Mould improvements

I’ve been getting some interesting cast out of the first mould I made for the waggle pods, but a lot of out-right failures too. It’s been feeling like I’ve been fighting the mould most of the time.

Time to make a new mould.

I managed to get a decent wax cast from the first mould which I dressed to make into a pattern for the second:

Mould v2

Mould v2

Mould v2

Mould v2

I decided to include a pouring hole in the design for this mould – more to assist with cooling and extraction than for the pouring process itself. Also a few extra details like handles, because I’d been struggling to part the two halves of the last mould.

Wow! This mould works a lot better! The first three casts have all come out successfully, so I now have enough to experiment with to try and get a solution for inserting and fixing the electronics…

Mould v2

Mould v2

Where the heart is

ripples

I’m interested in how we connect to distant places.

A lot of my work prompts people to consider their immediate surroundings, but what of those places we feel some part of us is in, even when our bodies are elsewhere? Are you homesick? Do you long to travel to a particular place? Are you missing someone you can’t be with right now?

When a GPS Orchestra workshop seeded sleepless imaginations of being able to harness bee power, it got me thinking about the waggle dance bees use to communicate the location of good sources of pollen with other bees back at the hive. Since then I’ve been working on developing an object that signals to you your relative location with these significant places.

I want something that feels special.
Something that feels as precious and as fragile as the emotions and memories the person holding it has invested into the process.
Something that makes you slow down, something that encourages you to be contemplative.

I want a conversation that lets me spend time thinking about the places that are significant to me.
I’m curious about the places that belong to other people. The people that belong to other places.

I want to be stood on the deck of a sailing boat at dawn and have it remind me where home is.

Place interfaces – thoughts on bubblewrap, bees and lumps of clay

Here’s the audio and visual for the Lunchtime Talk I did on Friday for the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol. I’m afraid I couldn’t add the wax pods

In the talk I outline how I first got critical of interfaces and then use 3 recent projects (Colony, Dust and Waggle) to talk around approaches and experiences relating to using physical interfaces to mediate between people and place as well as between people and tech (and people and other people).

Wax and a bit of a waggle

Hurrah! Three separate proofs of concepts came together today – functioning mould, motor affecting a wax shell, and the electronics – so it’s now full steam ahead to try and get a working prototype together for my upcoming talk at the Pervasive Media Studio.

Here are some photos from today.

Soaking the mould in order to separate the two halves

The two halves of the mould parted to reveal the clay pattern they were formed around.

The mould, now containing molten wax, strapped up and about to be tumbled until my arms ached too much to continue...

Fettled pod. Ths test casting just used whatever dregs were available, resulting in this green colour. Now I know it works, I'll start testing different blends to get the translucent effect I want.

Next it was time to see if the motor I've been protoyping with has the right sort of effect on the wax shell. It does!

All of my ‘making of’ photos are going into this set on Flickr. If you do eventually spend fifteen minutes walking around with one of these things, please spare a though for the weeks of making that have gone into it!

Clay + plaster

This week’s making saw the clay finally dry out enough to do the last of the shaping, a quick burnish to try and make the surface detail look a little less ‘made’, and then a speedy 2-hour mould-making dash.

burnishing

burnishing

mould-making

mould-making

mould-making

mould-making

With both halves of the mould now plastered, it’s a case of waiting a few days before I can get back into the workshop, prise them open and see how it’s worked.

After that we buy wax; lots of wax!

Back in the clay room

kidney lines

I’m enjoying the chance to get hands-on with different materials and really have some options when it comes down to choosing what to make my interfaces out of.

For this project I’ll be casting some forms in wax. Yesterday and today I began the process of making a pattern from which to make the mould for the casting.

You gotta love clay.

support mould

halves

top and bottom

blob

cut and squidge

The birds and the bees and the fish

I had a sleepless night a few weeks ago when, seeded by GPS Orchestra, inspiration for a project struck.

Actually, less inspiration and more a vision of the finished thingy. The task now is to figure out how to make it.

Whilst that’s going on, I’ve been looking for ways to describe what it is that I want to make (happen). The image that seems to capture something of the quality of the movement of people that I’d like to see is that of a shoal of fish. You know the epic, deep water, deep deep blue natural history films; you know the voice over; you know the big shoal of fish, moving through the ocean as a group of individuals; and then flash! suddenly there’s a coordinated movement and a moment of silver.

I think that’s what I’m after.

Looking for video, I’ve also got sucked into murmurations.

I also aspire to the reaction at 1m 40s in the video below:

Murmuration from Islands & Rivers on Vimeo.

That’d be nice, huh?

And the bees? More to come on them later, I expect…



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