Arduino, Objects
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Three Machines on Transparency – Pursuing philosophical concepts as functional prototypes

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Created by Jasna Dimitrovska as a part of her Digital Media – HfK Bremen, Master Theses, Three Machines on Transparency is a project that is imagined as an “exhibition by appointment” where the artist guides the audience throughout the gallery installation. The three machines represent artefacts that by own demonstration allow the artist to synthesise philosophical concepts of different forms+ideas of transparency into the corporeality.

The first machine, “The Gaze”, includes a led light attached to a 3 core cable. The glass object is filled up with glycerine. Commonly a light beam does not go trough a glass bottle but it disperses. In optics the refractive index is a number that describes how light, or any other radiation, travels through that medium. The refractive index determines how much light is bent, or refracted, when entering a material.


↑ Gaze and Time

The second machine, “The prison”, is an observational device that has one function and two processes providing heat and cold as manually controlled cycles. At the top you see an acrylic sphere covered with biodegradable thermoplastic material that changes it’s transparency when heated up to 65°C thus becoming easily moldable. By cooling down slowly loses it’s transparency and regains it’s firmness. It is perfect for making small gears and it is used for that at the servo-controlled spray mechanism at the bottom of the machine. In this way an environment which triggers this changes in the thermoplastic is being created. Four servo controlled ice spray cans cool down to temperatures of -25 to -55°C. At the bottom attached to the main power cord there is a 5v adapter that powers an Arduino which controls the servos by one switch. There is a reboxed “heat gun” in the middle of the machine, 5v adapter powering a “relay” (electrically operated switch usually using an electromagnet) attached to the main power cord. After a few seconds of heating you can observe the slow process of transparency.


↑ heating to transparency / prison && cooling to opaque / prison

Finally, the third machine, “The Time”, consists of a holder for the thermoplastic. The thermoplastic balls fill up the pipe and stop at the little push mechanism- a plate that gets pushed by the Bowden cable and then releases a small number of balls trough a rubber pipe into the hot water. As before-mentioned the thermoplastic becomes transparent and moldable at the temperature of 65°C so when they fall at the bottom they vanish into their own transparency. In a few seconds the plastic balls rise to the surface and float to the edges of the glass bottle where they create a foam-like shape.

In all three scenarios the intentions behind the objects is not to simulate or re-resent any particular concepts relating to ‘transparency’ but rather be used as a way to transverse philosophical concepts. If the design process is reversed, ie if the starting point to design is language/or our now very familiar and complex relationships to “transparency” in the context of data disclosure and politics, how may we approach design as a means to pursue transparency as functional prototypes or as Jasna describes it – an embodiment of transparency itself.

Project PageJasna Dimitrovska

The Prison

The Prison

The Time

The Time

The Time

The Time

The Gaze

The Gaze