Interactive Object

Create a responsive artifact or system and shoot a short video “around” it.

– The goal of the video piece is not to just document and explain how the artifact works but to tell a story, define a character or situation, make a statement or evoke a feeling using the object.

– The genre can be anything you want: narrative / speculative fiction, performance, mockumentary, candid camera/intervention, faux-advertising.

– The tone can be serious, comical, surreal, ironic etc. You don’t have to convince people that your project is cool or sophisticated, it can be a critical commentary on a certain aspect of technology or envision a potential use of a technology.

– Take the examples we saw in class as a reference

Technical aspects
You can think about the artifact in this way:


Your box has inputs (sensors or switches) and output (actuators). We went through some sensors we have readily available, the simplest way to make something significant happen in the world is to use digital outputs to control extension cords and anything powered by them (light, appliances, power tools, fans…). With the equipment we have in the lab you can easily control up to eight AC powered things.

Aside of AC powered things you can also control motors, stepper motors, bigger colored LED or LED strips, solenoids and other more complex analog actuators. We have plenty of them available but keep in mind there is no universal plug and play solution, if you want to use them you will have to research how those particular component work by yourself.

In any case, here are some notes:

– Both sensors and outputs don’t need to stay on the breadboard, you can get long wires and arrange them in a space. Where these things exist is as important as what they do.

– The computer doesn’t have to be connected once the board is programmed, that’s why you have a 9V battery.

– What happens in the box doesn’t have a boring switch (a sensor turns on something). You can have different states, randomness, delays, some kind evolution. Arduino is programmable and now you know how to program.

– Any input and output can be “dressed up” and loaded with meaning and cultural implications. Technically speaking, controlling a vintage lamp on a sidewalk is the same as controlling a spotlight in a bathroom, but the affordances in terms of storytelling and performance and very different. A big red button on a black box is different from a soft button stitched on a wedding dress.

Due Dates:

– By Monday 11: each one of you posts 2 detailed proposals, possibly with a scheme or illustration on the blog. I recommend one idea using the sensor I assigned for testing and one using another sensor. After the class discussion each group will pick one idea among the 4 proposals, the most original and feasible.

– By Monday 18: Deliver the video, upload it on Youtube or Vimeo.

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