Archive for December, 2007

Softness Combination Lock Final

Friday, December 21st, 2007

For my final I wanted to revisit my combination lock / puzzle, but this time changing the surface making it more pleasing to the touch. I sketched out some designs to help express my ideas. Here’s what I came up with.

The next step was to build and explore surface materials. Since I had little time to laser cut my pieces I decided to make my next puzzle out of wood and neoprene. Scavenging basswood from blink and sporting wrap from K-Mart I came up with a cylindrical design. I wanted to use a more organic shape but this proved to be a bit difficult due to lack of skill on my part.

I first set out to cut out 7 circular pieces out of the basswood. Then I cut out the slits for the key.

Next step I hand cut the braces for the pieces then glue them to the ends of the object. Rubbing wood glue to both pieces always guarantee a secure attachment - advice form Thomas G.
braces attachment

Now it’s time to make the key. this is done by taking a slice of wood and with the Exacto knife, space and cut out the ridges. This took some playing with while adjusting the circular joints. At times I had to shave off pieces of wood to make it fit.


After fitting all the elements together it was time to seal it with the neoprene. but somehow I got the bright idea to add an LED to the device. I managed to fit it in the base so when the key is all the way in it closes the circuit. It was quite difficult getting the circuit in. Thus it broke while I was testing.

Anyway, having little experience with the neoprene I found it hard to work with. It was a bit thicker than I would like and applying the fabric glue made it too messy for my liking. But I stuck with it and after a few tries was able to glue the neoprene to the wood.


I also wanted to add beads for sound when shaken. But I decided to leave that to future revision.
All sealed up and ready for testing I had Stephanie demo it. the combination was very easy for her to figure out but she really liked how it felt.

IN class I had some good feedback when I presented it. So far most liked how it felt. I think most got the concept and would be interested in future versions. My personal critique was that it was too big. I would really like to play with other shapes and try to introduce a narrative with these objects, making the more than a puzzle. Making it more complex while simple with a soft touch is a great task I foresee. having them laser cut will be a great help in the future.

Here are some links I found interesting with respect to puzzles.

Rob’s Puzzles

Puzzles in Wood

What Was The Feeling?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

What do you feel? This is the title of my latest work for Interactive Screens and Cinematic Objects. It evolved from my interest in observing while manipulating people who are cast in various situations. I use the word CASTS because they become actors on the stage which I create. In this case it’s a dark closed room with stagnant tentacle-like fabric. I was not too sure about the content at first, being distracted and all, but I was sure that I wanted to evoke a sense of confusion and disillusion. Sadistic isn’t it? Anyway, I spent the weekend plus a few days looking at, gathering and editing footage. I settled on scenes from “Juliette of the Spirits”. Not my initial attempt for I wanted to create my own footage. This was not possible within the SCOPE at that timeframe. let me go back a few, my initial set-tup involved four screens in a room, a video camera and an outside monitor with delayed surveillance of the subject inside the room.

Top view


What an ambitious tasks, which I thought I would pull off. But I started way too late. Having discussed my challenges with Marina she suggested scaling down a bit. This meant using two screens instead of four and rethinking the content if need me. I did want to make the room immersive, where the cast felt uncomfortably alone if not trapped for a few minutes. To accomplish this I wanted there to be only one occupant per session. Also, there is sound to further heighten the sense of disturbance.

The Building Process:

I was very fortunate to have a professor, Nancy H, lend me her office for the final event. so on top of building the content I had to transform her office. I started by clearing most of her furniture and installing black drapes on all four sides, making it dark if not dismal. It also made the room feel colder and since the black drapes have been folded and locked away for about a year it smelled really bad. This was unexpected and troubled me a bit. But little did I know that it would add to the experience of the cast. Fore the tentacles I used white Japanese silk and cut then into strips. I then hung them from rows of fishing line stretched across the top of the room. I’d like to add here many thank to Felipe who came in after work and helped me transform Nancy’s office. So many great people at ITP.

The next stage was then to put the screens and speakers inside the room, wire-up and test. This of-course took the next day since I was still compiling footage. I did not quite make it complete and took some short cuts, which the crits called me on.

The event and crits:

So here’s what I ended up doing and here were some feedback I received from the class crits…

Video content of: What Was The Feeling?

It was difficult to critique collectively because there was a limit ti how many people could go in at the same time. So we decided to make it two while simultaneously critiquing someone else’s work. Most said that i nailed the immersiveness- if there’s such a word. They also liked the sound and the fabric, which frayed over time adding to extra cling. The content left most lost, was very difficult to understand and the use of text totally made people loose the little grip they had of the concept. That’s where I cheated because I was lacking footage. Marina questioned and encouraged me to explore different materials for the tentacles. maybe a different colour, abrasion, etc…

Further thoughts:

I was surprised how due to the constraints of the room and other factors, how the project evolved. At the end I was pleased even though for me it obviously lacked the narrative I wanted to convey. I learned alot and would actually like to explore this project some more. maybe research some other artists’ works who delved in the disillusion and manipulation of the subject.

Here are some works I found intersesting:

Turnstyleurnstyle: Interactive Border Door
Because I am an avid traveler I found the immigration border control topic interesting.

Imitating The Dog:
I thought this had some reflection to my work. Would love to experience this performance.

More to come.

One last note: An immersive moment for me aside form diving, was a time when I almost drowned. I almost drowned 7 times as a kid so I know what it feels like to have water in the lungs. Anyway, that time I was dropping fast, but it felt slow and it was very tranquil. I did not resist and was just letting it happen. I saw things, things today I cannot explain, but it was beautiful and peaceful. Then someone saved me.

I would like to create a somewhat similar experience for others. Of course without the death part.