FMP-2_10 ↓ The Assessment or Nothing

[EDITED] (This is the PREVIEW video, the final version is yet to be edited but should come soon!)

HOW TO – SURF WITH A MOUSE reveals the uncertainty behind (web-)surfing by materialising the mechanical mouse’s actions into tangible objects. These exaggerated objects covered in black symbolize the desire we seek in the glossy screen, while drawing the ambiguity between their anti-affordance and the context they are being re-used for. The physicality they add contrasts with the flatness of the screen and its gestural limitations. Let’s scroll, click, and move around, then. But, the question is – do we still actually (web-)surf? The genuine exploratory use of the Internet has been overshadowed by the never-ending feed and its algorithmic takeover. That’s why HOW TO – SURF WITH A MOUSE aims to layout the absurdity yet still exploratory aspect of digital culture, and its relationship with the addictiveness yet physicality of the gestures used.

The three objects, the sound, and the web, all is fairly finished and combined here. The objects are all painted in glossy black, I might spray another layer before the show though. I changed the CSS of the webpage to add a light cursor that fit the ‘discovery’ effect I wanted. You can see it here. The sounds are sampled via MAX/MSP (although edited through this video).

Here is my PE with all the research combined ↓

FMP-2_9 ↓ The Making or Nothing


In the last weeks, I was focused on the making solely. To do lists are vital!

Here are some pictures of the globe and the wheel part ↓

FMP-2_9 ↓ The Making or Nothing 5

Time to laser-cut the structure for the globe. The difficulty was the joints’ plan so that the structure itself doesn’t require any screwing.

FMP-2_9 ↓ The Making or Nothing 4

Now it is assembled and standing. The plastic ball I bought fits perfectly, and the only thing left to do is put the gyroscope sensor for its to work.

FMP-2_9 ↓ The Making or Nothing 3

I bought a wheel. The only solution I’ve found to connect its to the rotary encoder I’m using was to print a tube around the screw. I first 3D printed a tube to fit the screw, but the small part you can see on the top wasn’t fit enough to the rotary.

FMP-2_9 ↓ The Making or Nothing 1

Therefore, I thought of printing another tube that englobe both the first tube and the rotary.

FMP-2_9 ↓ The Making or Nothing 2

The inside is divided in two parts: one to fit the rotary, and one to fit the first tube I printed around the wheel’s screw.

FMP-2_9 ↓ The Making or NothingI guess it’s clearer with an actual picture of the rotary. At that time, it’s my second or third try? The print still wasn’t stable and straight, I missed it by barely 0.1 mm…! Anyways, it worked out in the end.

The tasks left to do are the pedals part and the painting. Gogogo.

FMP-2_8 ↓ The Concept or Nothing


Sketch Content 3 → I’m thinking of which newsfeed is the most interesting to extract.

Sketch Content 4 → GIFs always get to you. But I feel it isn’t doing anything much in terms of content for my project.

Arduino Prototype 2 → In the end, I focused on Reddit. I used their API and an infinite scroll script. The sub Shower Thoughts is pretty fun and fits my idea of the silly yet interesting web. Plus, I can easily adapt the CSS to fit the page to my visual concept.

The circuits were pretty straightforward to set-up as I already did some testing beforehand. I used the Mouse and Keyboard library of Arduino. Advised to be extra careful while uploading any code, I crashed my MBP a few times because it wouldn’t stop clicking… There might be some sorts of issues with the click, so I maybe won’t use it in the final version.

I guess it’s the last technical and concept plan…?

FMP-2_07 ↓ The Glossy or Nothing

It’s coming together ↓

I finalized the technical plan as you can see below, and delivered the final concept. I do feel it actually didn’t change much since the beginning – there were lot of iterations on the form though, and it did influence my content, but the content was anyhow the biggest challenge. Both parts had to be at the same time, in fact.

For the last part, I want to concentrate on the finishing touches. I want to not only think about the aesthetics, but also on their meanings. I recall I had a talk with Nicolas the other day about the physicality of the Internet, and its visual do matter. The screen is always produced as being glossy and shiny, and smartphones are often presented as objects of desire and are appealing. I want to challenge that ambiguity with my objects, being painted in black. [Because the screen is, well, black.]

Plus, instead of fabricating objects by myself as it was the case with the last sketch, I thought it would make much sense to use existing objects and hijack their functions – I was worried about the lack of meaning of my objects if I did fabricate them from scratch. I did hesitate though because of the eventual lack of visual coherence between the objects, but I will smoother everything out with the finish – aka the black paint. I still don’t want it to look to recycling my garage, ah. There would be different kind of black tones, I think – depending on the material I’m painting on. I’m also looking into an eventual cable color coding to add some peps to my “composition” – it’s actually a suggestion from my friend Osama.

I don’t know if I can call that scenography even, but I want to organize and layout my objects almost like I would practice graphic design within a grid, in fact. This is pretty important to me as a long-time practitioner, plus the fact that I also want to deliver a message with the overview installation. It’s also definitely inspired by surrealist and pataphysics installations and sculptures. With that in mind, I might be past the kitschy look I was a little afraid of.

Here are the mindmap for this time ↓

FMP-2_06 ↓ Web Surfing or Nothing

This week is another dilemma – the same actually, you don’t get rid of a problem by running away from its. 🙃 In the same day, I had a tutorial with Nicolas and Tobias, both with very divergent opinions about my project. Here is the mindmap, I’ll detail a bit afterwards ↓

I explained to Nicolas my concept to make exaggerated objects derived from the mechanical mouse’s functions – which is actually what I’ve started to get on last week with my sketch (5). The gestures’ embodiment within a known object aka the mouse offers my project a whole new framework. Nicolas is encouraging me to take that concept way further – into the scenography for instance, and to carefully think about each module and the overview’s cohesion, be its in the approach I’m taking and the apparence I’m setting down for.

As you might follow, I’m pretty stuck on the web content part. I feel like I’m already developing a concept that is a strong single layer about web surfing, and any web content’s layer on top on that might only end up as a bit too repetitive. This is why I proposed to make its only sound based using MAX/MSP – exaggerating the objects and the sounds solely, thus.

I’m already thinking of featuring samples from my friend Sima Kim’s EP IT’S A DREAM, TAKE CONTROL, for which I worked on a series of motion artworks. The sounds are overall pretty ambiguous, but I like the fact that it’s hard to discern what they are exactly. Its aesthetics somehow screams the physicality of the Internet, hence the visuals. Here is an extract of my works ↓

Although Nicolas was keen on the idea to have my project take a mechanical approach rather than a literal representation of the Internet, he still feel like it should at least have a visual feedback. Moreover, the sound part is solely thought to be able to work for several people at the same time as I did aim my project to be a participative project, but what if only a visitor is present?

Anyways, I’m sitting on its for a few days. Meanwhile, I need to get with the making ASAP. After the tutorials, I re-sketched up with keeping in mind the combination of the objects’ design and the sensors I might then use, following the recommendations of Nicolas ↓



Here is the 3D version ↓

FMP-2_07 ↓ The Glossy or Nothing 1

I’m not good at conceptualizing IRL at all, and I spent too much time worrying about its. That’s why I went to the 3D workshop the next day and asked for advice. The challenge here is definitely how to incorporate the Arduino’s circuits without being an obvious ‘hey, I’m an Arduino board!’.

Here is the first Arduino prototype, to get started on the feasibility. ↓

The pedal is definitely the most straightforward module – I just need to get some springs.

The wheel’s difficulty is how I connect its to the sensor – a rotary encoder would do the job better than a gyroscope then, it seems like a nightmare to hide that thing. (Here, I used a pot instead of a rotary encoder, though.)

For the ball’s board, I tested out the hall effect sensor with a magnet ball. I’m not convinced by that at all – it would need to have a double-bottom + a trick for the balance function. It seems like a rather complicated module that is shaped by its contraints rather than its function…! I’m also worried on the fact that it lacks meaning, since the two others modules might be hijacked off their initial functions but are still familiar objects – thus, they are recognizable and easy to comprehend.