[digi-fab final] The making of a NIME performance

Passing through, Passing through: A physical installation site, a yearning for voices from the past, a study of structure and elasticness, a dance with light and sound.

Initial design proposal here

Playing with materiality of constraint and release, I started this project intended to create a choreography inside of a wooden frame with multiple strips of elastic fabrics, in order to pursue different ways to cut through time and space.

I ended up making the majority of the project by hand. The scale of a human size frame is… definitely not something to underestimate. I made a frame that’s roughly 4 x 4 ft (the imprecision in scale created a bit problems), with two planes in the middle to hang lights from and house the electronics. This was the biggest thing I’ve made at ITP and I spent many many sleepless nights in the downstairs wood shop making mistakes.

I did, however, designed a wooden enclosure to clip the fabrics, so that I can hang them from the frame. After creating a model in Autodesk Fusion 360, I used the Techno HD-II CNC router to cut them out, following Lu Lyu‘s workflow.

When using the CNC machine, I tried to be really aware of wood usage, and challenged myself by practicing measuring for more precise routing on scrap wood to maximize the usage of the otherwise thrown away pieces.

There were a bit of trials and errors, particularly because I left too little space (0.5mm in the design file) between the pieces since I wanted them to securely clip the fabrics, but it turned out to be too tight for them to fully close. After sanding and finally assembling the pieces, I drilled two hook eyes on each pair, which then connect to stretch sensors that hang from the frame. All the metal connectors are either brass or zinc-plated, to ensure conductivity.

Assembly time!!

With light control in mind, I tested with a combination of DMX lights, LED strips and light bulbs. Here are some detail photos on the last month of NIME grind where I changed my mind to use physical light bulbs very last minute…

Video of sound and LED interaction

Exempt photos from ITP NIME, December 12, 2021

Thank you Jingyao, Mai, Yony, Lu Lyu. It has been an extremely lonely journey but I could’ve not have done it without their support.

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