computational media – week 5

function RainbowTriangle (transX, transY)

This week I learned how to create functions and objects and how it can be applied to create repetitions and modulations. The code that I chose to do it was kind of tricky because some parts of the variables I used to create it, needed to be defined in the setup function, some in the draw, and some outside both, so I’m not sure if I organized it in the best way. Find the code here. Therefore, I’ll try to do it in another code I created before – the Rainbow Creature.

Ps: finally I got to create a rainbow gradient animation. To do so, I used colorMode(HSB) and a simple variable which goes up to 360 and turn into 0 again:

if (a >= 360) {
a = 0;
fill(a, 120, 180);

physical computing – Learning how to learn and Labs 2 and 3

Arduino, Force Sensor Resistors and LED’s

For the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling to learn Pcomp. I feel that the ability to mix coding with electronics is something that takes a lot of time to assimilate, considering that both are quite new universes for me.

Hence, I started to create new learning strategies to find ways to study on my own and organize information. First, I created a new workflow using the app Notion, which allows me to put together and link in a very visual and accessible way all the resources that I need to quickly access when studying for Pcomp. Secondly, I mapped places where I can find the information I need when doing exercises, for example, the books “Learn Electronics with Arduino: An Illustrated Beginner’s Guide to Physical Computing” and “Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers“, and also the page of the class itself, and the Arduino website. Thirdly, I decided to focus on doing all the labs from the Syllabus instead of trying to be creative or making up applications for the circuits that I’m learning to build. I also printed a lot of things that I need to memorize, such as Arduino’s functions and basic rules for electronics and stuck to the wall of my bedroom, so I can always look at it.

This week I focused on Labs 2 and 3. Lab 2 was about Digital Input, so it purposes using a button to change how LED’s behave. The lab went well, I just don’t understand exactly why do I need a Pulldown resistor to create a button.

Lab 2 – Button and Led

Lab 3 was focused on Analog Input. First using a potentiometer to change the brightness of an LED and then changing the led for a speaker, in a way that the analog signal of the potentiometer changes the frequency of the sound.

Lab 3 – Using forcing sense resistors to change the brightness of LEDS

Last part of the lab was variating the brightness of two different LEDs in sequence according to the pressure applied to two different Force Sense Resistors. In general, I understand well how to prototype, but I feel I need to improve my skills creating and reading the codes and getting to know better how electricity behaves in relation with data and vice-versa.

computational media – week 3

Collective Artificial Fire Flower

This week me, Name and Ray created an interactive firework set in P5.js with three different effects, related to the interactive functions MousePressed, MouseDrag and keyPressed. Although we have different levels of coding knowledge, it was very motivating to work together and come up with solutions for the problems we faced. We basically divided the work in a way that each of us was responsible for one of the three different firework effects and then we co-worked to put the codes together, which turned to be more challenging than we imagined. Find the final version here and my part of the code (done with a lot of group work) here.

computational media – week 2

Animated Rainbow Creature

Check my first animated rainbow creature here.

  • Element controlled by the mouse: Rotation/Color of the triangle; I tried to position the triangle exactly in the center of the square, but I couldn’t. Here is my try.
  • Element changing over time: The rainbow lines disappear. This is actually a mistake. I was trying to create a rainbow gradient for each line – make it change the color forever. But I couldn’t find the correct conditionals.
  • Element changing every time I run the code: the color of the eye.

physical computing – week 2

Switch Lab

This week I created an improvised wearable switch using aluminum paper modeled to fit my fingers. When I touch both fingers, the current starts to flow, activating the circuit and turning on the white LED.

This is a very simple experiment starting to explore the possibility of creating live storytelling performances using special effects activated by the hands and facial expression.

final result

Some brief thoughts and notes about pcomp paradoxes

Last week during the class, Daniel Rozin asked: What’s the price for us to have each day more innovative experiences with Physical Computing? This question keeps resonating in my mind. Furthermore, I thought about two other questions to deepen the reflection: Who has been paying the price? And who gets paid for that?

When we look at “The Treachery of Images”, by René Magritte on a big screen at NYU, we are seeing an image of a pipe that depends on a long colonial history of violent extractivism and genocide to exist. Actually, going back some levels, closer to the roots of the problem I’m trying to describe, the pipe itself, as well as the Tabacco used in it, were technologies created by the native South-Americans, who were using that to access images and virtual worlds much before than we do and without causing any harm to the environment. 

So working with technology for me is inhabiting this kind of paradox. We are working to design a better world, more comfortable ways of interacting with machines or even creating politically-engaged projects, using machines which fabrication is the cause of most of the harmful of the planet and society. 

Another technology paradox is pointed by Donald A. Norman in the first chapter of the book “The Design of Everyday Things”. The chapter is called “The Psychopathology of everyday things”. He says that technology offers the potential to make life easier and more enjoyable and at the same time, adds complexities arise to increase our difficulty and frustration. Each day we are more dependable on specific technicians to deal with everyday issues. 

I see these paradoxes as challenges and opportunities to think and design collectively different worlds – both in the everyday real world and in fictional worlds – or even better, in the intersection of both. 

computational media – week 1

Final result of the “first creature” drawing

This is my first assignment drawing using p5.js web editor. I started the design of a creature that in the future can become an animation, a performance, or both. She has no name yet and probably she doesn’t speak our language.

about the process….

First of all, it took much more time than I thought to create it using code and I found some challenges in my way. Most of them I could solve using the p5.js online library instructions. For others, I feel the need to go back some steps and learn math again, especially to remember how to deal with graphics, angles, line slopes, triangles, curves, and find specific points in the canvas.

Screenshot of the process

I couldn’t understand really well how to position arcs for instance, so I had to change a bit my initial idea for the head of the creature and leave it without hair (or eyelashes). I also tried to save the image as a .jpg file, but I could save it just a completely black or white image, so I took a screenshot to be able to upload it to this blog.

The web editor is great, I can access it from anywhere. I just had one issue with it: after turning on the automatic saving, I stopped saving the project because I thought it wasn’t necessary anymore, however, for any reason I lost my wi-fi signal for a while and once I came back to the editor, I had to refresh the page and it made me lose part of the work. Therefore, I started to save it manually all the time.

Sketches during the process of creation of the creature

Overall, I discovered I enjoy doing it, but it’s hard for me, so I need a lot of time to dedicate myself to it and do it calmly to understand every path of the process of creation. I find it very pleasant to transform math into an image, although it’s difficult and uncomfortable. I also found out that I’m more interested in 3D forms and how to create forms that would be impossible to design in the real world, but I know it will take some time for me to be able to get there.

Introduction to computational media

How does computation apply to my body?

I am the last generation of those who still have memories without the internet. I remember when the internet came to me, at the beginning of the 21st century, while I was still living with my family, in a very small city where I was born and raised. Simultaneously, public space was becoming dangerous – narratives of violence, robbery, and other crimes became commonplace in Brazil. Therefore, the children could not play on the streets as free as before.

frame of a self-portrait video I made 5 years ago using glitch techniques

My child’s body became more at home in the company of machines. At the same time, I began to discover myself as a homosexual and did not find territory around me that resonated with my existence. It was when part of me started to hide – and find myself in a virtual environment. The computer then became an important extension of my existence as a cyborg-body, creating relationships, affections, and shaping my subjectivity.
This is just the starting point of a long way of interacting with computers, but not being purposive due to a lack of knowledge in the field. If the computation is a language, the first step, before being able to think about it, criticize it and design new ways of interacting with it, is learning it.
I’m interested in the way computational affects relations no just between humans, but also between humans and other species. And going deeper, I’d love to investigate how hardware is produced, mapping the paths of the natural resources used to fabricate it, since its extractivist context in the South Global. This could be a base for artistic and educational projects to think about new technology.

Projects I imagine doing this term

For this term, I’m not sure about the projects I want to develop, but I have some guidelines in my mind. In the past year and a half, I was working inside an office for an art institution. This everyday intense interaction with computers, after working as a dancer, made me realize that I don’t want to design experiences to be watched in a standard squared screen, because usually nowadays people have enough interaction with it.
So I’m more interested in designing performances, or collective performances to be tried in real space, interacting with nomadic digital systems and wearables, for instance, augmented reality, sensors, sensible sounds. Although I’m not sure about how computational media is going to apply to that, I know it’s going to be an important part of this desired development.

Projects I love ❤

I don’t know if I love a project specifically using computational media, I don’t even know if it’s possible to make love with machines – actually, this as a question really interests me.
But I remembered two projects I really enjoyed watching. The first one is Visual Sounds of the Amazon, by the Australian artist Andy Thomas. He traveled to the Amazon rainforest to collect the sights and sounds of the jungle and transformed it into visual experiences, with the hope of spreading awareness about its plight.

The other one is a virtual reality experience that I had here in New York last week at the opening of an individual exhibition by the artist Jess Johnson aka Flesh Dozer at Jack Hanley Gallery. She is a drawer who started creating virtual reality experiences in partnership with the 3D artist Dimon Ward. The works invite us to enter portals to impossible architectures and geometries, allowing us to encounter creatures that don’t exist in this world. Really mind-blowing!

“Grand Geometricon” by Jess Johnson, 2019

Previous experiments with pcomp

Instrument for planting invisible seeds

In 2018 I created an interactive object called Instrument for planting invisible seeds. It is akind of Theremin DIY, adapted for a nomadic object, which I created the design and 3D-printed. The invisible seeds are abstract machines populated by the forces we see with closed eyes and whose configuration vary according to the context where they are planted.

This experiment still in process and and I feel I still need to design the body that activates the object while performing it, and somehow connect the work to concepts related to diversity and new forms of agriculture, such as agro-forestry, in opposition to monoculture. 

In order to build it, I used an Arduino Nano, an Adafruit Neopixel led-ring set with a rainbow effect, an Ultrasonic Sensor HC-SR04 and a 3D-printed structure which I designed using Tinkercad. I can’t code by myself, so I found this tutorial to create it and made few changes to set the code and include the led code to it.

Glove part of the series of devices to touch the invisible

In 2017, during a workshop called Introducing Electronic for artists, I started this first try with a wearable, using the Theremino code. I consider this project a simplified prototype for future ideas.

To begin…

I’d like to share part of the application that I submitted to come to ITP. I might pass through a lot of transformations during these two years, so it might be a good idea to remember sometimes what my first intentions and wishes were, who I was and what I did before I came here.

Find here the portfolio and here my personal statement requested as part of the application process.

1 min Introductory video part of the application