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Fish, Hamsters, Hammers and Selfies

Neil Mendoza

In recent years we’ve begun mediating all of our real world experiences through devices.

First public installation was a large touch display (using the classic projector + webcam behind the screen trick for tracking) asked people to paint a copy of a famous art work. When you were done it would display the average of all the copies previous users had made.

Next up was a projection mapping project. Created a 3D mesh of a circle with pyramid-esque surfaces on it. Used a CNC to carve out the surface. Projection mapped the surface using the 3D mesh. The circle was hung up and could be spun. While spinning, a simulation, written in openFrameworks, ran that bounced a bunch of balls around inside and made sounds on collision.

“Making complicated useless machines”

Fish Hammer Installation with a fish tank in the center that contained a single goldfish. Around the tank was a semi-circular table with dollhouse furniture on it. Using openFrameworks and computer vision, the goldfish’s movement was tracked and a series of motors would move a hammer around the table, mimicking the fishes’ movement. When the fish would swim down, the hammer would smash something.

Hamster powered hamster drawing machine Putting the hamster in a wheel and having it drive mechanism. The wheel was attached to a cam that had been specially shaped and cut to allow it to articulate arms with a pen attached to draw a hamster.

As media artists, it’s very easy to work with the latest and greatest technology. But why should we? Why not recycle old stuff where possible. Junk electronics are great for repurposing into new works.

Mechanical Xylophone’s instructable.