Field (biaxial)

This piece explores the idea that a memorable time, place or experience can be condensed in a singular, physical object that embodies the essential qualities of that experience. It is one in a series of sketches that encapsulate the experience of watching the rise and fall of a summer breeze across a field in a single blade of grass (or a series of blades of grass). Each blade is computationally-autonomous, with the ability to independently sense and respond to its environment. A simple networking protocol is used to propagate wind data through the network, blade by blade. The overall effect of an offshore breeze blowing through a field is startlingly realistic and instantly familiar, in spite of its presence in such a fundamentally re-imagined form. The underlying technology of the sculpture has been designed to be modular and robust. The basic hardware architecture developed for this piece is ultimately scalable to a grid network, allowing for an entire gallery space to be transformed into a dynamic kinetic experience. While it was much more challenging to realize this piece as a collection of decentralized computers, rather than as a monolithic computer controlling a network of addressable sensors and actuators, the individual response each node has to its surroundings is an important conceptual element of the piece. Just as in a real field, each blade responds to wind data in a slightly different way. Each blade is both physically distinct and simultaneously part of a larger aggregate phenomenon. The emergent behavior that comes from the interrelation of independent nodal behavior interpreted in a group context is fundamental to the overall aesthetic effect. The sculpture is interactive, and user presence and proximity to the piece drives the wind velocity input into the system. For Artbots, the goal is to have this interaction take place at either the beginning of the “field” (in which case someone at the far left end, for example, would be empowered to generate a virtual wind for the entire piece) or interaction would occur along the entire length of the piece (someone close to any node in the sculpture would affect wind for that and all subsequent nodes further down, for example). The interaction design component for this piece is currently being fine-tuned, and I am evaluating which option works best for the user and the sculpture.

Field (biaxial) explores the idea that a memorable time, place or experience can be condensed in a singular, physical object that embodies the essential qualities of that experience. It is one in a series of sketches that encapsulate the experience of watching the rise and fall of a summer breeze across a field in a single blade of grass (or a series of blades of grass).  Each blade is computationally-autonomous, with the ability to independently sense and respond to its environment. A simple networking protocol is used to propagate wind data through the network, blade by blade. The overall effect of an offshore breeze blowing through a field is startlingly realistic and instantly familiar, in spite of its presence in such a fundamentally re-imagined form.

The underlying technology of the sculpture has been designed to be modular and robust.  The basic hardware architecture developed for this piece is ultimately scalable to a grid network, allowing for an entire gallery space to be transformed into a dynamic kinetic experience.   While it was much more challenging to realize this piece as a collection of decentralized computers, rather than as a monolithic computer controlling a network of addressable sensors and actuators, the individual response each node has to its surroundings is an important conceptual element of the piece. Just as in a real field, each blade responds to wind data in a slightly different way. Each blade is both physically distinct and simultaneously part of a larger aggregate phenomenon. The emergent behavior that comes from the interrelation of independent nodal behavior interpreted in a group context is fundamental to the overall aesthetic effect.

The sculpture is interactive, and user presence and proximity to the piece drives the wind velocity input into the system. For Artbots, the goal is to have this interaction take place at either the beginning of the “field” (in which case someone at the far left end, for example, would be empowered to generate a virtual wind for the entire piece) or interaction would occur along the entire length of the piece (someone close to any node in the sculpture would affect wind for that and all subsequent nodes further down, for example). The interaction design component for this piece is currently being fine-tuned, and I am evaluating which option works best for the user and the sculpture.

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