UArts DAAT Installation

Choreography inspired, John Cage & Merce Cunningham influenced and institutional built generative interaction wall for the University of the Arts.

Final concept setup

Secondary concept setup

Lit geometric pattern as user crosses white sheer boxes, always randomly selecting color and luminosity, with second stand-by 'show' when no user interacts, providing a 4:33 like experience to both performer and observer alike.

The origin of the UArts DAAT Installation is three-fold:

Old introduction/welcome wall to our department.

  1. Firstly is it based on my undergraduate senior thesis that makes use of fashionable wearables, however rather than imbedding lighting and sensors on X performer and textiles, it imbeds it into Y background (stage, location, prop, etc). The two sides to my year long R&D.
  2. It is randomly generative in it's colors and luminosity brightness, as well it's non-user input setting (a secondary randomly generated performance without a user) based on John Cage's 4:33 live performance. The installation will strive to make no two experiences the same, but still follow a set number of constrictions.
  3. To bring better awareness to the Design, Art & Technology (DAAT) department within the University of the Arts. At the beginning of this build, our only introduction to our department is a blank white wall with a broken television and old promotional material. If this department is to be revitalized (from Multimedia  MMDI to Design, Art & Technology DAAT) it must update is initial appearance to reflect this.

The construct of this  'prop' is based off my senior thesis project and would use the same components. Lighting would be powered off what are known as NeoPixels, micro-sized LEDs with built in resistors that can change to an array of colors and lums and able to be chained up to 500 like a railroad.

The reasoning for the change from textiles and accessories is that a background will always be present it some form, even a black curtain is a black background. If we exert control over this in parallel with the performer, we can present a more coherent and meaningful experience.

My Senior Thesis I video can help better illustrate the possibilities:

Other parallels for this project can be drawn from John Cage's 4:33. Alone without any possible duplication it becomes a gimmick at best, however it does show the interesting possibilities of randomness within performance, if you exert some constraints. These of-course would be the location of the installation, the static sizes of the boxes and the motion tracking when a user interacts with it. This builds a more coherent 'show'. The randomness would again be color, lum and at times pattern or location. You must maintain some sentence of stability to be called a show, else we could call anything within the world a show; but that is for another philosophical discussion all together

On the other hand, many of Merce Cunningham's dance performers tried to push the box on ideas like usage of color and complex stage prop and background. Unfortunately for the time, these constrains where overwhelming and limited ones ability to truly do what one wished, by it via live performance or computer generated illustration. The two examples I show illustrate an almost 4:33 background with no constrains but also no coherent observation via the end-user e.g. audience, while the other is of a Cunningham performance that experimented with color, but had too many constraints. This I hope to find an even balance within these two for the DAAT Install.

Too little constrains

Too many constrains

As this an institutional install and it seems only masters students get refunds (of why I'll never understand) the budget has been an internal constraint of going back and fourth to maintain the initial design concept. Because of the locational movement of the initial concept from the final movement, the final budget of roughly $1030.00 has been reduced to about $600.00, without the addition of unforeseen lumber costs to balance the project in such a narrow space.

Prototyping will take place within 2 weeks after the spring semester of 2015 ends, with construction to begin early in June and finalization to conclude upon my return from studying in South Korea for two months. Because of the legacy value of this build, one senior and myself will do the majority of construction with 1-2 juniors/sophomores assisting so that they can do any repairs in the future following our graduation and leave of Philadelphia.