Category: Practice/Experiments

Slouching towards Bethlehem

3D orbits + investigation into unfurled textures.



“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”




“When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.”




“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”



Note to Self:

  • The messy feel of this ‘beastie’ is how I want it, as if it has just emerged from some primordial ooze.

Processing 3.0

We had an interesting talk regarding Processing with tutor Ed Kelly a few weeks back. I haven’t had a chance to have a proper investigation until now.


I was very impressed and the possibilities seem endless. I combined some code from various sketches to arrive at this very short test sequence.

The sketch window used is very similar to Arduino.


Note to Self:

  • Arduino/Processing: I wonder is it possible to get Arduino + Processing to talk to each other?
  • Getting kind of bored now tw*tting around with Arduino, I need to see some visual results on ‘the other side’ of the screen, Processing may be another way in?


#1 Soil Touch Sensitive/Earth as Interface.


The experiment was sparked by a musical effects unit I saw a while back, but it ties in with my current exploration of what exactly constitutes an interface? and of taking various inanimate objects or physical elements across the threshold into the digital realm and onto the screen.


This started out as a proximity sensor to generate code from the soil, but as It emerged I thought it would be nicer to make people ‘get their hands dirty’ and actually touch the soil to generate a series of numbers (single and double digit), which can be seen in the serial port. These fluctuate depending on how hard the soil is pressed.

The soil is always visible through the perspex, there is a sensor hidden just below the top layer of soil. I have added an alchemist Earth symbol atop a piece of wood, to give it a ritual aspect and maybe remind myself that it is ‘Earth as interface’. The Arduino jumper wire is also green, the wiring earth colour. The numbers can now be manipulated to turn into sound, or colour, images, infographics etc…which is the next step.


The underlying concept and process is important, but also the whole set up must look aesthetically pleasing to me, like in a Japanese fruit market where the price is not based on weight or size but on how beautiful the object is.



Note to Self:

  • Question: Do I want to bring the virtual object on the screen to the physical world?…or the object from the physical world into the virtual, or both?
  • Question: Is the information generated and how it is displayed the ‘final outcome’ or is it just part of the process, and the finished piece then still to be arrived at?


An experiment with sound. Slo-mo musical scale/paper speaker in leaves. I was getting restless dwelling a lot on context, process and methodology and simply wanted to create some ‘work’ however small, a mini piece, with a view to then developing a larger project based on it called ‘The Old Ohm Tree’ which would feature maybe 5 speakers and a lot more wooden boughs!


Slo-mo musical scale gives it an eerie Autumnal feel. ‘Oiche Samhain’ (Gaelic for Halloween night) will soon be upon us, the leaves are falling off the trees.


I want to harvest this information and represent it online. I am Waiting to receive a Arduino shield that will help connect me via Blynk app.


Note to Self: Old Ohm Tree.

  • Boughs: Source x5 other Silver Birch wooden pieces and cut to fit.
  • 3D rendered base: Install Cinema 4D? and sketch up 3D object for white base.
  • 3D Printing: Does this need to be modular/not all 1 piece for a 3D printer?

Blynk Digital Dashboard

It’s time to move any Arduino projects into the virtual realm, push on beyond the tinkering and start ‘making’ properly.


Blynk is a Platform I came across, it works with iOS and Android apps to control Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the like over the Internet. It’s a digital dashboard where you can build a graphic interface for your project by simply dragging and dropping widgets.

I have set up a bog standard Arduino test sketch, a simple LED light being triggered by a button. The idea is to move it online via Blynk so the button becomes virtual on the Blynk app and therefore the LED gets triggered now via the virtual button and not the physical. You set up a project on the app and get sent an authorisation token code via email that is pasted into the Arduino sketch, re-upload the sketch in Arduino and Bob’s your Mothers brother, it should work.


Of course getting the sketch to talk to the app isn’t as easy as it’s made out, and as is often the way with Arduino projects you need to get a new bit of kit and in this instance I need a ‘shield’ of some description to act as an interface between the mac and the app, the shield sits on top of the Arduino UNO board. After a bit of back and forth on their forums and reading some anguished posts from others being hit by similar problems (connection via USB seems to be problematic and it doesn’t help that theres a bug in the Blynk app for the recent iOS 9.02 update ) I decided to go with an Arduino Ethernet shield. I would prefer a WiFi shield but Arduino seem to have discontinued theirs! and the ethernet shield is half the price, it will do for now.


A world of  visualised data and virtual control awaits.


An experiment to trigger and manipulate audio using the FaceOSC tool.

Pure data is used to route the audio file into any audio software, e.g. Ableton live or Garageband, then whilst moving the face (eyes, nose and mouth) the sound files can be manipulated.


This is the same thing done via OSCulator.


The audio source files are files I quickly put through a Korg kaoss pad and messed with.

Note to Self:

  • Revisit: This is an unfinished experiment which should have taken just 20 mins, I had x2 versions of it open, 1 in Pure Data and 1 in OSCulator, DUH! hence it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to.


Bare Paint mash up DIY wearable T-shirt.
Arduino breadboard is connected to Bare Paint on x2 nipple stickers, hand over bare paint sensor triggers audio.



Note to Self:

  • Windcheater: There is a similar idea to be explored for DIY wearable with a noise generating speaker cut into the back of a jacket.
  • Arduino Lilypad: I think I may need a Lilypad to pursue the Windcheater idea, it’s a microcontroller board designed for wearables and e-textiles.