Spring 2012 at Parsons The New School for Design
On the theme of Inside Curiosities, Parsons 1st-year MFA Interior Design students created a one-night event and exhibition using only reclaimed and donated materials. We explored the supplied theme within the context of the word effervescence—how might one render a sense of effervescence through space, materiality, food, drink, interactive systems, performance, service, light, and sound? Guests from across the design community were invited to Parsons to meet students, learn about the new MFA program, and enjoy the evening with food, drink, and live music.
My contributions to the event included two interactive projection systems and live music.
The live projections comprised two setups. For the first, I built a plywood, wall-mounted support to hold a laptop, webcam, and projector. The webcam captured video of guests moving about at the entryway to the event. This video input was then sent through a program I wrote in Processing to abstract the feed into a flickering array of yellow and white pixels. The resultant moving image was then projected onto a large, sheer curtain—as guests entered the event, they were greeted by a vision of their own movements rendered as an effervescent, color-filled surface.
For the second system, I built three plywood, ceiling-mounted boxes, each of which contained a laptop and projector. Each laptop, running its own version of another Processing program I had written, drew at random from its own bank of photographs to slowly reveal abstracted images of citrus fruits on the main wall. Since each of these computers ran the program at its own pace, the wall offered an ever-changing digital painting.
For the live music, I performed a 2.5-hour improvisation using electric guitar, laptop, keyboard, MIDI foot controller, and an iPhone. Processing of the guitar was done in real-time. Using programs I wrote to send accelerometer and touch data wirelessly from the iPhone to Max/MSP (in OSC format), I was able to control the sound of the guitar through physical gestures like tilting the phone (which was attached to the front of the guitar). This setup afforded having hands free to play the instrument, and also of not being tied to the computer.