Window office

8 November 2009


This is the third piece in my “electric window” series, which began in December of 2007 when I stuffed a small pre-made frame with EL wire and a decorative acrylic panel as an entry to Gallery 101‘s annual fundraiser / art auction, 101 Frames.

The year after, I made another EL wire based piece, and animated the wire; this year I will probably go with a smaller version of “electric window (iii)”. Here’s a shot of the insides:


This piece was originally the display portion of a weather-responsive work that draws patterns based on wind speed and direction data — as detected from an external weather meter — received wirelessly by the FM receiver board on the upper right:


Unfortunately the wireless link was giving me trouble, so the wind-based project was put on hold, but the remainder of the circuit (an Arduino-controlled pair of Sure Electronics LED display boards) made for a perfect addition to my exhibition with the Conjunction Collective.

Thanks to westfw’s library, gaining control of the LED displays with the Arduino was fairly straightforward. I found the Arduino’s on-board voltage regulator got pretty hot while running two LED displays, so I made a mini-shield with an external regulator to supply 5V to the Arudino and the LED displays:


Not the prettiest or neatest, but functional . . .

With some slight modifications to the original weather project code, I had a “simulated” drawing program using random direction and length variables:

Next I wrote a few more drawing routines for vertical lines and boxes; I tried horizontal lines as well, but didn’t like the look so much.

I’m anxious to get this piece working with the wind instrumentation again, and for this year’s 101 Frames I’m hoping to make a smaller version of an LED-based “electric window” with an IR proximity sensor so users can interact with the display patterns.

In the meantime, here’s a vid. of what I have so far, as shown at the Conjuction Collective show in Toronto this fall:

Similar to the video from my previous entry, I recorded the audio for this video straight from my drum machine into the video editor. While I’m not as pleased with the results musically, these exercises of spontaneously scoring lighting footage with coordinated beats/atmosphere are proving to be “studies” for future works involving light-responsive sound generating means coupled with sound-reactive lights.

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