2013 Projects
e/h/art 89      
Mind Garden Mind Garden Raphael Arar Klavdia Zemlianova
Mind Garden Emotionwall Metal Heart A Homotopy Study
Carson McNeil Russell Smith, Connor Wilson Raphael Arar Klavdia Zemlianova
Mindgarden is a visualization of a mind's exploration of new ideas. Electrical potentials in your brain are recorded using a 14-electrode EEG, and slowly a record of your thoughts is displayed in the form of a tree. Novelty detection is done, so that if you think thoughts significantly more different than those you have already thought, the tree will expand, growing new branches, whereas if you make no attempt to change your thought patterns, the growth will cease, and the tree will begin to wither and retreat. The water nourishing the tree is a visualization of the raw waveform acquired from your frontal cortex. The Facebook Emotionwall is a new take on the concept of social media and the collection of 'friends' and their status updates. 32 faces cast in silicone from the likenesses of three students are mounted on an acrylic wall, back-lit by individually addressable LED pixels. The pixels (driven by a Raspberry Pi) flash in Morse code handpicked status updates from Caltech students with emotion represented in color. In Metal Heart, a bare solenoid strikes an aluminum-coated model of a human heart at an average heart rate. A fundamental biological human process has now been automated by an electrical circuit serving as a reflection on human autonomy in light of technological progress. A common known theorem in geometry tells us that all three-dimensional compact connected surfaces can be characterized by their number of holes. In this project, I consider this invariant while finding the underlying equivalence between commonly studied mathematical objects and shapes found in our everyday world. I study the continuous maps that transform these objects into the mathematical structures in order to be able to gain a new perspective on how we understand the world.
Alex Jose Rebecca Lawler Hunter Zhao Gregory Izatt
Pareidolian Exoskeleton Persistence of Vision Neurocomposer
Alex Jose Rebecca Lawler Hunter Zhao Gregory Izatt
Our brains are excellent pattern detectors. We recognize faces, bodies, letters, voices - all in hundredths of a second. But evolution has made us perhaps too good - faces spring from shadows and moons, figures from clouds and twisting branches, writing from rocks, voices from wind. This piece, Pareidolian, is an amalgamation of various modes of the phenomenon known as pareidolia, in which the brain attributes significance to meaningless stimuli. Exoskeleton is an illuminated, programmable garment with several components. While attracting attention with the bright EL–wire, the hood almost entirely hides the wearer's face from view, illustrating the precarious balance between attention and anonymity in a modern society. The general shape of the hood, chest and wire designs was inspired not only by armor but also biological forms, like a plated exoskeleton. This piece also alludes to the cultural associations of covering women's heads and modern ideas of modesty as a result. This work is built around a consumer-grade and consumer-friendly EEG neuroheadset, which interfaces with a computer to provide guidance to an algorithmic composer. An untrained user can use this intuitive interface to collaborate with the computer in the creation of unique pieces of music. This music is rendered in real time through virtual instrumentation, providing the user with feedback on the state of the algorithmic composer and the end product of the collaboration.
Sam Jones, Alan Menezes Teresa Liu Shayan Doroudi Julie Jester
The Building Blocks of Life This IS Magritte The Rube Goldberg Machine Automatart Nova
Sam Jones, Alan Menezes Teresa Liu Shayan Doroudi Julie Jester
Interaction with the system, known as Conway's Game of Life, involves setting up an initial condition and letting it evolve. The Game of Life is one of the most famous examples of a cellular automaton, in particular because while the rules are very simple, the resulting evolutions can be very complicated. The Building Blocks of Life allows people to interact with the Game of Life on small grids, to observe how the rules of the Game work. In addition, these small grids can be linked together to make a plane, a ring, or a cube-like surface, allowing the observer to experiment with the geometry of the Game's surface. This is a purely mechanical Rube Goldberg machine inspired by the Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte's works. The motivation of this work is to bring the surreal elements in the paintings into reality, and let them interact. The majority of the parts used to build this machine were purchased in grocery stores (except for the two suitcases, which were ordered online), and the rest of them were recycled. All the parts were put together with glue gun or tapes. What happens when you give a couple robots ink and a canvas? On the surface, you get a (not so elegant) drawing. At a deeper level, Automatart is about search: whether it's the search for a spouse, a criminal, for meaning, for life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness... Often times we are so entrenched in searching for something, we don't know how to react when we obtain what we desire. That's Automatart. Nova uses persistence of vision to create patterns in light via a spinning bar of tri-color LEDs. The LEDs are controlled by an Arduino Mega. Both the batteries and the controller for the LEDs are located in the spinning portion of the device within a small box. The motor is controlled by a separate Arduino Duemilanove and powered via a LiPo battery. The device spins continuously for approximately 20 seconds for pattern viewing and then pauses for 5 seconds to allow for the mechanism to be visible.