Mechatronic Art and Music

These are the four final projects from the 2020 "Mechatronic Art & Music" course. Each student was tasked with opened ended assignment of designing and creating their own electro-mechanical device related to their personal creative practice. Carl Burgin, Trevor Bock, Charles Danner, Cy Krafft & Kai-Luen Liang

Kai-Luen Liang

Tomorrow There Will Be Wind ( Automatic Windchimes )
A performance of playing an Arduino controlled set of wind chimes.
Vibration motors are activated through a motor driver creating divisions and
polyrhythms based on various "states." First iteration prototype with beer
bottle activation.


 

Trevor Bock

4-Note Bottle Blowing Instrument

I have always loved the angelic sound that is produced by blowing into an empty glass
bottle. The combination of wind noise and the ringing sine wave tone that resonates out of the
bottle creates a fascinating timbre that is impossible to perfectly replicate digitally. What if you
could mechanically create this sound and produce beautiful melodies to perform with it? This is
what inspired me to create the 4-Note Bottle Blowing Instrument. This device contains four
small fans attached to DC motors mounted in a specific way to effectively blow air into each of
the bottles. This causes them to resonate and create a fairly loud sine tone. Each bottle is
individually tuned by raising and lowering the amount of water inside them. Using an Arduino,
the instrument will then perform a sequence of notes by fading the fans in and out from left to
right. This allows musicians to tune each bottle accordingly and create any four part melody
they desire.


 

Cy Krafft

Liquid Light Movers

This work in progress was inspired by a love of old school liquid light shows and a fascination
with the precise engineering of the inside of a moving head. The goal is to repurpose the
internal mechanisms from used Clay Paky Alpha Spot and Alpha Wash fixtures to create an
animating liquid light show in the beam of the fixtures.
I began with the Alpha Wash fixtures due to the less complex internal layout. However, due to
the limited range of beam effects in the fixture, the color wheels were my first choice for
modification. The challenge with the color wheels was adapting the rotational movement of the
color wheels into the vertical movement of a plate.
The first iteration of this design is made of two clear discs connected by a silicone tube to create
a sealed container that is then filled with the dyed oil and water. The two discs can then be
oscillated against each other through the use of a ridged gear on the inside of the metal plates
holding the discs. This creates the fluid movement associated with traditional liquid light shows.
In addition, the entire mechanism can be moved in and out of the beam to add or remove the
effect. The prototype of this iteration is still in development


 

Charles Danner

TOY P1ANO

The TOY P1ANO is a self-playing hyper
instrument 30 Key Schoenhut Piano modified with
solenoids, copper contacts + contact mics
Mux chips + Teensy Audio shield + teensy3.6
to read keys + output Midi
Excitation from contact mics synthesizes a
tuned modeled string based on the
Karplus-Strong synthesis model


 

Brian Griffith

Biological Internal Feedback is a visual music piece exploring the opaque gelatin that is created when combining the moment of inspiration and the realization of the thought. The video for this piece was created using nature footage taken from around my neighborhood, and abstract video synth textures created in the CalArts Videographics Lab. Aesthetically, the […]

Mengqing Yuan

“My B-body” is a project I created during home quarantine. It is based on a poem I wrote about the relationship between my physical body and my consciousness. The text of the poem reads: My B-body My body doesn’t belong to me It wants to be free It wants to come apart It wants me […]

Kathleen Fox

Don’t Let Me Be Lonely is an architectural projection performance inspired by Claudia Rankine’s book of poems of the same name. The projection mapping explores loneliness as it exists at CalArts both before and during the COVID19 Crisis. Rankine defines loneliness as “What we cannot do for each other.” This performance, in the Main Gallery […]

Perry Cook

Perry Cook (aka P-Ray) is professor emeritus of computer science (also music) at Princeton University. Cook is a visiting Artist/Lecturer at CalArts, founding advisor and IP Strategist to social music company Smule, and co-founder of online arts education company Kadenze. COVID Pan Drum: A Robot Tongue-Drum Rendering of the SARS-2 COVID Virus Genome I’m building […]

Daniel Corral

This is a Unity-based video piece, inspired by Reich’s Pendulum Music, but with a microtonal tuning based on a 1-3-5-7 combination-product set. The fundamental of this tuning is an upper 2/1 partial of the Schumann resonance 7.83 Hz. This Schumann resonance is basically the resonant frequency of the Earth’s electromagnetic field. Here is a video […]

Roger Holzberg

“Created by the Healthcare by Design class of 2020 (CalArts Theater School), in partnership with Henry Mayo hospital. LIFE QUILT is a part of a larger pilot program developed for patients & families approaching end of life. Each panel is an active, creative experience, designed to reduce anxiety, connect family members in support, and build […]

Hamed Dehqan

This is an abstract and artificial image of burning flowers under sunlight as a lover of love feels burning.