Δ∞ [Infinite Delta]

Δ∞ [Infinite Delta]

Description

Δ∞ [Infinite Delta] is an interactive kinetic installation/performance. A physical structure built by triangular planes and controlled by a series of servomotors. Reacting to the movement of the audience, sound, and generative sequences, the structure reacts and modifies its shape.

Interview


What have you made?

We built a physical structure composed of a row of six white triangles. The triangles’ top tips are attached to a metallic bar fastened to the ceiling, suspending this way the triangles in the mid-air. The metallic bar also holds the servo motors and the Arduino microcontroller that is managing the electronic system. Each servo is connected to one individual triangle through strings that join the triangle’s both side trips to the servo arm. By rotating the angle of each servo arm, we are able to swing the triangles sideways.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

One of our biggest inspirations was the work of Reuben Margolin on kinetic sculptures, specifically the sculpture presented on the dance performance  “Connected" by the Chunky Move company.

What is the original idea behind this project?

The origins of this project came from the desire of exploring reactive physical structures, motor, servos, electronics, with live sound and visuals with the goal of finding a physical reactive mechanism that could be used in a live performance or installation. We had little experience with servo motors and physical objects (must of our work is digital, on-screen), so building a physical based artwork was a goal for us.
After we met Amândio Anastasio (who has a background on Puppetry and owns a company that produces puppet play shows), we believed that it was the perfect occasion to join forces with him and explore an interactive kinetic piece.

How does it work?

As I said before, the physical structure is made of a row of six triangles, and each one attached to a servo arm, that by rotation makes the triangles swing. The servo motors are controlled by an Arduino board.
The Arduino board is coded and controlled on Max through “MAXUINO” patch, from where different types of data and interactions were explored like: autonomous movements with pre-programmed oscillators and random movements or reacting to sound analysis.
A range of different oscillator waves was defined to give different behaviors to the triangles movements. Each oscillator defined the movement of each servo’s arm leading to the swinging of each triangle. Along the performance different combinations of oscillators with different parameters were used to build a performative narrative. The triangles could swing at different velocities or with different apertures. They could swing all at the same time following the same wave, divided into groups following opposite waves, like a snake where each one follows with delay the previous triangle, or move in asynchronous or random ways. 
The data sent to generate the servos’ movements is also sent via MIDI CC messages to the visual and sound domains. It feeds the background soundtrack with data that defines filters, effects and channels volumes, and also at the same time, it defines the visuals behaviors that consist of virtual triangles that intend to create a connection with the physical structure by extending it to a virtual space. 
A piezo microphone placed on the metal bar holding the piece captures the sounds of the physical structure’s movements and it is also used in the live composition of the soundtrack. Some of the parameters from the visual domain are also sound reactive, controlled by data delivered by real-time sound analyses. 
This project has two different operating modes: the performance mode (described in the text above), and an installation mode. 
In the installation mode, it works as a standalone reactive system. A Kinect camera tracks movement near the front side of the structure and uses its data as input making the structure reacts to people’s presence. When presence is tracked, the system looks for its X's position and the structure reacts my moving to the opposite way. So, if someone approaches the piece by the left side it reacts my making a right side movement, creating this way a mirror like the interactive relation between the audience and the kinetic structure.

How long did it take to make it real?

This project was developed over the course of two artistic residences with Alma d’Arame (Amandio’s Puppetry company) in Montemor-o-Novo Portugal.  The first one lasted one week in December 2014, and then again another week in June 2016,  where the piece went through some technical and creative updates and was officially presented to the public at the IX Encontro Internacional de Marionetas de Montemor-o-Novo 2016.

How did you build it?

Components: 
6x TowerPro SG5010 servo.
1x Arduino Uno
Many jump wires, and cables
1x "Active" USB extension cable (so the Arduino could be placed on stage with the servo motors, and we could control if from more far away).
++:
Max - Maxuino (to control the Arduino inputs, outputs, and manage MIDI-OSC communications with other software)
VDMX- to manipulate the oscillators that swing the triangles, to manage performance scenes and trigger quartz composers patches for the live visuals
Piezo attached to the structure + Kaossilator Pro + Ableton Live + FX Pedals (for the live sound).
Kinect camera