Week 16


refractions and wonder

#grad #play #optics #refraction #touchdesigner

For my experimental play research class, we were given an awesome prompt for our 1 week pressure project:

Give a gift that could never be sent

I decided that I would create a piece for my grandmother, Margot, that would be about memory and timelessness. For context, she is my paternal grandmother and lived on an Island in Venezuela called Margarita (hence the nickname). My inspiration was a trip I took to Venezuela in 2000, just after having moved to Florida. It was a trip filled with magically-real moments: swimming in pristine waters, listening to Gaitas, finding quartz crystals in the street. Most of all, I spent it with my grandmother. A fierce, no-nonsense woman who lived the life who I like to think of as my spirit guide or chimera. Below are some of my pre-production sketches: 


After a lot of ruminating, I decided to create some digital crystals to represent my memories from that trip:

After designing the media, I began thinking about the interaction and how I wanted to present the "gift." I've long been fascinated with projection on mirrors, water and transparent objects, so I decided to use a bowl as my projection surface. I placed a metal plate below the bowl to refract the light from the projection, and filled with bowl with water. At first I tested with tossing/dropping coins in the water because I thought of the ritual of a wishing well. They added additional texture to the projection, but were missing the connection to my grandmother. I then remembered that collecting dust under my bed was a box filled with shells I had previously collected in Florida and Venezuela. I used a pico projector and voila!


For the presentation of the gift, I invited my classmates into a viewing room that was in complete darkness except for the projection on the plate. Once everyone's eyes adjusted, I placed the bowl on the plate and slowly filled it with water from a glass bottle. After the bottle settled, I dropped a shell into the water. My classmates slowly followed the behavior, and dropped shells in the water. There was no additional audio, but I did talk a bit about my grandmother and the trip I took to Venezuela in 2000. Overall, it was a very solemn yet joyful showing and I think my grandmother would have loved to receive the gift if she was still here today. pa' culo malo el mio ~