(Turn Up Audio, also detail videos of each individual unit further down post)

Taking heavy inspiration from Banksy's pet shop, we wanted to explore connections between machines and human bodies and particularly the ways both could be exploited. Through that we landed on the idea of torture, which fundamentally seeks to expose weakness in whatever it is inflicted upon. With this in mine we started to brainstorm individual units that we wanted to put together into one larger body to convey different aspects of torture (psychological, physical etc). This gave way to the three separate parts that we have in our final product, each influenced in its execution by objects we found at the centre for creative re-use that we felt could be exploited through the use of machinery and as a stand-ins for machinery itself.

The aesthetics of the end result was much more dependant on the tools/construction and frameworks of torture rather than the items from the centre for creative re-use, which lends itself to the unity of the separate parts. The clarity of the cassette tape component definitely needs work in terms of making apparent the action there, with the integration of the IR sensor also proving difficult for this specific component.

A large part of the computation as well as the preparation for construction was done by Harsh, given his knowledge in both Arduino and Physical Computing, with the eye and dunking unit primarily handled by him. More of the construction was done by Breep, as well as the most part of the Casette unit.


Perry and I let this project grow organically. We didn't create any sort of pre-formed idea or plan, but instead let our explorations at The Center for Creative Reuse and the other available resources guide our process.  We returned from the shopping trip with a bag of intriguing junk that we knew had potential to become some sort of disturbing creation, and got to work putting it all together in a way that would be both unsettling and aesthetically pleasing.

We collaborated on coming up with weird ways to use the materials we had on hand, and as Perry is more familiar with what the Arduino can do, he set up most of the physical computing and code. My role was in design, aesthetic input, and documentation.

An interesting note about this project is that because we didn't start with a concept, it was almost ludicrous how it all came together in the end.  One of the random objects we got from The Center of Creative Reuse was a stack of old religious booklets and fliers. When flipping through them near the project's completion, we found out one of the booklets was about a girl named Margaret who had a backstory that had uncanny resemblance to the situation we had put our doll in. And so, accidentally but fittingly, a our project happened upon a narrative.


The development of our automaton was mainly driven by the variety of interesting movements produced by the objects we found at the Center for Creative Reuse. We played around by combining some of the objects and seeing how their interactions changed. We started putting these objects together without one cohesive idea about what the final product would be. The idea was to develop as much character as possible.

The first major element that we liked was the springy antennae. We wanted them to respond to motion and the distance of the observer so we mapped the antenna's angular movement to the observer's movement. Since we had a limited number of motors, we wanted to use the two motors that powered the antennae for other movements, so we attached them to the body of the creature. This produced a pleasing flapping motion that made it seem a bit like a penguin. In the same spirit, we added a variety of springs to the inside of the creature which bounce around and grind against each other.

The final result is fairly simple, but we got some interesting motion and character out of it. It would have been nice to do something with linkages, which we thought about a few times, but never implemented. We also thought about doing something with LEDs on the inside, but decided against it as well. We could have painted it yellow.

The hot glue gun was handled evenly on this project. Weirdie made the hat and wrote the code. Chromsan made the inside and hooked up the wiring.  We both made the antennae.

In progress pictures:

Code can be found here.