There is a shipwreck…

A few days ago I spent the day down in London with Lisa May Thomas at the Chisenhale Dance Space. Lisa’s been in residence there developing a version of her piece There is a shipwreck in my bones.

Shipwreck in my bones

I was invited to get involved after Lisa heard me talking at the Pervasive Media Studio last year – she liked the combination of technology, sculptural materials and the sense of movement within my projects.

So, having already armed her with a selection of wax pods, on Sunday I filled a large rucksack full of microcontrollers and sensors and headed over to see what I could add.

Lisa was already experimenting with projecting onto different surfaces, including the pods which resulted in a really nice scale and distorted image.

Shipwreck in my bones

I made some systems for colour shifting some LEDs in response to inputs of touch and distance. I also grabbed some snippets of the audio accompanying the piece and rigged up an ultrasound trigger in the passageway leading through the seating tiers to the performance area (Shipwreck is to be a promenade style experience where the audience moves freely around the auditorium, making discoveries along the way.

Of life.

Of death.

Of sea.

Shipwreck in my bones

What was really interesting though, was the process by which I decided to not include any of these. Putting circuitry in the pods limited the way they could be carried and the sense of otherworldliness. The effect of the proximity sensor in the corridor could so easily be replicated with an mp3 player for a fraction of the stress and uncertainty in my absence (I was only there for the one day).

In the end it may be that the one make I have contributed to the eventual realisation of the performance is a scrunched up soaked piece of brown paper.

Sometimes that’s just the way it should be.

Shipwreck in my bones