Conception: How to create Interactive Art with an Arduino.

This is a documentation of my completion of an interactive art piece which is based around a motion sensor powered by an Arduino. My aims for this public documentation is to bridge the gap between the intrigue and intimidation around foreign subjects such as electronics and show that Arduinos are not as daunting as they seem. To make basic capabilities function in an Arduino, it only requires simple coding which can be done by students, artists and literally anyone. It only takes a little bit of time to create something which is fun to complete and will surpass your own expectations of yourself. Hopefully this sparks interest around electronics and also creates action whereby people chose to take on their own projects!

CONCEPTION

Daniel Rozin is a contemporary artist renowned for his interactive pieces which closely resemble a mirror and the actions of a mirror. Upon viewing ‘Pom Pom Mirror’ scrolling through my tumblr feed, I was immediately drawn to it, the concept and its execution. I thought it was extremely fascinating and intricate and I was left wanting to know more! What were the materials? How did it work?

P1 P2

The art gods were on my side as I found this work just as the topic of Arduino was the theme of one of my university classes and I soon realised that the two were very much so linked. Upon further research, it turns out that this particular work of Rozin’s consists of over 900 individual motors and the movements of the pom poms passing through each other was far too advanced for my limited mechanical knowledge. Despite this, I still wanted to pursue creating a replica of Rozin’s concept of reflection as a reaction but through the use of tiles which were mirrored on one side and black on the other and would flip 180 degrees according to a distance sensor detecting movement’s close by.

After talking with a university tutor, I was informed that the entire cost of material would be over $500 and would also be a very time consuming and laborious task so I soon discarded the idea. Still wanting to work with motion-sensored reactive mirrored tiles, I considered the idea of lines or geometric structures to create a mirror. I then decided on the simple grid layout as it would replicate a real standard shaped mirror and would be most effective in creating wonderment as it is the most life like.

I had many questions regarding the functionality of it:

  • What kind of motors were needed to make the tiles move?
  • What range of motion did they possess?
  • Were these movements able to perform in the desired way?
  • How many motors were needed?
  • Would the size of the tiles would be influenced by the motion of the motors?
  • HOW DO I USE AN ARDUINO?!
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