Here are some different projects I’ve worked on, listed in reverse chronological order:
Remote Possibilities (2021)
How do you have an interactive dance performance during a pandemic? We explored some answers to this question with Remote Possibilities, an experimental fusion of dance, music, and engaging the audience members’ webcams to do live face and body tracking.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story: “Slowdanger Delivers Interactive Virtual Dance Experience in ‘Remote Possibilities’”
Experimenting with remotely-sourced video with overlays (a pigeon in this case). When the user moved their mouse, the transparent diamond followed it around, which allowed for some peekaboo interactivity.
Experimenting with live-sourced video with overlays, this time using our own live video as the source.
A promotional still for the performance.
Sample video of face tracking via webcam. I think this was my face, but truly don’t know!
Resonant Bodies (2019)
A tactile speaker. Designed to add an audience-accessible kinesthetic element to a live dance performance, so that people with different physical abilities can participate more fully as audience members.
Installation piece with artistic collaborators slowdanger, created as part of a residency at Carnegie Museum of Art. After a development period, we held sixteen live performance sessions for the public. Additionally, I showed the piece at an interactive technical subset demonstration to the public at the STEAM Carnival, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story: “CMU professor, slowdanger create dance you can feel”
Built of wood, TIG-welded steel, scrap speaker parts, wireless Arduino electronics, and custom software.
Mid-performance at the museum
Museum setup from rear
Complete speaker at the museum
Installation at Carnegie Music Hall
Setting up to weld
Welded to plan
A machine for disorientation. Interactive installation integrated into the plotline of the immersive theater production “Project Amelia,” created by Bricolage Production Company and Probable Models. “Tranquil,” a purposefully misleading name, was situated in its own room on the sprawling set. It was a faux “lie detector” for audience members, meant to introduce an element of confusion and uncertainty to subtly belie their limited agency as they were being interrogated by a security officer.
Built of plywood, laser proximity sensors, LED lighting strings, custom software, and fabric.
Installation view: screen in background with control cube on table in foreground
Drawn Together (2018–19)
A two-person drawing machine. Hands-on, interactive installation created as part of the Tough Art residency program at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. This piece was the next evolution of Start the Stop, challenging two users to collaborate to create a wall-sized drawing, using very large wooden wheels as their sole inputs.
Built of plywood, plastic, custom electronics, custom software, machined aluminum parts, and paint.
Prototype control wheel
Start the Stop (2017)
A mechanical two-person drawing machine installed at a bus stop. A mechnical box with large plastic pixels and two control stations invites two people to collaborate in making a drawing at a bus stop. Instead of standing there staring into the abyss of your phone, why not do something fun with a friend you haven’t met yet?
Built of plywood, plastic, ball chain, reclaimed industrial knobs, machined aluminum, magnets, straws, glue, steel rods, metal bearings, and suction cups.
Installation view from the front
Installation view from the rear
Mechanism: a magnet flips the pixels
Touchey Facey (2016–17)
A machine to record the precise positions of one person’s touch on another’s face. A very intimate two-person interaction experience. One person (the touchee) relaxes deep into a custom piece of reclining furniture; the other (the toucher) sits near their head, touching their face wherever they wish. Every time they touch, they close an electrical circuit, and a 3D camera records the contacts’ positions.
The computer record resulting from a touching experience is a catalog of each and every location that one person touched another’s face—a mapping of an intimate experience.
Built of plywood, fabric, a Makey Makey, a Kinect 3D camera, and custom software.
A face being touched
Screenshot of the software interface
Cardboard scale model and fabricated chair
A remote screen displays the touch-map to onlookers
A mother and son have a touching experience at the Pittsburgh Maker Faire
Roving Artist (2014)
A small vehicle to draw large pictures on the ground with chalk. A two-wheeled vehicle drags a piece of horizontal chalk along the ground as it travels. If the chalk is parallel to the direction the rover is driving, it draws a thin line; if it’s perpendicular, it draws a thick line. By traversing an area back and forth, the rover could (in theory) render any image at large scale on the ground.
Built of plywood, custom electronics, stepper motors, lasercut parts, scrap plastic, custom software, and chalk.
The Roving Artist
Sample input image: Gustave Courbet’s self portrait
Simulated output: chalk lines vary thickness from left to right
Tide Tank (2013)
A machine to adjust the water level in a fish tank to match the local tide. Built for and with the wonderful apprentice woodworkers at Rocking the Boat, a youth-serving boat-building organization in the South Bronx. The device talks to a NOAA server to query the current tide height at a sensor about a mile away in the Long Island Sound, and then uses that information to adjust the water height in the fish tank (which it does by opening and closing a valve).
Built of hardwood, custom electronics, an improvised float sensor, custom software, a servo motor, and a very wonky home-brewed flap valve.
Tide Tank diagram
Lights (many years)
I enjoy making lamps. Here’s a selection:
Plug lamp, plugged in
Plug lamp, bulbs only
While studying abroad in Beijing, China. The lighting in the dorm room I lived in was awful, but I knew I’d get in trouble if I installed my own. I hid the bulbs among water bottles awaiting recycling on top of the dresser.