ALEA JACTA EST COLOR

Alea Jacta Est Color is a P5 sketch is a program to make interactive digital drawings. The concept behind it has to do with the ideas of chance, probability and play. This drawing is also related to the Dada, Minimalism and Fluxus movements and the modern Avant Garde art movements in general. The idea of following intructions and doing an artwork that does not require a special ability to create, different than the will to do it, and the decisions to invest you time on doing it. It is the first digital version of a series of drawings I did some time time ago, called ALEA JACTA EST. To see the project please visit  www.nicolassanin.com or see the images at the end of this post.

Why did I do a digital version?

By doing a digital version the creative possibilities expand, and also the possibility for anyone to create a drawing is easier for the common user, than using materials such as papers, canvas, wood among other traditional and both traditional means of expression. But more important than that, It also allows the data gathering more effective, precise and easy for the user.  Another advantage is the possibility to share the final result as a digital image, and also as a printable file, not even mentioning the infinite possibilities that a digital file can offer. The idea is to follow the guidelines provided in the screen:

“Roll the die and enter the color! To complete the drawing roll it 100 times… have fun!”

The user finds a six sided color die dice next to the computer. The computer has the same colors as the dice on 6 keys. When the user or users decide to finish the drawing they can export the resulting image by pressing another key that will print it to a jpg file and will reset the program to start the next drawing. At the bottom of the browser’s windows, the user can also see the amount of times each color has been rolled. The user could also cheat and write the colors he decide to…

The process

The process was thinking about how to set the amount of squares and rolls of the dice. An other decision was about choosing the colors. The idea was trying to get some bright colors that would create strong contrasts, vibrations and color interaction in resulting image. Colors that could also be tracked by a camera that would detect the results every time the die was rolled. The idea was to have a grid that would have enough quantity of squares to make it an interesting image, and also to gather some information about the die. The next step was thinking about how to write the code to make the program draw each square of the grid. First I created different variables such as the colors to be written in the canvas and the keys to be pressed. One for counting the results of each color. A variable to set the end of the drawing. I used the push function and used the key pressed function to activate the keyboard as an input to select the color to be printed in the canvas. An array was created for the colors. Also a HTML element to write the instructions for making the drawing and communicating the number of times each color resulted from rolling the die.

Things to be improved for the next versions

Something that would be good to have is a camera detecting the result of the die and the program writing it to the canvas. The possibility for the user to change the times to roll the dice to complete the drawing and the size of the squares and the canvas. Assigning a sound for each color, so the program would play a sound each time the die is rolled. Also the possibility to play the sequence both, as an animation and also as a sounds score at the end of the drawing process. The possibility for the program to keep record , to store the resulting images, and also the possibility to compare the results from the different drawings that are made. The possibility to also create a drawing with the traditional six side dots, similar to the previous paper version I did before.

the link for the p5 sketch code:

http://alpha.editor.p5js.org/nicosanin/sketches/B14vCqy-G

 

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam Project

References and purpose

The main influence for this project is my hometown Bogota. It is a chaotic city. It was originally planned as a “damero” squared kind of city, but then it became an ever expanding place with only one constant: improvisation. The transportation system and also the street and highways where not improved as the city expanded because of different social and economic dynamics. More and more population came from the country side to the city running away from violence and looking for work and better opportunities at factories and new enterprises. Transportation system hasn’t been public, so bus companies have been sabotaging the building of the subway for more than a hundred years. For almost every mayor election, one of the main subjects is building the subway. There are more sketches and studies for building the subway than words in the Coran, Bible and Thora all together…

So that’s why in Bogota we spend a lot of time stuck in traffic jams. We have no choices like the subway. If we use the bike it’s dangerous because of lack of safe routes and the reckless driving of people. Some people spend two and a half hours on busses or cars going to work and the same on their way back. It’s a serious issue. The quality of those hours is terrible also, it’s not possible to read or even seat in most cases. So you have two options, to be patient and laugh or stress out and suffer a heart attack… But we definitely have to change this situation urgently.

For this project I have many references. The second one might be the futurist movement in early 20th century in Italy. They where interested in technology and they even worshiped new technology and wanted to break the links to the past and almost all tradition. They ended up showing many contradictions in their works of arts and ways of doing art, that’s why we can go to Museums and see their works of art (made in traditional materials as bronze and paining on canvas). They wanted to burn museums but now their works are displayed at the most “important” ones or more mainstream at least.
Something that interested me was how ridiculous their performances and sound pieces seemed to people and would also sound to us if they did them now. Also how the machines that they worshiped seem so outdated now and obsolete compared to newer versions. Also there is the dada movement and their love for creating imaginary machines or useless machines, which could be seen as ways of pointing out how technology on it’s own hasn’t improved mankind at least from a moral point of view.

So this project is a way of disrupting routine with a performative sound and visual experience. The idea is generating a playful simulation of the city landscape and some of the actors. The idea is creating a tension between noise and music. Teasing the audience so they react in their own way, but they will think about our ways of living in the city and also about the current use of technologies as cars, trains, buses and other transport systems. The idea is for everyone to feel invited to really dream about how they would like to move around in the city in some years and also about how will the city soundscape will be in the not to distant future. Also that the audience to have fun and to be engaged in playing “music” or “noise” and interacting with others like everyone interacts in the streets….

There are millions of other references, just to name a few: Science fiction stories and films: Blade runner. Tv shows like the Simpsons and Futurama. 80’s show Automan, The Transformers, Disney’s Cars, among many others…

Where to do it?

This could work in different formats of happenings. I think it would be more interesting to do this in quiet places like parks or others, to create a contrast form the noise of streets. Also to reinforce the absurdity of the noise that is being produced.

Aesthetics

I think this should look teasing as toys and musical instruments. It has to create a desire to be engaged and also not being to fancy or complex to intimidate potential users.

How?

At least 3 instruments to be available for people to play with them. Also a CD player with recorded tracks that play different music. People can choose to interact with that music or just with the sound they are producing.

Some keywords

Humor vs criticism / sense vs none-sense / noise vs music or harmony / fancy vs trashy / serious vs funny / Ridiculous vs important / Musical talent vs non musically talented / Kids and adults / Individual vs collective / divergent / fun / play / inviting / Traffic problems / questions / solutions / debate /connections.

Night delirium!!!

 

The moment I saw King Charle’s Elephants I fell in love. They are as expressive as can be… Then I imagined them spinning and moving in not too fluent movements as real elephants move.

So finally, the moment came to do a project with a motor at ITP.  It seems easy to work with a little motor at first sight. But then the problem arises: how to attach it so it can work properly? and how to attach  firmly the components it is going to move?

I looked at all the types of motors and systems of anchorage. I finally decided to chose this motor because of the way it worked, of the price, but also because it had a possibility to be mounted with screws on the side

As good pilots do, I checked the engine. So I started working… I got some scraps of wood, some screws and also the wheel I decided to buy for assembling the motor to the platform that would hold and spin the elephant. The assembling of the wheel was simple. The hardest part to figure out was how to attach the motor to a firm surface. After giving it various thoughts, I decided to create a wooden base to hold it. It worked better than imagined and I put some screws to make sure it will still remain in it’s place.

Then I focused in assembling the wheel to the platform. I  used a system of screws and nuts to do so. And after having a firm grip between both surfaces, I decided to glue the elephant to the decorative surface. Then I turned of the Arduino after strugling with cable issues (P-Com typical problems) After that it finally rotated. It was a beautiful moment. That simple movement made me feel as when I was a child at school…

So this was the process in images:

 

 

It’s magnetic dog!

It’s simply magnetic!

Magnetic!

The process for this final photography frame was not as simple s it may seem.

The idea was to take two materials and join them using something else for that purpose. I decided to play with magnets and some other material to create something interesting. I the thought about delicate, soft and light materials such as paper or light wood or even fabric. I also decided to avoid the use of glues or traditional joining methods as screws and nails. I made that a rule. I first started to play with the polarity and properties of the magnets. They seemed so nice at the beginning…

After a while I started noticing how sensitive they are, and how strong! (sounds like the perfect catch)

So I played with them and wood and created figures making junctures with magnets putting the wood together. So I then thought about bringing some functionality to the idea of joining wood and metal without gluing or using screws or nails, or staples. I then remembered I just received some nice photos from a recent holiday. So I decided to make a minimalistic kind of frame, that would allow the user to put a picture easily and also to change it for another, that way rotating the pictures once in a while… Another issue about framing photography is the problem of gluing the picture to a surface. It’s quite expensive and often difficult to do. You better us expensive acid free glue and acid free mat boards, etc. And after you complete the expensive process of doing such, you already want to frame a different picture instead of the one you invested your money in.

So I tried to make a very simple frame only using soft light wood, the photo printed on photographic paper, and wood to work as the structure between the paper and the metal structure. After 5 hours or more of struggling with the magnets and losing all the structures by the point before I finished to make the frame. I had to redesign many times on the fly, so it could work many times, with different users.

It finally worked when I started to remove more and more magnets and elements like wood. I found out that the Bauhaus principle “less is more” really applied to this idea. So after fighting against magnetism and it’s treacherous behavior, I finally could assemble the frame. It’s a beautiful frame, but it’s not as practical as you could imagine. You have to be very careful when dealing with magnets while you mount your pictures. One minor movement and they go crazy!

In the end the result is magnetizing, its beautiful to see how straight and flat the pictures look and how the light and brittle quality of photographic paper is displayed. The downside is how fragile this frame can be… But then again, it’s built for being changed and customized, not as a permanent frame.

Color makes you happy!!!

I decided to do something related to one of my passions: Painting. I love painting and geometry. I also like the idea of playing and painting. And something else I love is education. I wanted to try to bring laser cutting and painting together, so interesting results could come into place. Then, I decided to take this idea of the main questions about what a painting is or can be. As Frank Stella wrote:

“There are two problems in painting: finding what a painting is, and the other is making a painting”

So with this game of color and shape, I thought I could explain to my little nephews what I sometimes do as a painter.  I think the best way to learn and to teach is putting your mind and your hands into action. So I designed this simple but fun to play with painting-color puzzle, that is open to modification by the users.  I’m thrilled about trying it with them!

The process was simple. Taking a basic shape from one of my paintings, with the basic shapes it is constructed. They are part of a pattern known as the Penrose patter, named after Roger Penrose, a genius!!! I then laser printed the base into wood, and then printed the same shape into acrylic several times. I decided to paint the acrylic so it could have a mat side an a glossy one, and also to be able to ad texture in one side, to be able to have the contrast with the other glossy smooth side. I chose the “basic” closet to primary colors, as as starting point for an ever expanding constellation of color possibilities to play with. I also left some transparent shapes, so they can paint them with colors the decide to use. I’ll teach them someday about using the laser, so they can make more shapes and expand their game!

I’m happy to have a Christmas present for Mati and Salvi, I hope they enjoy this a I do!

 

5 “Exact” attempts to do the same !!!

I chose to do a frame, because I love photography and art in general, and also because I found that to be really complicated, so I thought I would learn a lot, even if I didn’t make the “best” pancake at my first try. As an artist, you often have to produce an exhibition without a good budget, and it’s god to have resources to be able to achieve a solution for this problem. It’s also important to lear how to create a workflow that optimize time, money and also offer you flexibility in the process. Another important point is that you need to understand how frames, so you can think about the design of the frames in a more complex design (even if you don’t make them).

“YOU DON’T MAKE FRAMES WITH THE TOOLS OF THE WOOD SHOP AT ITP” It’s actually great advice what Ben Light said. I always believe what he says and look forward to apply all the knowledge he shares with us. But I decided to do it, not to probe him wrong, but as an exercise to try to organize the process in the bestsellers possible way, as stated before. And I also wanted to learn how to use the different tools from the workshop.

The process:

I made a simple sketch, based on a cheap little frame for pictures.

Then started to get the materials. I followed the next steps:

1) Learned how to use Router.

2) decided the size of the frame (I chose to chose a square size for a picture of 14 cm, instead of a rectangular format) This way I could optimize material, make process faster, and also have more exotic frames). 

 

    3) I routed de material. (before I cut it so I could have a decent and comfortable size for routing, but also an efficient one)
    4) I cuted the material in smaller sizes so I could do the cuts in the rounded blade cutting machine. In the process I managed to cut a couple of 45 degree angles that would fit ok, so I could compare all the cuts to those, making the process more efficient and accurate as possible, considering the tools I chose.
    5) I sanded a lot more material than I would actually needed, so I could have more options of wood that were closer to “right 45 degree angles”. I got close
    6) Glued and assembling the frames. (I wasn’t able to do it on time for class. I got to the point of having the materials ready to do it, but my time runned out.
    7) Filling the gaps of the angles, sanding and painting the frames.
    Conclusions:
    I could have tried also to use the square framing with holes on the sides and with a proper screw system. (Something I will try soon)
    I worked many hours but could not get the work done. I think i will have them ready sometime soon, but the important part was really learning how to work with the tools in the best possible way, but more important than that, was that I think I managed to make a good process even without finishing. But “don’t Blame the tools, blame the carpenter”. I’m not as efficient as I might become if a continue learning.
    I learned how it is really possible and necessary to be able to change the design and adapt it during the fabrication process. In this case the format of the frame and also changing some of the final components that I would use. (glass for plexiglass, mdd for cardboard, and plastic, for some plastic pieces for motors that I found.  Improving the efficiency and functionality of the frames.
    Things to improve: Finding a way to complete the product in the deadline. Be more adaptable and open  to other times of solution that would have allowed me to have them on time.
    I continue to aprecciaite the hard and accurate  labor of the framers and carpenters, they are genius!!!
    I hope I can soon have them ready, so I can post a picture of one of them with a nice picture on them!

 

“In God we trust!!!”

It finally came into place… I tried to understand and figure out how to calculate the amount of energy for the LED’S, but after many attempts time almost run out. I was freaking out… collapsing physically and emotionally… I didn’t want to Plan b, or c or d.  But I had to!!! There was no time left. No room for error or failure. Kind of a do or die situation. So I called my brother in law for clearing information about the electrical part, so I could solve the energy LED issues (he is an electrical engineer). Honestly, I still don’t fully understand how electricity works, so I’ll have to put my head and hands into it, to accomplish more complex tasks. He advised me to just use direct connection between the LED and batteries. I had seen many tutorials on the web (Instructables and you tube), with simple projects accomplished in this kind of way. So I decided to give it a try, and to adapt to my resources (materials, time). Where all about going to the basics: Connecting a LED straight to a power source in this case two AAA Batteries. So I began to improvise, and I finally got to the point of having a working flashlight with to possible modes. The flashlight goes in on mode while you connect the cable with your fingers, and always on, if you lock the cable between the coins. The interesting thing about it, is that that user has to find the way to do it. It only takes a couple of seconds for some, and sometimes minutes.

I looked at all this kind of tutorials like the list in the following link:

I also added as a picture, the process of building Flashlight, by one of the members of the Instructables community, that was the main inspiration for my plan A for the Flashlight.

https://www.instructables.com/howto/CAPACITORS+FOR+LED/

I made lots of mistakes… millions of them… Next post will be about that, and how I became aware through this exercise of many bad habits I have. But also positive things that I also have to work to make better use out of them. The lesson of the week is work harder, (time plus PI) and “Trust in god” as it is written in the penny that solved my final problem of having a confortable “button” or trigger for the flashlight. I also fell into an obsession of doing the electrical part in a way beyond my knowledge at this point, that almost got me into not solving the challenge. I wanted to do the most beautiful and functional flashlight I could, but I realized it wont be done in the first attempt. So grandma said many times “the devil wanted to make his son so perfect, that his son’s eyes were twisted” Forget about perfection, but keep working to improve. Never give up!

What did I learn from my mistakes? (NEXT POST)