Stegosauremin

Stegosauremin is a combination of Theremin design. The idea rooted from my draft of creating a metal spine like arrangement for the theremin antenna. It reminds me of the spine of a Stegosaurus. I don’t know why, but that’s the interesting part in making things. The unexpected idea directed me to try using ready-made toy as the body of the theremin.

Common theremin design has not escaped the typical musical machine look. The recent moog theremin shares a more space age design as a spaceship. However, I feels like the form can be much playful. I appreciate the Japanese inventor Maya Denki method of combining playfulness into the instrument. I regard them as the pioneer of such design in the 21st century as musical instrument has followed the track of “professional” look, getting farther away from the fun nature. Surely,the artist Yuri Suzuki is sharing the same method as them.The recent Sweedish instrument companyTeenage Engineering as well use the similar method.

Stegosauremin may be the most simple device within the planned 4 instrument. I cut opened the toy, removed the cotton and stuck the theremin unit into it. The hardest part of the creation is that the antenna was affected once the unit is located inside the dino. I have to fine tune the pitch of the theremin after putting everything inside. This takes a lot of time to adjust. I believed a programming method of pushing the pitch low is more efficient than using my hand to twist the small knob inside. One method may be wiring the core unit to an external knob for easy adjustment of pitch and volume. I think I can add that later for performance concern. As an instrument, its pretty ready. I would paint it white afterwards.

I did perform it a bit,I feel people’s response is polarized.But its fun.

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Minimalism under the Aesthetic of the New Media

Just some sudden thoughts on New Media arts through some discussion with teachers and classmates within this week. Not sure why, but I feel the option of being a minimalist in media art is limiting in someway. The culture of Hong Kong may even trap part of the artists into business-like mind set, be ambitious and get promoted…..limiting a possibility to think small or take things slowly.

I wonder if simplicity and minimalism something bad in media art? Or like the shift from classical painting to modern painting, is it possible for us to shift from ‘classical’ new media art to ‘modern’……?

Must we need complex system , programming and structure to qualify a media art work. Would they only be mere aesthetic rather than contextual aspect of a work. Maybe I appreciate the minimalist approach in conceptual art and design too much……just don’t think complexity is the only option for media arts. Like other arts, I believe the communication and dialogue between the creator, artwork and the audience is still the main focus. A bigger or complex work may not be an artwork when the technology and complexity of form overtake everything.

Given the opportunity, I would like to experiment the possibility of minimalism in the field of Media Arts. Also, rather than pushing ourself forward to the future, can we actually take a natural approach in art making? Taking things(and us) as they are.

Building of Dice – a physical sketch

I started this unit first on Friday. Started with a nano board, dice is based on the accelerometer. it is like a cube, a sound cube.

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I picked the accelerometer named 7455, designed by Freescale as I had experienced in coding it in one of my previous project.

A startocaster

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Got a very nice “strat” on Wed, for 380hkd, of coz, its not a Fender, just a stratocaster style. I hope I won’t break it accidentally during the builds. It plays quite well, and very light weight because it is some kind of “composite” wood, I believe.

Although I should focus on the other units first, but I feel like the guitar unit  is always summoning me. I realized the Floyd Rose system can be easily hacked into my idea. I am going to make a mechanic device and mount it on the floyd rose bridge with the screw. It should be pretty secure. I am pretty excited about this strat unit… can’t really imagined how Leo Fender designed this instrument 60 years ago, its really amazing design.

 

ok, its time to get back to the other one.

initial sketches (week2)

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1)concept of the Hybrid unit, form as a cube. Idea is like a dice. Probably rooted from the use of accelerometer as a core component. Each side is with different sensor, for this sketch. Maybe another idea is a pure combo of solenoid with AXL unit to create a percussive “box” .

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2)concept of a guitar unit. Complex version in my mind…but I would like to use the neck as a kind of rail for something to run on it, creating random sound . The bridge can be a good starting point as well. What if its a kind of pinball unit? Or attach a tracking robot on the neck for making sound?

 

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…….a theremin with guitar. Something not too related now.IMG_7818

3) (left) the sequencer synth unit, in the form of a ball or like a clock with lots of knobs and buttons! Maybe a globe design will be nice too, with a transparent shell.

(right) the theremin unit, idea is a dinosaur , with a spine like conductor rather than a formal metal rod or antenna. Need help and contact on sourcing this custom metal .Maybe possible to make one with aluminium tube with DIY tools though.

 

Plan – January Week 1

This is the first post on the project plan.

Some questions in my mind after discussion in the advise session.

-whether the instrument is an individual on its own or can be performed as a band. A sync ability(?)

-each of them as a character, how to communicate the ease of playing

-A rigid design to withstand abuse, and interaction

-think a bit about the form, the design, aesthetic, focus on the nature of the instrument,

here is the possible direction for the 5 devices

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The goal is to finalise the design before Chinese New Year, so that I can move to the stage of testing and prototyping. There is also a need to order parts and materials for making the prototypes. Several parts such as the theremin is ready. I may draft on the form of it first. Besides, on the sequencer and hybrid device, programming prototype can be began as I had worked on similar sensors and code before. I am going to prepare them first as they are more about codes and programming. The use of Resberry Pi is a very rough idea since I am new to it, but it is possible to contain linux and arduino into one device with the hardware.