RotoGoboScope : Light + Motion Sculpture

we took some pictures of the rotogoboscope motion light sculpture at the gallery it will be displayed at until april 2012
a motion light sculpture captured with still photography

What is this RotoGoboScope?

The lantern that won the People’s Choice Award at the IllumiNite event in Edmonton!

The RotoGoboScope is an innovative lantern that combines colorful LED lights with rotating mechanisms to produce a fantastic moving light-scape of patterned dots. It features custom electronics that are built into refurbished coffee cans, which are mounted onto a tower made of re-used metal scrap.

 

What does the name mean?

Well, “Roto” is for rotating. “Gobo”  is short for “Go-Between”, and refers to an object that is placed in front of a light source to control the shape of the light emitted.  And “Scope” like in kaleidoscope, a device that creates moving color patterns.

 

This lantern is a creative extension of  my Can-O-Lantern series of decorative LED lamps, currently sold by Crystal Cradle. I have been handcrafting LED lamps using upgraded coffee cans for about 3 years.

RotoGoboScope was originally built for IllumiNite – and outdoor light design competition organized by Edmonton on the Edge.  It was installed outside for a night, in the park behind Sobey’s on Jasper Ave. The nook it got tucked into was awkward, but the reception was excellent – the RotoGoboScope captured the delight of its viewers, and won the People’s Choice award!

 

Good news – this amazing lantern is currently on display at the Cool Stuff Exhibit! You can find it at the University of Alberta Museum in Enterprise Square (10230 Jasper Ave) from March 22nd – March31st.

 

What is it made of?

Composed of  approximately 95%  upgraded metal scrap, plus some custom-built electronics.

The upgraded scrap components include :

  • 6 bicycle wheel rims – from the local Bike Repair Collective
  • steel EMT pipe – from an outfitter tent repair job
  • a laundry machine drum – scrap yard special
  • a clothing display stand – someone must have donated this to our pile without asking
  • 3 coffee cans – readily available
  • hard-drive platters – from old computers

The rest of the parts are :

  • 9 1-Watt LED’s —  red, white, yellow, and green
  • 3 rotating gear-motors
  • various electrical components – drivers, transformers, connectors and wires
  • 1m steel tube and shaft

It runs on regular household electrical current (110V AC) via transformers, or directly on a 12V DC battery.

 

Sweet. What does this light look like in motion?

I thought you’d never ask.

Can I Get One?

Soon. There aren’t any ready made, but you can commission one.   This one is rent-able for special events. The Can-O-Lantern series of lamps are available at Crystal Cradle.

Spaceport Video Shop Tour

SpacePort Studio Pan/Tilt Video Tour

I do some fun geek support projects for various other artists, and the other day I got to play with a remote control pan/tilt unit (from servocity.com) that some fellow Edmontonian artists are using for a film project.  My job was to ensure that the parts for the motion control systems all talked to each other properly : batteries, transmitters, receivers and motor drivers. Intrigued by remote control toys, I taped my [relatively low-tech] camera onto this high-tech pan/tilt unit to take a scan around our studio (aka SpacePort), which at the time was covered with electro-mechanicals that we were working on for this film.

Big Fancy Camera Systems in Taiwan

In contrast to my “Red-Green” solution, the filmmakers will be screwing a Red Cam onto the system when they get to Taiwan.  They are filming in Imax-Ready format, with some fancy remote controlled systems to get their vast cameras out of the faces of their subjects.  The fly-cam they are building is pretty exciting – some heavy duty remote control car motors, a pan/tilt/focus and a gyroscope will all be mounted onto a hanging zip-line-like contraption. These devices will be controlled by a fancy Spektrum DX6 transmitter (a fancy remote control), and will take the camera on some long steady rides over the heads of the festival go-ers.  It’s amazing how a different perspective in the camera angle can have profound impact on the perspective of the movie viewer.  Maybe it’s about how our brain gets tweaked differently when we see something from a new angle.

Spirit Medium , the film

So, the film they are going to shoot looks pretty amazing.  One of the group members did some sort of thesis work in Taiwan about this festival, and he is bringing the film crew back with him to get the story visually:

Taiwan is a small and often overlooked society with many gifts and treasures to offer the world. At approximately 5,000 years, Chinese civilization is the oldest existing civilization in the world. However in Mainland China, many traditional religious practices were purged as superstition during the Cultural Revolution. Although it is now being revived and treasured as a cultural tradition in Mainland China, these religious practices have grown in Taiwan along with its rise as a modern, economically prosperous, and progressive society. Taiwan shows in full colour its varied and extensive roots, which is vibrantly demonstrated in its ritualistic pageantry and deep-seated ancient religious traditions.

To check out their promo video and learn how to support their trip go to:

http://www.indiegogo.com/spiritmedium 

Metavores = Recycled Art-Bots from a story of the future.

a small recycled computer art-bot is attempting to sneak away with some obsolete ram
metavore raider attempts to take your obsolete ram undetected.

 

Metavores are Recycled Computer Art

I have been making these creatures for over 15 years now.  I think that’s either amazing or crazy.  But the best part is it’s still fresh to most people.  It is part of a very old shop-art tradition, where scraps from a skilled workshop get turned into animorphic creatures.  Lots of technicians in electronic assembly facilities have done something similar with their scraps, and told me about it.  Not so many have followed the art form out into its outer reaches of narrative and metaphor.

Metavores are Metaphors

obviously, and fun ones at that.  The official metavore story line is under development, and there is lots of room for other imaginators to play in this universe.  You can check out my (woefully out of date) website Electronic Ouroborus for the story and some pictures.

Find one of your Very Own

We have a small stack of creatures available for sale in our secret hiding place.   So secret I’m not sure how to get to it.  All our work was hand crafted in Edmonton, Alberta, in our laboratory on the south side of town.

 

picture thanks to Luke GS.

Kuori, Helinski : the role of art and culture in a natural catastrophy

Watching Open Source unfold is such an exciting thing.  I’m one of those guys with a million and ten ideas about how to change the world and no time to do 99.9994 of them (that’s right, 16 amazing things to pay attention to!).  But dropping a thought into an expanding culture… way more efficient!

an open hexayurt infoshop/ stage/ gallery
an open hexayurt infoshop/ stage/ gallery

A few months ago, an installation of an H13 hexayurt caught my attention:  Korkalo is an artist collective in the neighbourhood of Vallila in Helsinki, Finland.  They installed and inhabited a fancy MDF hexayurt in their local park to serve as a stage and gallery.  The Question they Asked: what would art do in the face of a massive system disaster.  The Answer as near as I can tell (only some of the material is in a language i read) ; gather people to share information, comfort, and ideas.

The stage/gallery they chose to ask this question in is a very open source project, the Hexayurt, which is a great at catching the imagination of artists and crafty people by it ease of construction and efficiency of materials.  You don’t have to show this design to a builder or crafter more than once for them to have it in their emergency toolkit forever.

I like how Kuori uses some strong hinges to make this hexayurt more open than most.

” Our idea was to create a hub, an enclosed space from which things could expand and contaminate the space of Hauhonpuisto Park. For this reason we planned our hexayurt so that two of the six walls effectively become a large gate opening onto the outside space.”

check them out:
http://www.paolo-caravello.com/#1748757/Kuori

Lanterns in the Snow

under-the-bridge7807
lanterns under the bridge... like trolls made of light?

Walking With Lanterns

last week some friends and i went for a walk in the local ravine.  we brought some lanterns and a firepit on a wagon. all accounts concur that it was a  great evening in the park.  the weather was perfect too, chilly but not dangerous.  and the snow that had been threatening for the last week held off until we were back at the beginning around a big fire. pictures by Luke Smith, thanks!


11:11:11 a flight of lanterns

dear ladies and gentleman of good intention:

you are cordially invited to join parastra intergalactic for a nov 11 tradition.

where ever you are, on 11:11:11 imagine walking meditatively with friends, family, and lanterns.

and then do so, if you can!

2 to 25 people and some lanterns is all it takes to transform a walk at night into a sublime adventure.

lanterns lend themselves to thoughts of peace.  so spend a moment examining, if you will, what it takes to be peace-full.

lanterns on the bridge in mill creek ravine

 

Winter Light Gala and 2012 season launch

winter light logo, waterjet cut from plywood and lit upI’m involved in a festival project in my home town of Edmonton, AB, that takes on the colder half of our year.  It’s called Winter Light, cause we light up the long dark days of winter.  At our latitude, we can have as little as 4 hours of daylight in December.  Which is crazy.  Especially if you are stuck in school or work for those 4 hours.  You can see all about Winter Light at our styley website here:  www.winterlight.ca (website no longer maintained)

Last weekend we launched our new Season and our newly founded Non-Profit Society.  Up till now we have been a City of Edmonton created and funded project, that startup situation is now over and we are free to find our own fate as a non profit.  Comes with perks and challenges ;)

I get to be the Lantern Co-Ordinator and Artistic Director of one of our events, which is about the  most interesting job title I’ve ever had.  And it means I get to build really fun things.  For our launch, I worked on some more vector design + waterjet cut wood construction, and built a really fancy stage.

Best Part was everyone loved everything.   Food, Music, Art, Fires.  Other best part was we got the whole thing installed with time to spare.  Must be practice or something.

so, Pictures! thats what you and me are here for right?  Here’s the pictures:

Thanks to Robin George for taking the pictures.  I think I had the time to take two?  Must have been busy doing art or something.   I’ll be adding descriptions to the gallery as time goes by.

hexagazebo!

a design mockup of a hexayurt based gazebo
a hexagazebo!

a question was asked on the hexayurt google group (if you like hexayurts in a big nerdy way, and are not already on that list, why not browse over to http://groups.google.com/group/hexayurt/ to add yourself) about hexayurt based gazebo structures.

i have had this file in my pocket for a few months, done up extra special for a top-secret art installation, so i cleaned up the secret parts to show the basic framework of the hexa-gazebo.

i imagine this design to work best with plywood triangles, this may in fact be my only all-triangle hexafamilly design.  maybe not.  there are a lot of fun things to do with triangles.

as it has not been built, i do not know how strong the plan is.  there are a few places where extra reinforcement may be needed.  they are noted with simple lines-  between the base points of the Leg Triangles, and from the center of the 3 open wall spaces.  putting a 2×2 or something similar there would also allow convenient attachment of bug screens, drapes, or whatever else the local ecosystem needs for comfort.

here is the downloadable sketchup (version 8) file:

as noted in the file and picture, these pictures and files are available under the creative commons license (CC BY-SA) -attribution, share-alike;
and since i had to look it up to find out what i meant, here is the link to cc-by-sa 3.0.  hope you found it as educational as i did :)  actually, i hope everyone already knows all about it, cause it’s awesome.

 

enjoy!

(and send me pictures if you build one!)

Astral Harvest Lantern Installation

the top of a Lantern Tower at Astral Harvest
Lantern Tower

A big part of my art is site specific lighting installations. I created a new set of cad + waterjet woodcut Lanterns and Light Towers for Astral Harvest. Fun times.

Extending my scope of action is always a fun thing to do, even the painful learning curves (of Adobe Illustrator for example) become satisfying and even enjoyable after the fact. even if it is often takes months.

I had a lot of help from people: Scott Davis did pretty much all of the metal drilling cutting and welding. I’m borrowing a flamethrower from Dancing Wolf. Christy Boulter reminded me of the giant lenses from warehouse HID lighing, available at several re-used building supplies stores. And Austen at Hydrosion has been amazing at turning my vector pictures into finely sliced wood.


H13 – SIP-a-yurt timelapse

New Years Eve, 2010.  Our community holds an annual gathering for about 5 days to celebrate and reflect on the last year and imagine for the next year.  We call it Intention Alberta, after the much longer running Intention on the west coast of BC.  This year we put a project in motion to test and increase our capacity to assemble off grid shelter.  The Hexayurt was the open-hardware building style we chose to work with.

There are a bunch of pictures and models posted previously; here we have a time lapse movie of the second stage of assembly.  the base was put together the day before.  As you may be able to see: we used a frame, square-edged SIPs (structural insulated panels) and triangular wedges to fill the corner gaps. Our next SIP-a-yurt will have beveled edges on the SIPs and just 2 posts (center+front) and one beam for framing.

Note the sexy bathrobes: this was the Steampod (the group tasked with assembling structures and fires, particularly the steam pod itself) uniform.  These bathrobes had a powerful effect on collaborative will and function.  Highly recommended for any other off-beat construction process.

..d

(the embedded frame disappeared for some reason, if it goes away again,the direct link is here)