Arduino, Processing
Leave a comment

The Aerographer – “Groundless air and a place inside the clouds”

the-aerographer-00

Created by Luiz Zanotello during his ongoing master studies on Digital Media at the University of the Arts Bremen, The Aerographer is an installation that explores the state of uncertainty in times of ubiquitous technological mediation, borders among territories and boundaries among bodies. Designed both a system and an individual, the Aerographer is “trapped on groundless air, seeking to sustain a place inside of the clouds”.

The installation reacts to subtle changes of airflow within a room. Conceived to be mounted temporarily and through serendipity, the installation can adapt to different spaces and situations modularly. Each module contains a fixed center part, and one to three fixed probing parts. Each probing part works as a disassembled hot-wire anemometer, grasping constantly micro changes of temperature between itself and the center to measure airspeed. In between them, a node travels by converting the measured airspeed difference into mechanical linear motion, which shifts retractable bands that can be connected to other nodes. A map unfolds, from a tree-like structure of fixed parts, to a networked kinetic map of differential measurements in motion.

The project speculates on the gaseous state of matter as Zeitgeist. It investigates how the contemporary digital utopias of network and information are shifting towards the turbulent tensions between materiality and boundaries, orientation and borders, homogeneity and transparency. The work explores the chaotic behaviour of the air for unfolding an unstable tangible map of a place, and deals spatially with the uncertainty that arrises from a space of shifting bounds.

the-aerographer-simulation-preview_small
↑ The Aerographer Simulation in Processing

The project was extensively prototyped with Arduino-based basic electronic components, and Processing for visualisation / simulation purposes. PCBs were produced using DIY techniques combining laser cutting on painted copper plates and etching. Installation uses Arduino Uno (stand-alone with an ATmega328p micro controller) and sensing is achieved using custom hot-wire anemometers, developed with inexpensive 1N4148 diodes working as temperature sensors – PCBs to hold the sensor parts. Motion is achieved by stepper motor drivers: DRV 8825 and NEMA 17 stepper motors. The installation includes custom 3D Printed white ABS pulleys and PLA holders, small cases and adaptors and well as custom laser cut cases of white and transparent acrylic plates. Retracting bands were made by grinding metric retracting bands enclosed on a 3d printed case. Finally, standard ball bearings, steel cables, threaded rods, nuts, and aluminum tubes complete the install.

Project Page | Project Blog | Luiz Zanotello

the-aerographer-05

the-aerographer-04 the-aerographer-02