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Kenneth Mark II

Filed under: Arduino,Processing — frm @ 3:20 pm

This summer I went travelling around the Iberian Peninsula, partly because I had some of my work accepted for the exhibition accompanying the 2011 Bridges Conference on connections between art and mathematics, in Portugal – specifically, a large print of my generative art still ‘Vortical‘ and my interactive installation based on waves, Kenneth (see the visualisations it works with here).

Since I planned to travel all over Spain and Portugal carrying this thing, I figured I’d better make something more portable than the beautiful fire-engine-red box that Tom Hardiment made me for Kenneth Mark I, which was originally a solid hardwood drawer. I took the opportunity to give it a completely different aesthetic.

I was always torn between two looks for controls for my animations – either they should be hyper-futuristic, like a starship control panel, or stained wood and brass like the machines and instruments of the Victorian era. I have always had a thing for antique scientific equipment, so I can understand why steampunk has become such a big thing. I decided to go with wood and brass.

Kenneth Mark II knob macro


It’s about control

Filed under: Arduino,Processing — frm @ 6:58 pm

Interactive animations need intuitive controls to make them easy to play with. Since they always have a bunch of parameters to control, dragging with the mouse always seems a bit clumsy.

Slider arrayI figured that what’s really wanted is a bank of sliders and buttons to play with, each controlling a parameter. That way people can walk up to the controls as if they were approaching the bridge of a starship, and just twiddle them however they feel.
The Box by Daylight

Now, with the help of the Dorkbot Alba team, I finally have the controls I’ve long dreamed of, in the shape of a box with six sliders, five buttons and two glowing switches. It is a thing of beauty.

PLAYThe obvious next step once you have a good interface for a set of generative animations is to start putting them in public places for people to experiment with, I think. (more…)