Tag Archives: Interactive Installation

Mirrored pyramid creates mirages in the desert

Changes in the temperature and light cause this tower’s nine tiers to morph.

As reported on WIRED, “For a few days in October, a ziggurat of mirrored boxes stood in Dasht-e Kavir, a desert in central Iran. The sculpture contained sensors, gears, and an Arduino processor that sensed changes in the temperature and the light, which caused the tower’s nine tiers to spin independently.” The resulting views of the desert, seen simultaneously from each mirrored surface, are beautiful and ominous at the same time.


This ziggurat was constructed by Italian designer Gugo Torelli and Iranian artist Shirin Abedinirad. As shown on the project’s Flickr page, they used an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), along with five motor shields to control a total of nine stepper motors. The frame and gears were constructed out of wood, before the exterior was covered in a reflective surface.

If you want to see this tower yourself, there are plans to take this tower to New York City, which would make it accessible for many more people. According to Abedinirad’s site, “When installed in a city location it reacts with different animation patterns to the audience interaction, when placed in a natural environment its movement are changing depending on the weather conditions.” It would seem that city observers may see a different behavior out of the tower, but hopefully it will still be incredible!

[Image: Gugo Torelli and Shirin Abedinirad]

This installation makes music out of crushing your belongings

Who knew slowly-crushed toys, electronics and accessories could make such haunting tunes?

Dmitry Morozov— who many refer to as ::vtol::—has returned yet again with another interactive installation. Just days after directing a symphony of robots, the artist is now looking to destroy any object that might happen to be on a person for the sake of sound composition. The unique project, called Oil, is comprised of five 10-ton hydraulic presses that crush practically anything, albeit an expensive smartphone, a pair of cheap glasses or anything in between.


In the process of destruction, a special microphone records the sounds made as the object undergoes deformation, and in just a few minutes, a computer algorithm transforms them into a 20 minutes album. Aside from a customized mic, each Oil station consists of an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), a Mac Mini, and an Apple CD drive. As visitors approach the shop press, they are instructed to steadily pump levers which bear down on an object (in some cases, even a maneki-neko figurine), as it expectedly emits crunching and cracking sounds.


“The project is intended to provoke visitors into spontaneously ridding themselves of material consumer objects for the sake of creating their own individual work of art via deprivation, divestment and destruction. Sound has been taken as the chief medium here with good reason, since sound art is perhaps the least material and most abstract of all genres in art,” ::vtol:: explains. “The technological aesthetic involved constitutes an ironic attempt to make the process of art production into a technological process, but the result, unlike that of mass production, demonstrates a contrary phenomenon – this is a work involving programming and code in the context of generative art, with the potential to broaden the range of instruments at art’s disposal.”

::vtol:: set parameters for how the sound would be processed using Pure Data, Max/MSP and AppleScript software programs. However, as you can imagine, the way in which each thing breaks is unique — especially when a 10-ton hydraulic press is at the helm.


So what do the participants get in exchange for destructing their possessions? The sound production is automatically recorded onto an audio CD and then handed over to the participant, of course. For those wondering if anyone would contribute to the ATmega328 driven installation, over the course of its exhibit commissioned by Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 1,574 tracks were distributed. Looks like ::vtol:: crushed it yet again. (Literally.)

Those interested in learning more can head over to the project’s official page here.

Paint the mood of the city with your tweets

Give an artist paint, they will create a portrait. Give an artist paint and electronics, they will go on to create a true Maker masterpiece. Designed by Oslo School of Architecture and Design students Syver Lauritzen and Eirik Haugen Murvol, MONOLITT is an interactive installation that literally paints the mood of the city, using social media feeds as an input.


The installation takes electronic signals (via what appears to be an Atmel powered Arduino board) and enables them to manifest themselves in the physical world. Using sentiment analytics, the installation links tweets to corresponding colored paints in real-time, feeding them out through the top of the sculpture, letting them flow into a procedurally generated three-dimensional painting.


As the video below demonstrates, when users tweet things such as “annoyed,” the interactive installation triggers certain paint colors that they emit out of the white statute. We can only presume that vibrant globs of paint are associated with positive tweets like “feeling good,” while the darker ones are left for those gloomy days.

This is not the first time we’ve seen the coalescing of art and electronics, and certainly won’t be the last! Interested? Check out the designer’s MONOLITT page here.