Constellation: Reflective Journal PDP

In choosing the Fab bits tones and pixels constellation module, I was hoping to explore technologies applications for artists and alike. I have always felt a great synergy with technology and digital media so this option seemed like a natural choice. I was also hoping to work with Arduino as that was a relatively new concept to me, entering this new course.

The sessions and lectures focused on how technology formulates interactive art and other applications with these digital means.We learned the difference between digital and analogue, we explored how to programme an ardunio, played with sonic art and how to utilise script writing programmes such as MAX to create slideshows.

In our first session with Paul Granjon we looked at AC and DC , AC meaning alternating current and DC meaning digital current. We were taught how AC is an electric charge that changes and reverses periodically, typically used in plug points etc. and DC is where the electricity flows in a single direction at a time.

We then explored how to wire up an LED using a breadboard and an arduino. Though the arduino isn’t required to make the LED light up, what the ardunio would do is allow us to programme different sequences by which the LEDS could light up.

We were shown how to write the correct scripts and the typical naming conventions for how to write it.

I found this entry way into ardunio very enticing though rather complex on some points, I feel like theres a lot to memorise in order to correctly script something.

In Alex Kontogeorgokopoulos’ lectures we looked at Max MSP, utilising Photo Booth on mac, we took 10 photos of ourselves in which we then used Max to create a slideshow and alter the sequencing and time delays of the photos displayed. this way of cycling images was rather intuitive once we got to grips with it however there were many hoops to jump through to get to the end result.


I do struggle to understand why any one would create a slideshow in this manor when one can just do it in a dedicated app like iPhoto or even a video editing package. it was an interesting way to utilise a script by plugging pieces together however.

The sessions where I really came into my own were Olivia Kotsifas. I had a minimal grasp on 3D software packages such as Rhino so doing some exploration in that really helped.

I was already using the software on a basic level in my own practice for my subject modules. Learning things like how to “cap” a mesh and snap poly lines together better really made a massive difference, I really took what I learned from OLivia and managed to produce a really cohesive model that I eventually 3D printed to great success. 3D printing was of my own undertaking however, and not part of constellation, I feel like not getting to do this in my constellation was a bit of a disappointing as I felt like being guided may have allowed me to learn quicker and better.


Utilising the laser cutter was what we also looked at, we were given the option to produce christmas decorations out of acrylic using coral draw a CAD programme. having already used a laser cutter several times in the past this was more familiar to me. I did help others produce there decorations utilising Adobe illustrator and coral draw together. It felt comfortable to use both programmes in tandem to create what I felt worked best for the piece.


I utilised the laser cutter in several ways in my own practice from helping the other students create there decorations. I created an etched piece on clear acrylic by which I raster cut an illustration onto a square and just to test out the lasers versatility I rubbed acrylic ink over the top, to my surprise the ink captured the individual depth and the gradients in where the laser had cut in various areas. I secondly looked at how I could combine both rhino and the laser cutter, For this I managed to export some dimensions and line files over to illustrator and then coral draw this allowed me to laser cut pieces that were scaled accuratly to the piece I 3D printed from rhino.


All in all I found the constellation sessions interesting though a bit sporadic. We jumped from session to session and they were all very different subject areas. it was nice to explore arduino and programmes like Max, I do feel that more time on rhino would have been nice as I felt I really gained useful knowledge from the sessions.





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