Notes ↓ Ars Electronica

It was such an amazing week that I need to retire from the IRL world a bit to reflect – and finish off my FMP. Well, this is hence the time to write some words about it.

In every festival – especially at a scale such as Ars Electronica – you are bound to go “Huh?”, get impressed, eventually dislike, and finally simply get struck by particular ones. The energy of Ars Electronica itself was very good, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to experience this. I definitely feel this brought up the cohort together, and I hope we will use that energy to pull off an amazing graduate show in a little more than 2 months. I’m starting to get a little bit sad to graduate, although I have long waited for that moment 🙃

Anyways, I can’t detail the whole trip but here are my two biggest impressions ↓


Nyloïd is a sound sculpture made by the brothers André and Michel Décosterd under the name Cod.Act. I first saw it while the artists were setting it up, and it’s definitely mesmerizing. The simplicity of the execution – at least, that’s the impression it gives from the output – got me.

Even if you might not particularly like it, it definitely get you a reaction. It’s pretty interesting to see how it differs from one to another person, and discuss your different impressions. In my case, I found it simply soothing for reasons I can’t explain. It’s also when the technology manages to get past its wow factor, and open up to its own materiality – I really appreciate that.

Robot, Doing Nothing

(I like the title.) Robot, Doing Nothing is an installation directed by Emmanuel Gollob and Johannes Braumann, with the collaboration of Michael Schweiger and Chris Noelle.

It looks supra complicated, but it isn’t doing anything useful. If I remember correctly – this is a speculative scenario – it is encouraging the act of doing nothing as a new way to be efficient in society, by meditating with the installation. Here, the wow factor is definitely exploited and hijacked in a critical pov.

I kind of relate since my project also portrays a stance on meditation, although mine would be particularly focused on un-addiction. It gets me to the question of meditative technology – and intentionaly or not would be my biggest question mark.

But, that’s not the coolest. The coolest is that both were exhibited just a step away from the Campus part we were at. It was super cool to casually walk by those every day to reach my own project. Almost normalizing how amazing it was.

Social Things_11 ↓ Ars Electronica

Here is my project at Ars Electronica ↓

At the beginning, a bad habit re-surfaced – my low-confidence self took over and I was really sick of my project. I guess it’s because I didn’t have any feedback of the updated version of the project, since the version I submitted was a prototype finalized in its concept but not in its form. Those last steps were made during the summer, and I didn’t get to meet or talk to many people during that span of time.

Seeing everyone pretty confident about their own projects and happily talking about its, forced myself to reach to the audience – despite my hesitations. Also, my cohort was a good support in that – it’s always scary to putting yourself out there, at least for me.

Turn out my project was more easily understood than expected, and I got some good feedbacks. It seems it’s definitely relaxing, and most of the audience got right away the concept of the scroll gesture or at least why I did that. I guess the title “DO IT RIGHT, DO IT SLOW” helped in that, as well as the actual shape of the object…? At least, that’s what I got.

I hope there will be opportunities to continue exhibiting my object – and definitely take it further. I think I already said that in a previous post, but I want to make it as a modular synth instead of simply playing samples. Also, get rid of the Mac Mini part to make it self-sufficient. It’s too bad MAX/MSP isn’t supported by Raspberry Pi, but I guess Pure Data would take over then.

It’s my last entry blog as a student for that project, but it is to be continued 🙂

Social Things_10 ↓ Making

I had a great time this summer crafting my object! I’m posting it in one go but I recall I may have spent 1-2 weeks in total for the final making.

My main obstacle was to find out how to make the wavy shape. Thankfully, Nathalie from the 3D workshop is full of tricks. She told me that bending wood is a whole another level of difficulty, but that I could take a different approach about its. We started by laser-cutting the sides in their wavy shapes, and forced a very thin layer of wood on the top to bend over the cut shapes.

I don’t know if it makes sense, so here are some explanatory pictures ↓

Social Things_10 ↓ Making
My first plan, vastly corrected by Nathalie. I’m definitely not a 3D person, but I try.


Social Things_10 ↓ Making 9
Nathalie’s sketches. It’s basically a box in two parts. She recommended MakerCase to generate my plans and then adjust them on Illustrator for the wavy part – super useful, I didn’t have to think about the joints.


Social Things_10 ↓ Making 7
All the parts are cut and glued together. I unfortunately didn’t take any in-between pictures, but you can see the thin layer of the wood glued to the thicker sides – hence the shape shaped.
Social Things_10 ↓ Making 6
Pipe helping me with the scotching so that the glue stays put.


Social Things_10 ↓ Making 5
After deliberation (Nicolas, Betty and Pipe being the jurés), I decided to get rid of the bottom half. It was way too big compared to my expectations.


Social Things_10 ↓ Making 4
Thus, I made another bottom part to be able to close the box.


Social Things_10 ↓ Making 3
I re-tested the electronic part, since I changed the alu to copper tape – much more stable.


Time to sand, sand, sand.


I applied a black satin paint in 2-3 coats, and another satin finish coat on the top.

I also changed the Arduino and the MAX/MSP part. Gareth helped me out for the Arduino part – instead of just reading the pin number, we adjusted its to the speed being read between two pin numbers. Thus, I can use that number within MAX/MSP to play out different samples according to the speed.

It’s all ready and set for Ars Electronica 😎