Touch Project

I got the inspiration for my final project while brainstorming ideas with Antonius at the time of the sight project. For my sight project, I wanted to create something which represented home, something that could be an expression of identity and culture. Normally, when I feel homesick, I listen to music from home. As such, I knew I wanted to work with music. I decided to create an instrument which acts as a common denominator to most Trinidadian music, the Steelpan. This is also our national instrument. I wanted to create a small, portable steelpan, using fabric, that would be flexible, portable and fun to play a basic rhythm on. I felt that something like this would also serve well in Trinidadian culture as locals always love to join in the fun of making music, and they normally do this by knocking a bottle with a spoon. So why not create a new way that would allow people to do the same thing?

The main design stages of this project were done for the sight project. This involved using a small, circular cutout of felt as the base for my steelpan. I then designed the irregular shaped notes on the surface of the pan using red felt cutouts. On the notes, I used the embroidery machine to design various images which are representative of Trinidadian culture. These images included 4 traditional folklore characters and the shape of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago on the map. I decided to use the folklore characters on the pan as both the characters and the steelpan are important elements of Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival, and they originated around the same time. To this day, the steelpan music is closely linked to carnival festivities as well as these 4 popular carnival characters; the Midnight Robber, Jab Molassies, the Dame Lorrain and the Mokojumbies/Stilt Walkers.

After the main design was completed, I decided to take this project further in my final project. The goal was to make what I had created playable. I started by prototyping using the following materials:

  1. 2 breadboards
  2. Arduino Micro
  3. 5 push buttons
  4. connecting wires
  5. 5 10 K Ohm resistors.
  6. Garage band software

The objective was to create an external keyboard that could be connected to my steelpan. This external keyboard would then connect to my laptop, which would receive input from it and generate sounds on Garage Band.

For the circuit, it was slightly different working with the Arduino Micro, however, only these boards have the ability to send keystrokes to the computer. The Micro required a breadboard of its own as it needed to be plugged into a breadboard so that connections could be made to the other breadboard. There were 5 pushbuttons, on one side, each button was connected to pins 2-6 on the Arduino Micro using wire. On the other side of the push button, was connected to 5V on the Arduino. The resistors were then connected by inserting one side of it in the row with the wire leading to the respective pin(2,3,4,5 or 6) and the other side led to ground.

The next step was the code. Firstly, it was important to declare the pin numbers for the five buttons. Also, I needed to declare a Boolean variable that would check whether the buttons were pressed or not. The Boolean was initialized as false or not pressed

Example: const int buttonPin1 = 6; (for each buttonPin)

bool pressed = false;

In the setup function, I set each button’s pinMode to input and in addition to serial.begin(), I needed to add keyboard.begin() and mouse.begin() functions. These were needed to initialize control over the keyboard.

Example: pinMode(buttonPin1, INPUT); (for each buttonPin)

Serial.begin(9600)

keyboard.begin()

mouse.begin()

The logic of the setup function is as follows:

  1. If the reading for pinButton1 was high meaning that it was pressed then if pressed is initialized at false, it must change to true.
  2. Next the output function would display ‘a’. ( the letter ‘a’ would correspond to a note on a garage band keyboard and thus play that note.)
  3. However, if the pinButton1 was low, meaning it had not been pressed, then we want no output thus, there is no output function. But we write that pressed is false so that once the button is released, the pressed variable returns to false mode.

With this logic, the code worked. However, there was a problem with how the note sounded. It lasted too long and sounded as though the note was being played multiple times very quickly, a problem known as bouncing. The program sound would therefore be helped by debouncing which would ensure that upon pressing, only one digital signal would be sent for a single closing of contact or pressing of the switch.

Thank to Antonius’s help, we were able to solve this problem using 3 two Arduino functions. Arduino functions: keyboard.pressed(), delay() and keyboard.release(). Keyboard.pressed acts as if a key was pressed and held on your computer. To end this key press, keyboard.release was needed to end the key press. The delay in between the two determined helped with the length of the note being played. A sample of this code can be found below.

Once this prototype worked, it was time to move it onto fabric. The goal was to replace the physical buttons on the breadboard with soft buttons made on the fabric steelpan. I started by placing one wire next to the side of the button which was connected to the pin on the Arduino, then placing another wire in line with the side of the button which connected to 5V. Next I removed the button. Once the two loose ends of those wires were touched, it returned the same output as pushing the button. That output on the serial monitor wrote the letter corresponding to the keyboard.pressed function. Thus in Garage Band, it played the note corresponding to the letter the button returned.

Since this worked, I began working on the soft buttons. I started by cutting out small pieces of conductive fabric in the shape of the notes. Theses pieces would then be stuck onto the back side of the pan. Next, I cutout another circular piece of felt that would cover the soft circuit inside. I then covered one side of that cutout with conductive fabric as well.

 

In between this sandwich, I would need non-conductive material to separate the surfaces for when the button is not being pressed. I cutout circular piece of neoprene for this as it was soft enough to allow for pushing while being thick enough to prevent the contact between the conductive surfaces when not pressed. I cut out five small holes in the neoprene which corresponded to the five note placements on the outer surface. Finally, from the circuit, I took one end of loose wire and taped it to the top surface of the conductive fabric. Next, I took the other side of loose wire and taped it to the other side of conductive fabric. It was important that these connections lined up directly with each other, so that once pressed, they would make contact through the hole in the neoprene. Pictures of this can be found below.

Finally, I sewed all three layers of fabric together.

Once this worked, I set out to find different sound effects as Garage band did not have sounds which were true to the steelpan. Luckily, I found an online virtual keyboard which played the notes on the steelpan. Thus, I used this software rather than Garage Band.

One problem I faced with this project was that the external keyboard often took over your laptop, pressing random keys regardless of my input. This happened a few times while working, however, generally restarting my laptop worked. In the final stages, I had one unique problem which was that one particular key played constantly. In troubleshooting, I commented out the code for that key and noticed that everything else played normally. Next, I moved on to check the connections and noticed that I had taped each side of lose wire to the wrong side of the conductive fabric. Therefore fixing this fixed my final problem. Below you can find a link to a video of my final project.

Final Touch Project

At the IMA show, my project went through many rounds of user testing. This alerted me to its flaws and its strengths. Based on their feedback and interaction with the product, moving forward with this project, I would implement a 5th note in the middle of the pan as people often tried to press that area as well. Moreover, people who could play a simple tune were often missing one more tone (‘a’) in order to complete the song. However, ideally I would find a way to make this more playable for people who do not know music or how to play the steelpan. I mostly intended it to be a fun way to produce a beat without actually knowing the correct combination of notes that would make sound. Therefore, these would be my major changes.

Finally, thank you to Antonius who was very supportive throughout this process, helping me to bring my initial idea to life. I also want to say thank you to my classmates who helped me refine my concept in our brainstorm stages and the IMA fellow Nicholas, who assisted me at times when my circuit went wrong.

TF: Group Project- The Trust T-shirt

At first our group brainstormed many ideas until eventually deciding that we wanted to use a blindfold to take away someone’s sense of sight, then use our project to guide them. This is how the project would work:

  1. Person A wears a blindfold to augment their sense of sight
  2. Person B uses a flashlight to guide person A
  3. We design a T-shirt for Person A which would contain two light sensors (one to the right of the chest and one to the left of the chest), which would detect Person B’s flashlight cue. Depending on what cue is sent, a vibration motor corresponding to the side of the sensor would vibrate
  4. If person B aims the flashlight to the right sided sensor a vibration motor (on the right side of the shirt) would be activated indicating that person A should turn right and vice versa.

After thinking about functionality a bit more, we noticed that placing the light sensors on the front of the shirt would be a bit awkward, especially as the leader would have to walk backward to guide the follower.

We thought that placing the sensors on the back of the follower’s shirt would be much more practical and so we moved ahead with that idea.

Next, we prototyped the basics. We created our circuit using a breadboard and Arduino. You can find a rough sketch of the circuit below.

Next we experimented with the code and thankfully it worked. We tried the following code for the LDR, declaring them as the inputs and giving them a range of light to detect:

int sensorPin = A0; // select the input pin for LDR

int sensorValue = 0; // variable to store the value coming from the sensor

void setup() {

Serial.begin(9600); //sets serial port for communication

}

void loop() {

sensorValue = analogRead(sensorPin); // read the value from the sensor

Serial.println(sensorValue); //prints the values coming from the sensor on the screen

delay(100);

}

 

For the motor we used this code, declaring them as the outputs:

const int motorPin = 9;

void setup(){

pinMode(motorPin, OUTPUT);

}

void loop(){

digitalWrite(motorPin, HIGH);

delay(1000);

digitalWrite(motorPin, LOW);

delay(59000);

}

We then tested to see if these worked by shining light on each sensor and monitoring whether the corresponding motor vibrated. Since this worked, we proceeded to think about how we could make a more compact circuit to be placed onto a T-shirt, so that it could be wearable.

We decided to move all the components onto a lilipad which could be sewn onto fabric. However, before moving any circuit onto a lilipad, it was important to carefully plan how this would be done. We found sketching very helpful. You can find a picture of the sketch below.

We started by couching ground on the Lillipad to a white piece of cotton fabric. From there we did a backward stitch leading a looped piece of wire. We couched one side to ground. On the other side, we would use conductive thread to sew two separate branches which would then connect to each of the two 10 ohm resistors needed for the LDRs. Using wires and conductive thread, we sewed these components to a1 and a2 respectively.

 

We did the same procedure for the 5V, starting with one wore which would then branch out into two parts for the left-sided LDR and the right-sided LDR. The other side of the LDR would then connect with the resistor branches at a1 and a2 respectively.

The motors were connected to the circuit via pins 6 and pins 13. For the left-sided motor, one of its wires connected to pin 6, while the other side was rejoined to the first branch created at ground. The same was done for the right-sided motor, with one end connected to pin 13 and the other joining the other wire branch at ground.

A picture of the final outcome could be found below. The LDRs are at the bottom and the motors are at the sides, just slightly above the LDRs.

After this process, we secured the white cotton fabric onto the t-shirt using double-sided tape. We also spent a substantial amount of time securing all connections. We used nail polish remover to secure frayed ends of conductive thread and electrical tape to insulate any wires which were twirled around each other. We then couched the motors onto the back of the shirt and created small holes in the t-shirt for the LDRs to peek through. Finally we had a working product.

We left our finished project over the weekend, then returned to it on Monday to meet a fully functioning project. However, by Tuesday, when we had to present, we noticed that the left-sided motor did not work. While troubleshooting the problem, we noticed that when we aimed light at the LDR, it started returning absurd values to the serial monitor. It was evident that the LDR broke. Soon after, the right-sided LDR and motor, which was still working also stopped. The LDR returned normal values, but while checking the connections, we noticed that one of the tiny, delicate wires which came attached to the motor became disconnected. This happened while we were flipping the shirt inside and out to rectify the issue with the left-sided motor. This was an unfortunate turn of events at the 11th hour. However, one must always be prepared for such troubles and take videos and pictures of  the working project at every step of the way. Thankfully, we had one short video of the working product which you can find below.

Click here for working T-shirt Link

Week 15: Art Project(Krom)

The link to our website can be found below:

http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~da1896/ongunviolence

Originally, for this project, my teammate, Diego Arias and I thought we would work with stock market highs and lows to create an audiovisual graph of the data for 5 of the top tech companies. We experimented with this concept for a week before recognizing some faults. Firstly it required us to work with processing, something which we did not learn in communications lab. As a result, we ran into many difficulties while attempting to get the code to work. Secondly, we were noticing a genuine feeling of passion in the topic of our final project. Since this was meant to be an art project, I felt that it was necessary that we work on something which we both felt passionate about, that way our art and message could be strong and emotive to its audience. Thus, we decided to put the original idea on hold while we thought of alternatives in the event that it did not work out. In doing so, we arrived at something which we which we both felt extremely passionate about.

We knew that I wanted to address a current issue of importance and that we wanted to focus on activism led by youth. In light of all the recent debate surrounding gun violence in the United States, an issue which we both felt passionate about, we explored this option. In keeping with an aspect of our original project, we wanted the feeling of our piece to be received by the audience primarily through powerful audio elements. Based on these factors we decided that we would focus on a recent event known as the March for our Lives, that took place on March 24th, 2018 mainly in Washington DC but there were similar protests in support of the rally which happened simultaneously in other states and cities worldwide. The rally was a student-led demonstration, motivated by the recent mass shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where a former student killed 17 people with a semi-automatic weapon. In our opinion, the demonstration was very successful in its reach and powerful in stirring general awareness as well as media and political discussion.

We started our webpage with a map of the world, an intuitive way to show the reach of the event. We would work on making cities which protested clickable and generate a modal/pop-up which would show pictures of the demonstration and provide some statistics, while an audio clip of the most powerful student speeches of the day played in the background. After explaining the concept to Professor Krom, she provided some useful tips for us with regard to design of the page and strengthening of the concept. She alerted us to three important concepts with regard to our project, namely: representation (of the concept- literal or abstract), abstraction- what do you want people to feel from the piece and symbolism- which associations and visual references we wished to include (for example a dove as a symbol of peace). Stemming from the feedback we changed our original, very literal representation of the map and thought of ways to demonstrate the reach of the march. Knowing that the student voices were the most emotive aspect of the website, we decided that we would let the voices be the main focus. I had already obtained the speeches from the students on that day and began listening to them, noting down emotive quotes from them. For many, this was almost every line. From this, we decided to play with these quotes

And make them the central idea of the page. We selected some top quotes and city demonstrations and began prototyping with their placement on the screen and thinking about what we could do with them as our representation. We would make these quotes and cities clickable. We thought of having the quotes move about randomly to echo the havoc of the situation, slowly enough so that users can click on them. Upon clicking a quotes, an audio track of the student saying a part of the speech would be played alongside an image and a bit of background about him/her. For the cities, clicking would generate a modal as well, which would display information about the demonstration in that city as well as a picture.

The background of the page would be tangerine orange as a form of symbolism, as this colour has become that of the fight against gun violence. While I brainstormed about the abstraction aspect of the piece, I thought about having the audio and movement on the page begin with the sound of a gunshot. I thought that this would be particularly effective as its dramatic effect would engage users as well as begin to give them an idea about what the page would be about. Following this, I thought that it would be a good idea to include audio clips from politicians, the NRA and the media with regard to the issues, making the page like a debate by focusing on less politically correct responses coming out in light of the activism. This would how contrast between the two voices and emphasize feelings of empathy for the children and grief, by highlighting the lack of action being taken and the lack of genuine concern in the political world. Seeing the contrasting, heartfelt quotes move around the screen would provide a contrast, allowing people to see the harm caused by gun laws which politicians are promoting. Upon clicking on a quote, you would be able to hear the emotion-packed voices of the young leaders as they fight for safety.

On the more technical side of the project, I worked on the movement of the words on the screen. For this, we originally used margins to generate the animations. However, we switched to CSS transition function soon after. This was a very helpful but tedious function for us. I experimented with each quote to decide on where they should begin on the screen and how they would move around, with very little collisions, to end up in a new designated area and be emphasized by changing the size. To avoid lengthy collisions/overlaps, I adjusted the timing of each phase of movement of the quotes. Each of them were set to carryout motion for 10s, however, using key frames and playing around with percentage of the timings, I could manipulate the timing of each translation. We were able to get all quotes to start moving at the time of the gunshot by setting the keyframe translation at 0% and at 25% to be the same. This would keep the quotes in place until 25% of the 10 second timeframe was reached, which corresponded to the time of the gunshot sound. Also, by making percentage intervals shorter within the keyframe, the quote could move faster through that particular translation. I played with this concept to shorten collision times since it was almost impossible to not have the quotes collide at some point. Finally, scaling was used to make the quotes larger, smaller for emphasis. Below you can find the code which specifies the movement of two problematic quotes and how changes in time percentages minimised their collision on the screen by speeding up certain parts.

Initially, having the cities in the same realm as the quotes was quite confusing and messy. Therefore, I made them distinguishable on the page by giving them a lower range of motion. This motion would make them appear as they were moving deep into the page then coming out. While this made them distinguishable, they constantly coincided with the more active quotes, as such we decided to move them to the bottom of the page and use the scaling effect only to allow them to grow and shrink. This turned out to be a very cool effect.

Finally, I worked closely with audacity in order to produce the background track. The gunshot sound effects was obtained online. I got the slide rack sound effect then combined it with the sound of a gunshot in audacity. Following this, I worked on cutting the interesting and relevant portions of various CNN reports, Al Jazeera reports and my personal favourite, a CNN town hall between the NRA and the students and teachers involved in the protests and from the Florida high school. I worked mainly with shifting clips and organizing them in an order that would flow nicely. I choose to end with a compiled clip of some of the most heated aspects of the town hall, followed by a snippet of President Donald Trump’s less than satisfactory suggestion regarding the issue and an Al Jazeerah report concerning the influence the NRA seems to have over President Donald Trump’s gun control decisions.

I would like to thank Professor Krom for spending lots of her time with our group, helping us with both aesthetic direction and coding. Her approach has helped us to develop our project and push ourselves and abilities to produce something which we are proud of. I would also like to thank our classmates who listened attentively to project idea and watched our demonstrations before providing very helpful and timely advice/suggestions. Finally, thanks to Jiwon whose Thursday night workshop and documentations proved to be very informative.

Week 12: Response to Greene (Krom)

In her article Web Work: a History of Internet Art, Greene defines the accidental coinage of a term known as net.art. She defines it as an art form which consisted of artists and enthusiasts engaging in a collaborative trade of ideas via ongoing conversations in which images and messages all merged into one without any aesthetic drive or vision. She explains that the concept of Internet art quickly became popular and its lack of regulation by official institutions or bureaucracy meant that artists could easily share their work and attract an audience. They were no longer being marginalized. Due to the currently large American presence and influence on the internet, one might be tempted to believe that this shift had been stirred up by Americans. However, Eastern Europe and Russia were instrumental players in the early stages of this internet art form. The artistic displays stemmed from a new media and political openness in the “civil society” period.

Green then tracks how internet art, something that was once a pleasant and united display had become something much more hostile with the advent of online identity theft and mediocre content creation, making the new found environment more warlike and chaotic.

Week 12: Response to Hackers and Painters and Computers, Pencils and Brushes

In the essay, Hacking and Painting, derived from a talk by a guest lecturer at Harvard, the speaker talks about his interest in hacking and painting and identifies unexpected commonalities between the two activities. He starts by giving his perspective on the term Computer Science where he explains that hacking is not a science. By naming the field of study Computer Science, he feels like it takes away from the hacker’s main goal, which is to “create beautiful software” and makes “act scientific” which involves spending time writing research papers. He believes that publications is an “easy test” for institutions to judge hackers on, like the SATs for example. I find this point particularly interesting because standardised aptitude tests have been controversial in the past due to their one-dimensional approach and understanding of what intelligence is. The speaker identifies how this traditional sense of intelligence and the traditional ways of measuring capabilities does not apply to hacking. Moreover, he believes that the methodological, theory-based approach to teaching programming in college is all wrong and that programming should take on a “figure it out as you are writing it” approach. He compares this to how writers, painter and architects do their own work. He believes that their are many ways in which art forms such as painting and writing are similar to hacking, contrary to popular belief and he thinks that there are many lessons that can be learned from them.

Week 11: Interactive Video Project (Krom)

Here’s a link to the website:

http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~da1896/videoproject/

 

For this project, my teammates and I had the several rounds of brainstorming before arriving at our plan. We started by researching what an interactive website were and some examples of interactive videos currently being made. I stumbled upon many videos on Rapt Media which I used for inspiration. They were all vastly different in their storylines but helped me to think about the kind of interaction or choices we could allow our users to make in our video, the genre to go with (whether comedy, thriller, action etc,), the layout and design, the number of outcomes to the story and how they will branch out. Here are some of my favourite ones:

Maybelline New York- An interactive video which allows you to craft certain Maybelline inspired looks by making a series of choices, like day/night which would lead you to an information video on nighttime looks. At the end of this, another popup would give you a choice between two of the looks talked about, like: Club Tropicana/Rebel Chic. Depending on which choice you make, a tutorial video would play showing you how to achieve that look. This video was very well done, however, there were too many outcomes than would be possible for our project.

http://www.raptmedia.com/customers/maybelline-new-york-engagement-conversions/

Warner Bros “Focus on the Con”- A gamified video which presents you with some scenarios to determine whether you would be a good con-artist. It allowed you to choose your target and presents a series of strategic choices to be made. At the end it would tell tell you how well you did.

http://www.raptmedia.com/customers/warner-bros-focus/

Deloitte Recruitment Video- This video was really fun and it’s purpose was to determine whether a potential applicant would fit the culture at Deloitte. It gave users a series of decision points such as, being on the elevator and accidentally spilling coffee on the back of a person’s shirt without them noticing. Then it prompts the user to make a decision such as “rub it in” or “tell him”.  

http://www.raptmedia.com/customers/deloitte/

The Deloitte video was also a favourite amongst my group members and thus we decided to craft our story along those lines. To make things more interesting, we decided to go for an unconventional recruitment organisation. This was inspired by some of the team member’s love for the TV show, Lost, where the lost islanders find videos belonging to a creepy organization which operated on the island prior to their crash. I guess everything is actually a remix.

Since we wanted to make it weird and we wanted to film at NYU, we thought we would change what the acronym stood for to represent our weird organisation. We named it the Nihilist Youth Union(NYU). From there, we did some research on nihilism and then decided on some of the places we would like to shoot at, how many choices we would give the user, how the story would branch out and whether we would use point of view filming (like the Deloitte video) or tripod filming.

For the branching of the storyline, we thought of many different ways. Below you can find some ideas we came up with. However, we eventually decided on utilizing the main menu story. This prevented us from having too many complicated outcomes.

The main menu was done so that the video area was divided into 3 vertical sections with a y-pointer which hold the information about the clicks. Each click position would have the corresponding video tour stored thus if the top rectangle was clicked, the cafeteria would be played. At the end of that video, a still image of the choices, contained within the video would play. For the decisions the screen was divided into two vertical parts, and again, the x and y pointer was utilized to determine the area clicked. Based on the click, a separate video was designed, in which the actor would carry out the chosen action. If that was the right choice, then the thumbs up video would also be contained in that video. For the wrong video, the action would also be carried out, followed by the thumbs down video. This is a basic overview of how the webpage was achieved.

In terms of video recording, the team came together early one morning in order to capture clear daylight photos of the outside of the building, featuring one member of the NYU who would be doing some of his daily, meaningless activities outside the premises. We wanted this part to be funny and truly capture the unconventional nature of the NYU and its people.

On this day as well, we experimented with point of view shooting amongst others. Doing comparisons, we found that we achieved the best outcome using the tripod stand. Two main things to remember is, to turn the stabilizer off once the camera is mounted onto the tripod stand and use manual focus. When turning the stick which controls the movement of the camera on the sand, it is important to move the camera at a steady pace throughout the panoramic so that it is not fast in some areas but slow in others. The same goes for zooming. For the clips where we had to turn the camera using the stick for an aerial view and also zoom in at a certain point, to keep everything steady, we would have one person do the moving while the other waits on a cue to adjust the zoom. Finally, it was important to mark the clips which were done well or the best so that we would not have to spend too much time playing back each clip during editing. This helped the process, but we still had to double check on our laptops, since the small camera screen made it difficult to be certain that a particular clip was actually the best out of all the tries. Shooting outdoors was really fun but also time consuming due to passersby who would often interrupt the shot by staring at the camera. This was a task for the editing team to edit.

After this we moved to indoor shooting where we had a bit more trouble with lighting and alternated between tripod stand shooting and holding the camera in hand to do the walking shots such as walking down the corridor in the library tour. This required steady hands and then video editing to fix what we couldn’t.

We used iMovie to edit the videos due to prior experience with the software and a filter feature which we wanted to use. Once we had all the clips, we divided them into four sections: the intro clips, the IMA tour clips, the cafeteria clips and the library clips. We then had to figure out which to keep, how to transition them and how many second of each clip would be necessary. I focused on editing the IMA tour and decision videos as well as the library scenes. This involved a lot of watching and rewatching to select the right clips, clipping to get just the right parts of the video, figuring how much of each clip would be necessary for the story and then placing them altogether. I also had to experiment with some transitions, and video styles. We were going for an aged style of film and thus we used the aged film style which could be found in clip filter and audio effects. For the library clip in particular, there were a few shaky parts, i found it helpful to use stabilization feature to achieve better quality. We were using a voice over, thus for each clip, we would have to make the audio silent by selecting mute audio in Modify.

I was also responsible for writing the story. It started with a lot of research on Nihilism since I had very little knowledge of the belief. Next, I came up with some names which were a bit 19th century, to match the video style. I also tried to use language that would be excessively proper. However, a lot of the initial language choices had to be cut in order to match the video clip. I kept words like “inhabitants” to refer to the NYU members, “chieftan” to refer to the boss and “enclosure” to refer to the university. I felt like these small additions helped to contribute to the weird nature of the university and also the aged style. I tried in the narration to slowly give away what kind of of environment it was without explicitly stating it as we wanted to reveal this in the end.

The next step was recording the narration in the podcasting room. This was difficult because I had to match my story so that it fit each video tour exactly. This required me to add text in some areas and edit from others. Two things helped with this process: one was to separate the text to be read over each scene. Then, I would edit that script so that the narration would fit perfectly in time with the particular scene of the clip rather than my previous approach where I would read the entire scene in one go. After my first podcasting room appointment, I realized that it was much more efficient to record in smaller chunks, like per clip, and then piece them all together in audacity. This helps you to have many more usable pieces of recordings as you are more likely to make mistakes with longer readings. Practicing before the appointment also helps. Most of all, since there were many clips, it helped to immediately delete the ones where I made mistakes and knew I would not use at all and name the ones that were done well, this saves a lot of time on playback. Although this narration experience was much longer than the one for the sound project, especially because it had to be matched with the video, I felt that I had learnt some valuable lessons which made this experience more efficient.

Once all the narration scenes were recorded, I chose the best recordings and pieced them together on Audacity. I needed to amplify the narration, and I added the background music. Although iMovie could implement the audio, I felt that it would be better to edit all the audio tracks in Audacity then add them to iMovie. In these final stages, the our team formed a production line where I was in charge of putting together the narration file for each scene and ensure that it matched the video. Once that was done , would air drop the file to Adele who would add them to the video on iMovie and then airdrop them to Diego who add the scene to the website. The team worked really well together despite being in different locations during the break and having various commitments.

TF: Electronic Fabrics Project

For this project, my partner and I almost immediately came up with the idea to have a t-shirt which activates when hugged by someone else. Using what we learned in class, we built a circuit which involved the following components: Arduino, breadboard, connecting wires, alligator clips, a resistor an LED and a push button. The method for connecting this circuit are as follows:

  1. Make a connection from digital pin 9 on the Arduino to a spot on the breadboard.
  2. In the same row, place one leg of the LED. The other leg can be placed in another row above/below.
  3. One leg of the resistor was placed in the same row as the second leg of the LED.
  4. Finally, a connection was made from that same row (with the resistor) to GRD on the Arduino.
  5. The button was placed onto the breadboard and one wire connection was made from the button to a resistor, then from the resistor to ground on  the breadboard. Finally, from there a connection was made to ground on the Arduino.
  6. On the other side of the button, a connection was made to digital pin 2 on the Arduino
  7. The Arduino was then connected to a computer.

 

 

From this circuit, we detached the wires closing the circuit around the button switch and attached alligator clips to them. We prototyped our idea using two mannequins. We placed two slightly separated, vertical strips of conductive fabric on one of them and connected one alligator clip to each of the two pieces of tape. The rest of the alligator clip was attached to the wires connection which we detached earlier. Next, we placed another piece of conductive tape on the other body horizontally. Once both bodies came together, the horizontal strip closed the circuit and allowed the LED to turn on.

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Since this worked, we decided to use a similar concept on the final. For the design, we decided that we would have a pair of t-shits and each of them would have a heart design printed on them. One heart would have a plug and the other would contain the socket.

The designs were created in Illustrator. First I obtained an image of a heart on thenounproject.com. I also found the plug and socket designs on the same website. I used image trace to convert to a simple vector image and pathfinder to merge the plug to its heart. I deleted any other distracting lines that were not part of the outline which we wished to cut. Moreover, to achieve the same effect that we used in our prototype, we created a circular gap within the socket heart which, once closed by the fully solid cut of plug heart, would close the circuit allowing the LED to turn on.

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We could have used the laser cutter or the vinyl cutter to print the design. However, we decided to go with the vinyl cutter as we didn’t have much experience with it. Moreover, with the vinyl cutter we could utilize the stickiness of the conductive tape to attach it to the shirt and remove it once we were done with the project. The laser cutter design would require us to use a fusible between the conductive fabric and the shirt, which could possibly leave a residue once removed (even if we used a fusible which would detach upon washing).

We ran into some problems while trying to use the vinyl cutter at IMA since the adhesive mat which is meant to keep the fabric in place while cutting was not sticky enough. After a few futile tries, I met with Antonius in office hours where he taught me how to use his vinyl cutter and the accompanying silhouette program. This process was successful.

Since the socket heart had a gap in the middle, and it would be difficult to tear the independent circle out in the middle then replace it onto the shirt in the exact place it as designed to be in(on Illustrator), we utilized transfer paper. The sticky part of the transfer paper was placed onto the design, the paper attached to theback of the conductive fabric was removed revealing the adhesive part and this was stuck onto the shirt. Next, the transfer paper was carefully removed from the front of the design. The same procedure was repeated for the plug heart which was placed on the other shirt.

 

We decided to use a strip of RGB LEDs(as opposed to single LEDs) for increased visibility around the neck of one of the shirts. We connected this strip to the circuit by soldering one wire to the 12V section of the strip and one to blue section of the strip (these spots are labelled on the strip), then attaching one side to the Arduino (5V) and the other to one to ground. We  used a portable battery to power thecircuit inplace of a laptop. TO make everything a little neater, we placed the circuitry into a Fannie pack.

Once this was done, we simply needed to use alligator clips(stemming from the circuit) to attach the circuit to the independent parts of the socket heart(outer heart and inner circle).  This was done in the same manner as the prototype.

 

Week 8: Response to Benjamin (Krom)

In Walter Benjamin’s essay, “The Work of Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, he discusses how traditional art has lost its unique aura with the invention of reproduction techniques which drives a wedge between the reproduced art and its original existence. He argues that singularity, history, time and space of creation are amongst the factors which contributed to the aura of an artistic piece and that these factors give the original power and authority which the mechanically reproduced work of art does not have. Although works of art have been reproduced in the past, via etching, stamping and lithography, he focuses on mechanical reproduction arising through capitalism, where photography and film become new and appealing art forms.  Moreover, he takes about a change in sense perception throughout humanity.

Benjamin feels that even the closest replicate of an original has a negative effect, it lacks existence in its current space and time. The work of art is :emancipated” from its unique characteristics and traditions. He says, “For the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual.” A work of art then loses its authority because of this emancipation from the original and because the reproductions could now be placed into any context the artist wishes, something which the original cannot do by virtue of its authenticity. For example he says, “The cathedral leaves its locale to be received in the studio of a lover of art…” This gives the artwork a spatiotemporal transcendence and removes it from tradition. This loss of aura is a negative and it alters the way “works of art are  received and valued”. He says that “cult value” is replaced by “exhibition value”. With cult value, emphasis is placed on existence verses exhibition value which focuses on viewership. He gives the example of cult value being like statues of gods which are only accessible to Priests in the cella. However, exhibition culture has made these rituals extinct because it is easy to remove objects such as the statues, via mechanical reproduction, and make them viewable and accessible to the masses.

This drastically changes the perception of art as previously, the “cult art” had limited social functioning, but with increased accessibility and a reduction of the authenticity of art, there is a shift from pure art to a political art. The new consumption of art requests participation from the viewers who is supposed to be critical of his own conditions. Moreover, these new interactions represent a change in property relations since previously, only a particular groups could own and view art. However, with mass production, art has been completely transformed and can be accessible to anyone, reducing the tradition and exclusivity of the art.

 

 

Week 3: Variables & Conditionals Mini-Project (Krom)

Here’s a link to my website:

http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~dap488/js-exercise-2/

For this assignment it was important to focus on the css file, particularly the display. The display was set at “none” however we wanted it to be visible. Noticing this was the first step.

Next, writing logical, step by step pseudo code was helpful as it helped me to think about the exact steps I would need to take to get to the final outcome. Once this was established, I knew if else statements would be necessary because the task required an action only if a specific block was clicked. Thus, to achieve the this I would need a variable which would check for the position of the pointer then display either block or none depending on where the pointer clicked. The height of the box was 240 and the width was 250 (from the css file). Since there were only 4 boxes, I divided the width and height by two and used these reference points to check whether to do an action or not. Below is a copy of my code.

Week 3: Two Interactive Websites(Krom)

http://longform.tsn.ca/favela-united

As the page loads you can see the image of the Favela becoming increasingly complexed. This graphic is really engaging. Once you begin to scroll the page does a lot of innovative things, many of which come at you unexpectedly. Thus, although the page contains a lot of information to peruse through, I don’t get bored while doing it. Moreover, each of the pages or blocks of information maintains the image and atmosphere of the favelas which helps to make me feel like I am there. The background of the pages sometimes automatically trigger video which is not too distracting, contributes to making users feel like they are there with the girls of the Favelas and thus, adds to the story. The page simply uses click, scroll and hover features but they have been executed very well and really makes the story more appealing. Finally, I really enjoyed the initiative and the story of these girls who have found an alternative to the typical path of using, selling and trafficking drugs and guns and being a part of gangs. This page provides hope for many wishing to help and those wishing to effect change themselves.

 

http://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/story/20150306-journey-to-the-centre-of-earth/

This website is also one of my favorite ones. I think this works not just because it’s fancy, but because the difference actually changes my interest in absorbing the information presented. The page is called The Journey to the Center of the Earth and it allows you to dig a hole that plunges deep down into the land and simultaneously through the sea. Along the way it keeps track of how many meters underground you are and what one could usually find at that depth, example; grave depth, Russian nuclear submarine, deepest underwater wedding and the maximum depth of an intermediate earthquake. All of these facts are great but without these visuals and the fact that I feel like I am actually on this journey, I would not be too interested in reading through them all. The website also uses a sort of animated plunging device which scrolls with the page and switches on its moving lights once it gets dark. I find this very innovate. The page focuses on the visuals, adding to the user engagement and uses small bullet points makes it easy to read. This page mainly utilizes scrolling but I think this is enough to make the user want to interact with it. I think perhaps a running background sound effect would have made it even more engaging. Perhaps having a general sound that changes with depth to reflect pressure changes and a hover feature that triggers another sound while you read about a specific fact.