More or less one year ago I sent a parcel to Japan with my first interactive installation inside. Toshiro Yamaguchi invited me to participate in the Koufukuji International Contemporary Art Show, an exhibition held at a temple in Nagasaki. Having participated in previous expositions and festivals with videos and music, I decided to do something different for the occasion. The idea of making an interactive installation had been lurking in my head since I started using Processing and Arduino. And since for some time I had been thinking about what to do with my growing collection of photos (apart from uploading them to Flickr) and being a bike lover, I came up with a combination of both and some generative sound and interaction.
The objective was to do it low-cost and so I recycled a few wooden blocks and contrived a way of making a traction sensor with a few resistors and many rubber bands.
All the system had to be detachable in order to be able to send it comfortably to the far east. Takashi Hasegawa kindly offered his laptop, which I had the luck of being able to test with my software on a visit he paid me.
After sending the parcel, I crossed my fingers hoping that it would arrive without any problem and everything would work as in the tests.
Well, it seems that I didn’t cross them enough, because the installation didn’t work: the brakes didn’t brake and I wasn’t there to fix it.
Toshiro and Takashi kindly did everything they could to solve it, especially Takashi, who spent the night before the opening trying in vain to find a bug in my code. Finally, Takashi offered me to make a video with my photos and ambient music. The hack helped me stay in the exhibition, but obviously left everyone with a bad aftertaste, especially me: my Brakes didn’t have brakes…
When the parcel was sent back to me. I didn’t even want to open it. But curiosity became stronger than my resentment and finally I looked for the source of the failure, which ended up being a damaged cable.
After fixing it, I met Josu Goiri, who invited me to participate at a collective exposition at Astra Gernika. So I decided to give my invention another opportunity to and it went much better: my artwork had quite a lot of acceptance! However, not everything went smoothly, since all the devices of my installation could be unplugged by anyone, something that innocently happened a few times.
This time, my proximity to the location of the exhibition was essential in order to be able to solve this unforeseen problems and manage to make my brakes functional and enjoyable by the majority of the visitors.
With these experiences I have learnt various things, which I’d like to share:
I hope that my article will spare someone interested in this kind of art some time. And if you want to share some advice, please, do so in the comments.
¡And thank you again, Toshiro and Takashi! ありがとうございました！