Electrical Vine – mid course critique

Group members:    Tea Dickman, Guy Dowsett, Petteri Mäkiniemi, Aku Rouhe

EL vine
Our location, at the school of Electrical Engineering, is the one wall of the acoustic lab that is without a mature Virginia Creeper growing all the way up it, thickly rooted and brilliantly leafy in the leafy season. On our chosen wall is only concrete. We propose to change this.

A new creeper plant installed on the wall to resemble and refer to the creepers on the other walls, seemingly growing towards the other creepers. Our creeper is made of electro luminous (EL) wires.

Several faculties, schools and groups of people have come together to make Aalto University. Aalto is a celebration of different people, ideas and thoughts combining to share knowledge, learn together and grow. For this we see the vine as a very poignant symbol.

One tree many roots. This is a famous saying and song. It celebrates the idea that people are connected. Aalto connects people of many origins and nurtures them, inspires them to thrive.

Our vine, crafted from electrical wires, also comments on its location in the school of electrical engineering. The sight of electrical wires combining and growing towards natures own vines can be seen as a harmonious relationship between nature and technology.

Our vine is brought to life by the people who pass by and interact. Audio inputs effect the appearance of the EL wire vine. The characteristics of the sounds made by people will impact and determine the lights and colours of the vine.

Four separate EL circuits make up the vine. The first being the default or base state which is visible without input or interactivity. The other three circuits correspond to audio channels. Separate input sources (microphones) allow and impose the state of each circuit. Characteristics of the sounds made by people (pitch/frequency and amplitude) are what change the state of the vine.

If person A sings/shouts/plays at the appropriate frequency/volume/duration then circuit A will light up. As s/he approaches the optimum pitch/volume the light flickers faster and faster until it reaches a state of unbroken light. It remains lit until some time after the optimum sound has been achieved.

The three input sources are sufficiently far apart so that one person cannot affect more than one. In order to get all three light circuits lit, there must be at least three people ‘collaborating’. An extra ‘bonus’ light could come on if all three unbroken light streams are achieved.

The characteristics required for the ‘optimum’ sound could be a combination of pitch, amplitude and duration. These ‘rules’ could change from time to time, or perhaps every time. Perhaps a harmonious chord would have to be found, or a note two octaves higher than the first one sung. The idea is to encourage collaboration and energy. The idea of sound as an input also refers to the acoustic lab on the other side of the wall.

Our EL wire vine celebrates collaboration, and sharing of ideas. A single person cannot illuminate all of the vine, it requires co-operation with other people. The act of opening one’s voice to a level of unhindered enthusiasm, in conjunction with other people doing the same, serves to unite a group of people and also to clear out the cobwebs of inhibition. The group is rewarded with a full lighting display not otherwise available, and continues with a sense of sharing and the liberating feeling of having opened themselves up, or at very least their lungs.

A single person with the required enthusiasm can illuminate a good part of the vine but only a true collaboration can light up all of it. In ‘idle’ state the various lights will flicker intermittently, enough to show passers by the potential that awaits them, alluring and tempting them to try and light it all up.

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