participants both individually and as part of an ensemble.

The installation uses 112 ultrasonic sensors controlled by Arduino Mega and only if  enough people gather and scatter evenly across the project space, the installation evolves to its greatest potential and the complete work of art can be perceived:

Human interaction within Tangible Orchestra is made possible by 16 ultrasonic sensors on the inside of each cylinder, granting a 360 degree field of view. The sensors are run by one integrated microprocessor per cylinder, evaluating and comparing the readings of all sensors making very accurate assessments.
To avoid interference between ultra sonic waves of different cylinders, the microprocessors run consecutively rather than simultaneously. All microprocessors are controlled, assessed and coordinated by one Arduino Mega.
The programming language Processing is used to communicate with Arduino and consequently with the microprocessors in each cylinder. It is programmed to coordinate the microprocessors, so that their sensors cast their rays consecutively as with 112 ultrasonic sensors operating at the same time, there would be a substantial risk of interference and acoustic shadow misreading. It also assesses the data coming from Arduino and, after verification, generates the output. Is a person detected within the bubble of a cylinder, Processing receives the digital information as an input from Arduino and stops muting the respective instrument which then joins into the melody. Processing also reads the values of each instrumental track to calculate the digital signals for the LEDs and controls the LED stripes inside of the cylinder.
Each instrument is played by a separate speaker which is located in the base of each cylinder. Multiple sound outputs were realised by using several external sound cards together with the minim library by Damien Di Fede. When an instrument plays, the beats of the audible track are analysed and consequently values are calculated to create an equalizer-like light beam. The outcome is transferred via Arduino to a transformer, which converts the 5V Arduino signal into an 230V output operating 192 LEDs per cylinder. Another transformer converts 5V Arduino signals into 12V output powering LED stripes inside of each cylinder as soon as they are activated.

The first exhibition of the Tangible Orchestra was at Royal Mile, Edinburgh  this May 2014. Check their website for next events.

1900 Chinese lanterns and more than 15000 LEDs controlled by Arduino in Jakarta

We are delighted to share a video about the light installation performed by Arduino Verkstad in Jakarta in 2013. 15200 LEDs in 3800 groups adding up to 1900 Chinese lanterns controlled by 40 Arduino Mega boards with a specially design shield to handle communications and a lot of manual work.

Take a look at the shorter version of video below focusing more on the results of the installation, or the full length directly on youtube.



Creating colourful clouds of light

Arduino user SicLeung is part of Do Interactive, an interactive design team based in Hong Kong. He sent us a video about his experimental installation at Hong Kong Poly University – School of Design and exploring unusual ways of activating light:

The making of Terrors of the breakfast table

Visual artist and filmmaker Tyler Tekatch worked with Kyle Duffield, interactive programmer to create an interactive video installation called Terrors of the breakfast table, currently on view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, until May 25 2014:

The visitor approaches a table and chair in the centre of the space, and blows into a sculptural device on the table, when the device glows orange. Subtle technologies sense the viewer’s breath, triggering thought-provoking interactive elements, such as a dream montage, the pace of a scene, the ambient sound, and the brightness of the visuals. The viewer discovers the interactions at their own pace, and some of the effects are more subtle than others.

They used a combination of cameras to shoot the project, including the Canon C100, the 5d markiii, and the Sony FS700 to achieve some of the super slow motion shots. The film was edited in FCP7, graded in DaVinci Resolve, and effects were done with Cinema 4d and 3ds Max.

For the interactive elements, they used Max 6 for all of the programming, including the Arduino library, AHarker Externals library, Ambisonics Externals from ICST, and externals from Jamoma. They experimented with a number of different approaches to the sensor, including sound analysis, but finally settled on an anemometer designed especially for breath by the company Modern Device.

The sensor was paired with an Arduino Uno,  to which they also added LEDs in order to illuminate the sensor housing sculpture, and which were also mapped to the viewer’s breathe.


Arduino Blog 26 Apr 16:01

Digital artist Julien Bayle [Interview]

Julien Bayle is a digital artist and technology developer, and his work is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in the DIY man-machine interfaces.

Back in 2008, Julien created a clone of the Monome, a control surface consisting in a matrix of leds and buttons whose functioning is defined by software.  It was called Bonome and RGB leds were used, instead of  monochromatic leds of the standard model.  Here are the instructions to build it.

Some time later, inspired by the DIY controller used by Monolake, Julien decided to build its own Protodeck to control Ableton Live.

Recently I stumbled upon his post titled “Arduino is the Power” and I discovered that Julien has started writing a book about the Arduino platform. So I thought that regular readers of the Arduino Blog would welcome an interview with this interesting guy. And here it is!

Andrea Reali: Tell us something about you.

Julien Bayle: I’m Julien Bayle from France. I’m a digital artist and technology evangelist. I’m inside computers world since my dad bought us a Commodore 64, around 1982.
I’m working with music softwares since the first sound-trackers and I began to work with visuals too with my Amiga 500, using some first POV-like softwares.
I first began by working as an IT Security Architect by day, then I quit to be only what I am today and especially to be really free to continue my travel inside art & technology.
I’m providing courses & consulting & development around open-source technology like Arduino, java/processing but also & especially with Max6 graphical programming framework which is my speciality. Max6 is really an universe itself and we’d need more than one life to discover all features. As an Ableton Certified Trainer, I’m still teaching that a bit.
All technology always provides tools to achieve art. I guess my path comes from pure technology and goes to pure art.

AR: How did you get interested in the area you’re interested in?

JB: I always thought technology was only a tool to achieve projects, artistic or not.
Progressively, I understood that pure technology could be interesting itself too and I began to learn as a maniac but without forgetting about applying theory, illustrating each bit of knowledge.
Each time I learn something, I feel ideas coming in my head, possible applications appearing in front of my eyes like “wow this totally abstract Interrupt Service Routine is tricky but it can provide THE way to make this RGB Leds matrix driven only by that CPU with few outputs”
I achieved the protodeck like that, progressively learning & making at the same time, encountering some solid walls but finally finding my way breaking them!
We all need huge motivation to make things, especially today. Indeed, all seem integrated, already made, and you have to twist your mind to understand : “Yes, I can make by myself exactly what I need !”
Applying theory, having fun, making things, helps to keep the motivation very high and helps to achieve totally crazy projects! People thought you were insane at the beginning and the same people think you are a guru, at the end.

AR: Describe one of your projects.

JB: The Musée de la Buzine in Marseille is a central point of the Mediterranean cinema. Early 2011, I worked on this project both as a software designer & an hardware developer.
The permanent exhibition is based on 7 rooms in which you can experience visuals, sounds contents.
The system is based on 24 computers and 1 server, everything being federated by a gigabit ethernet network.
There are also 7 touch screens, 10 video-projectors, 20 RFID readers, 7 arduino UNO & MEGA handling buttons and ultra-sonic sensors, and finally 2 multi channels sound systems. Yes, it is a huge installation.
Everything has been made using Max5 (also named Max/MSP before Max6)
Max/MSP is a graphical programming environment which means you can create softwares by connecting virtual boxes on your screen without typing one row of code, if you don’t like that. It is obviously totally possible to use JAVA, C++ and more inside of it.
Each system is based on the same model, in the museum. A kind of template I designed in order to provide similar features like OSC protocol communication system, RFID parsing routines for user language identification, jitter real time subtitling (subtitles on videos according to ID of RFID cards), especially.
The server is able to send command to all machines. This is a nice feature to be able to switch off all 24 computers in one click and to power on them using Wake On Lan too. Of course, everything is scheduled according to a calendar and is be automated.
Arduino takes a particularly important role in this global design.
Indeed, it adds new capabilities & skills to computers by giving them a way to feel our universe with sensors and to act on it too.
In this installation, Arduino are used on the simpler way.
They are reading buttons state. For instance, drawers contain secret switches: when you open a drawer, the switch is triggered and the reading loop circuit is opened too; the board detects that and send bytes to the computer via USB cable basically. The Max patch (= name of programs you make in Max) receives the bytes and act properly by triggering a video, a sound, both or lighting on something.
There is a nice machine installed there : a DMX / Ethernet router.
I can send special bytes over the network from my Max patch to this gear. The router then translates my messages into DMX pre-programmed sequences.
For instance, I wired an ultrasonic distance sensor, used as a presence detector. The Arduino check distance and when the distance is less than a particular value, it fires a specially byte to the computer. This one reacts by triggering a sound and a video on 2 video-projectors. It also sends another peculiar byte to the DMX Router and this one makes a very nice light sequences like fadin lights in different moody way in order to grant an immersive experience to users.

The presence of Arduino made this installation alive, by bringing computers to another level of interaction.
I enjoyed a lot in making this complex project and people seemed very satisfied by the result.

I have been asked to develop more installations like that and now I freely choose which offer to accept.

If you understood me correctly, you know I’ll choose only those with a really strong artistic matter & purpose

AR: What skills did you draw upon?

JB: This project involved a lot of different technology.
I programmed using:
– C with the Arduino IDE
– Max5, including javascript scripting and jitter openGL programming and MSP audio stuff too
I had to wire and solder a bit too, which was nice and made things more real, concrete, physical.
The main thing about this project is the fact I had to mix a lot of things together.
It was interesting to connect all these very open & efficient technologies.
Using open protocol like serial, OSC (Open Sound Control) was a very nice way to keep things simple and indeed, I wanted to keep things simple.
Designing huge projects doesn’t mean you have to raise the complexity.
Often, great & big projects are based on very simple bits.
My advice to readers: Keep it simple! Build some units, then connect them together progressively.
This is my credo when I’m teaching Arduino!

AR: When did you hear about Arduino, and when did you first start using it?

JB: I hear about Arduino as soon as I began to make my own hardwares (around 6 years ago)
It brought me into the hardware gear field.
I began by tweaking leds & buttons with the bonome, an RGB monome clone (
It was a nice project and I learned a lot about shift-registering, buttons matrices, LED matrices and especially RGB Leds.
Arduino is THE way to learn about electronic.
I also played a bit with MIDI & OSC protocol directly with Arduino board and I still have a couple of projects I’d like to make available a bit on the monome distribution model. These include a strange drone machine, a 8-bit synthesizer very raw and a little and led based sequencer but with a strong part including shuffling and random.
By diving in the Arduino world, you can easily learn the direct link between the code (software) and the wires (hardware)
The bootloader included in the chip provides a totally user friendly way to upload your C code from the IDE on your computer to the board.
It is useable out-of-the-box without following a 3 years University cycle !
I’ll spread the arduinoword around: it can easily make people learning about electronic and especially about making their own things.
Today we can follow the DIY way  easily because of people like Massimo Banzi, Tom Igoe and the whole community created by the Arduino Team.
They opened a road and gave people more motivation to design and build things themselves.

AR: Where can readers see your works, both past and present?

JB: I have 3 websites. is the main one. You can find there my blog, and all my communities connection like Soundcloud, Facebook and more. is my music website which will be merged probably into quite soon. Indeed, I’m known as protofuse on the IDM electronic scene. is my small company. I’m providing Ableton Live devices & max for live stuff.
I am currently writing a book on Arduino and this is the first official place where you see this news.
I’m writing for the very amazing publisher PACKT publishing and I’m really happy about that, enjoy writing, designing things and spreading the following words to the world as far as possible: “yes you can build your own machines without any big companies help !”

AR: What inspired you to make the thing you made?

JB: I’m both a technology-driven guy and a minimalism art admirer.

I guess you can find minimalism in everything I’m making, from the apparently totally complex stuff to the most easy one.
My work is a quest into minimalism & zen digital territories. My latest iOS application is a piece of work which can be felt like an artwork too.
I’m making a lot of ambient music and IDM music too and from the most syncopated rhythm to the most peaceful synthesize soundscape, I feel minimalism.
Artists like Autechre, Brian Eno, Pete Namlook, Aphex Twin, Arpanet, inspire me a lot.
I guess my whole design (sound design, music design, software & hardware design) is inspired by artists like them, but not only.
We definitively need more peace and more quietness in our world.
I’m just trying to find mine making my art and trying to bring my words to people too.


I wish a bright and peaceful future for Julien and I deeply thank him for the interview.