Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Midterm Project Proposal
September 23, 2009
I began seeking out insects when I was 4 years old. When it would rain I could had hardly slipped my feet into my yellow rain boots before I was outside watching earthworms being birthed from the ground, squirming their way across my blacktop driveway. My obsessions with insects came long before I understood the social separation between man and animal. To me, they were a smaller version of myself, and more importantly, they had something to say. I spent hours watching them, caring for them, and most importantly, listening to them. I knew then that I somehow wanted to become their voice.
In our present culture, the most prevalent view of insects is laced with revulsion. Most react with fear, hatred, deliberate extermination efforts, especially toward those who invade our gardens, granaries, or even worse, parasites that invade our bodies. These negative connotations of insects have existed since the birth of human existence. These feelings, however, are generally guided towards certain species. As the general populace continues to become increasingly estranged from the natural world, these feelings of abhorrence continue to intensify. Many have lost the ability to distinguish one insect from another, and, as a result, our negative emotions have become generalized. Most shriek in horror and reach for some sort of insecticide without regard to whether the creature of our disgust is beneficial, harmful, or simply indifferent to humankind. Most people certainly never stop to contemplate whether it might be beautiful in form or complex in the story of its hidden life.
There are few species whose obvious beauty has come to be appreciated, such as ladybugs. Ladybugs and butterflies have become the most socially accepted insects within our culture. Though a ladybug is a beetle, it is found less repulsive through its notable spotted shell. However, these insects evolve from an equally ‘unsightly’ stage of life. I have spent my entire life wondering what makes these insects acceptable at a certain stage in their life, and what makes others always ‘unaccepted.’
As being part of a minority, I often find myself feeling much like a ladybug, constantly trying to evolve from my unacceptable state to find the socially acceptable form that I should exist in. I feel a connection with insects, with their struggle to become one of the accepted. By exploring their social relations between each other, nature, and the human species, I am trying to discover my own evolutionary voice as well as exhibit theirs.
In this piece, I intend on harvesting ladybugs, a socially accepted insect, to move about a created space that houses a photocell that is connected to the arduino. The photocell will be the way in which the ladybugs can communicate human projections. By constantly shifting and evolving within the contained space, these insects will activate layered tracks of human voices (housed in Pure Date) explaining how they feel when confronted with insects. These socially accepted insects will ultimately project the entomological fears that most humans house deep within their neurosis. Fears that I have yet to experience and have been working my entire life to understand. This piece ultimately reflects me not only in my personal conflicts with racial group separation, but also with species separations, and my quest to make the insect voice heard.
Ladybug larvae in developmental state
Fully developed ladybug.
Overall design of piece. Bulk of wiring, computer, and arduino elements will be housed below inside of the stand/box.
Topographical view of the piece, speaker wire will be fed below along with all wiring from photocell and super bright LED.
Ladybug beetles moving across the photocell that will activate the sound of humans discussing their fears/thoughts about bugs.
Rough Schematic Overview
I propose to build an interactive system consisting of:
Matrix of floor tiles, each with a hidden momentary switch
(2) Powered speakers
The basic logic of the piece is that the momentary switches (which can be scaled up to 16 or down to 4) are either in an up or down state, and the amount of switches in a down state determines what video (from a possible three videos) will play. In the case of the matrix consisting of four tiles:
(1) Switch triggers video A
(2-3) Switches trigger video B
(4) Switches trigger video C
The Audio component will be mixed in the pre-processed videos.
The control system will be a computer running Pure Data/GEM. A high-level description of the Pd/GEM patch is:
Pd/GEM receives one of (3) possible outcomes
gemwin with fullscreen enabled plays appropriate video
IF an additional switch is thrown, Pd/GEM crossfades to the appropriate video based on the number of total switches