Shadows and Whispers: Emerging Forms at the Edges of Nature was a workshop that produced an environment mounted within a stone barn in Lessac, France. The workshop brief asked evocative questions, speculating that within whispering sounds, new voices might be heard, and within glimmering shadows, dream-like worlds might be seen. Could nature and technology cross over and combine into new forms? What can we learn from the patterns of nature and, in reverse, what can we offer nature? Could the subtle boundaries between artificial and natural worlds hold keys to new kinds of harmony in our expanded, turbulent world?
The final environment consisted of a projection screen, sound and lighting devices, and numerous skeletal interaction systems making a theater of shadows and garden of forms. The installation was accompanied by a performance in which fourteen participants and four staff members brought together text, sound, and movement. The performance involved a gathering in the Domaine’s exterior environment followed by participants moving and encircling the construction. The kinetic installation contained microprocessors and devices from the LASG’s customized electronics system. Four construction kits including introductory stations, scaffolds, geometry explorations, and electronics hardware and software were combined to support the exploration and creation of polyhedra, geotextiles, and truss systems, activated by electronics and sound.
The Shadows and Whispers workshop preceding the installation focused on sound, light, and the boundaries between movement and sound. Initial intensive building exercises included a series of experimental perception exercises. Patterns of movement, clapping, whispering, and singing led to phased overlapping systems. These collective exercises were accompanied by talks and explorations. Talks reflected on elemental patterns that move from mineral and inert states into sentient living matter. In the final installation, fields
In the Toronto studio leading up to the workshop, I spent a lot of time working on all aspects of the workshop. I worked on the design of laser cut kits that were used in the workshop (and will be used in future workshops as well). I focused primarily on the design of the electro-mechanical systems such as the servo turntable, and modified flashlights (to save on cost I had the idea of modifying AliExpress flashlights with a single resistor and 4P4C modular connector to integrate into our electrical system), and servo metronomes.
I also planned the main electrical system for the workshop making use of the pre-existing electrical system used in sculptures. The existing electrical platform was already compatible with the Smart Actuator Interface programmer (a custom ___ built by LASG for workshops and classes), and with modifications to actuated components such as flashlights and servos we could incorporate modular cables to simplify the system. This was a significant improvement to last year's workshop which was breadboard based which lead to participants having to overcome a much higher technical barrier to create their kinetic sculptures.
Apart from the physical systems I also helped plan the workshop structure, how participants would be introduced to the kits, how do we introduce the electronics, and how much time we should anticipate from trouble-shooting electrical issues.
I think a good way to summarize my role during the workshop would be “tech crew” + extras.
I led sessions on setting up the electronics stations for groups and supported them through wiring and programming their sculptures. I also advised on mechanical design for certain systems helping bring participants’ visions to reality.
Another key part of my role was trouble shooting and solving technical issues. Some examples of solved issues we ran into on site were network communication issues between Raspberry Pis, cabling issues splicing 6P6C cables to 3P cables for PWM communication, too much friction within mechanical systems, and so many more.
images, Background, and install description taken from LASG page: https://livingarchitecturesystems.com/project/shadows-and-whispers-emerging-forms-at-the-edges-of-nature/