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Interactive sound and space

Blob until you drop… Responsive architecture! 

A 4×3 meter room furnished with a couch is the stringent setting for this installation. Aguest enters the room and sits down. he is not aware of the room as an installation but involuntary, he will interacts with his surrounding.
Sensors in the couch register  when the person rests for more than 2 minutes, then, the ceiling will start to reat. He will eventually notice a discreet protuberance which starts building up middle of the white loft. After a while,
the blob-like distortion accentuates dramatically, and the loft seems to respond to the presence of people within the room. When the guest(s) eventually stands up and leaves the couch, the blob looses again volume and the ceiling regains its original shape.This installation uses a stretcht latex surface to simulate the continuum of a white, flat and regular loft.
Pressure sensors built into the couch start the processus of distortion.
To achieve the metamorphose of the loft, a water pump placed on top of the loft pours water drop by drop over the latex membrane. The impacted area gets heavier, the latex stretches towards the floor, gets like a stalactic dripping down from the ceiling and  over the visitors head!

When someone leaves the couch, then a second pump expels slowly the water.
The morphology of the space seems to adapt in real time to situations and activities.It reacts softly and gently, as a kind of organism in interrelation with its content.The installation is not supposed to look like a recognizable art installation but more like a part of a museum building. It should resemble a room where you rest for a while  before taking a look at the rest of the exhibition.

Technical issues

Water:

The dripping blob should require the smallest amount of water possible. It should be strong and able to hold  the weight of the water.
It is also important that the latex gets back to its original shape.

Latex ceiling:

A  latex membrane  of 0.6 mm was chosen. 40 liters of water created the drop form and it flattened afterwards again when water is expelled.

The pumps:

The roof needs to carry 2 buckets in which a pump sucks the water from bucket A to bucket B (see drawing below). The latex is attached to bucket B, which has a hole on the bottom. As the 60 liters of water fills bucket B the latx blob slowly starts to to appear as a drop hanging from the ceiling. The pumps gets activated by sensors noticing a person sitting in the  sofa. When a person gets up, another pump reacts by sucking the water from bucket B back to bucket A and the blob disappear. The blob should be emptied faster (2 minutes) than it´s being filled (3-4 minutes). It gives the blob the movement of a living creature instead of a mechanical device.

Sensors:

The sofa sensor is basically a push button made out of 2 sheets of aluminium foil
separated by foam with holes in it (see below). When someone sits down, the foam presses together, the aluminium layer touch each other. A contact is made between the 2 foil sheets. The sensor is connected to the microprocessor (Arduino) which sends data to a program (Processing) used for our timing system. At the appropriate time, data is send back to the microprocessor and used to switch on and off the relays which are connected to the pumps.

Water level sensor (see above):

A potentiometer is attached to the side of the water container. A rod is attached to the potentiometer, styrene is attached to the rod. The styrene is placed on the water. When the waterlevel moves, the styrene piece follows and the rod turns the potentiometer. It is connected to the Arduino processor used to send data to Processing. By that means, we can read the water level and the size of the blob. Also, this data is used to control the generating of the Soundscape.
Potentiometer –>Arduino –> Processing  (max/msp)–>Arduino –> Controls the pumps)

The soundscape:

The idea of the soundscape is to use the actual sound of the blob. A microphone attached to the inside of the blob captures the sound and processes the sound in realtime. The sound is then played within the room.
Depending of the size of the blob, the soundscape evolves and creates a certain mood, reflecting indramatic ways the morphing of the blob.
Two basic sounds are at play: The water dripping when it grows and the water-sucking when it decreases again.

Credit students:

Aron Fleming (Interactive sound design) / Kristiansstads högskola, Sweeden.
Erinc Malkondu  / Msc. Medialogy, Ålborg university, DK.
Edda Jónsdóttir / Production design, Danmarks Designskolen, DK.
Julia Heuer (textil design) / ABK Stutgart, exchange student at DKDS, DK.