Monday, December 21, 2009

A Lonely Tree

I finished the first stage of my interactive installation, The Lonely Tree. The Lonely Tree invites people to kick off their shoes and step off the concrete to enjoy a picnic lunch under the shade of an apple tree. Once one enters into this world, there are many surprises in store. Please watch this video for complete documentation.

This piece was made using three Arduinos- two WaveShields and one Motor Shield. To make the flowers and clovers talk, I set up a system of circuits to be connected. When the bottom of each stem (which has a grounded piece of metal on it) makes contact with the underside of it's bush or dirt cluster (connected to separate analog pins), it connects the circuit, thus triggering the sound. The following is the coding I used to make the flowers and clovers talk.
And here is the code I used to make the tree talk when one steps onto the blanket.
The blanket works in the same manner as the flowers and clovers-the underside of the blanket is connected to an analog input pin. Then there is a layer of foam squares separating the positive from grounded metal underneath. When one steps on the foam, it connects the positive and negative, thus connecting the circuit and making the tree talk.
Lastly, the following is the coding I used to activate the Motorshield. I wired a Ping ultrasonic sensor up to the motorshield so that the eyes would blink at different rates according to a range of motions based off of sound.

I consider the piece in its current state a working prototype for a bigger, better, more durable version to come in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled!

Poste by schwa966 at 2:24 AM

Saturday, December 19, 2009

1419 Christmas Show

The 1419 space, an art/theater/music collective on Washington Ave. in Minneapolis, hosted a "Season of Temptation" holiday bash last night. On the second floor was a round robin of bands including Farms, Bad Tanya, Tips for Twat and Early Dreams. On the third floor was a large 4 room installation by members of the University of Minnesota's Bohemian Press. The cake made it's Christmas re-debut, having it's own room and lots more people to enjoy it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Introducing Macy

I've been taking a puppetry class here at the U of M with the amazing Michael Sommers. Check out his theater, Open Eye Figure Theatre. We've made a variety of puppets, my favorite being the hand puppet. Mine is a playful little girl who is usually giggly but cries obnoxiously when made upset. Her name is Macy.

I got really into her inquisitive and naive character, so decided to make a small rod puppet version of her as well to perform in my apple tree installation.

Hopefully I'll play with these in the FantaShanty and get some video of the performances.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Talking Trees

So I've been spending my entire semester learning puppetry and programming on the arduino. It's all coming together (very slowly) into one large, interactive installation. Here is the sketch of what it will hopefully look close to.

The idea is there is constant background music, a non-lyrical version of zip-a-dee-doo-dah, and when you pick a flower, it responds. Well, each one responds differently. In the clover patch there is one four-leaf clover, that when picked, gives you cheers and applause. But until you find it, all the three leaf clovers tell you how wrong and stupid you are. And once you rest upon the giant checkered blanket, the tree comes to life, with blinking apples eyes and sad mumblings of how he wants you to stay.

Stay tuned for images, video and programming code of the final product- to be installed Dec. 16th.

Monday, November 23, 2009

FantaShanty 2010

Together with friends Rachel James, Andrea Steudel, Lindsay Montgomery and Mike Stangler, I wrote a proposal for an ice shanty turned enchanted forest and performance venue. And just after the Cake Party we find out that, Hooray!, the "FantaShanty" (think Fantasy Shanty) was accepted as part of this winter's Art Shanty Projects on Lake Medecine in Plymouth, MN.

"The FantaShanty invites visitors to step off the ice and into a lush, enchanted forest of magic, puppetry and story telling. Guests are welcome to sit in warmth upon soft mushrooms, tree stumps or the grassy forest floor, to listen to readings of their favorite fairy tales and watch live puppet shows. In addition to performances, visitors are invited to drink hot tea and look through the woods for hidden plants, animals, and other magical creatures."

As we begin preparing to face the Minnesota cold, we will be blogging our endeavors here. Keep an eye out and come visit us out on the lake!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cake Party

In collaboration with friend and fellow printmaking grad student Rachel James, we took a spare studio and turned it into, well, a cake room. The cake, a 6ft tall structure on wheels, got surrounded by a conglomeration of bright colors and soft textures. The following few images are from our more "formal" photoshoot.

Costumes were required for all. The party featured hot pop (by Ben Garthus and Sam Hoolihan), cold pizza, lots of cake, Jello, lunch lady Miss Andrea Steudel and break dancing by Bryce Davidson.


After years of putting off blogging (due to lack of good title ideas...seriously), I finally gave in. I was so close to going with Robin Schwartzland, but thinking that might be too close to a personal amusement park, I ultimately settled with robin schwARTzman. Anyhow,I'm hoping to keep this updated with new caricatures, puppetry endeavors and current art projects. Stay tuned!