Saiyah #2 / Motor Controller

  • Yoko Seyama Art & Scenography
  • Max/MSP, Kinetic Installation, Motor controller, Arduino

Motor controller for kinetic light installation.

Saiyah is a kinetic light installation by the artist and scenographer Yoko Seyama. The piece consists out of an array of independent modules, in which dichroic glass plates are rotated and actuated by stepper motors. The careful arrangement of several full-spectrum lights create a fascinating play of reflections and shadows, which immerses the spectator in an environment of evolving patterns, colors and movements in space.

Each module of the installation consists out of one glass plate, one stepper motor, and one magnetic sensor (Hal-Sensor). In order to synchronize the independent modules, the magnetic sensors give feedback about the current state of each module.

We supported Yoko with the development of the software which allows for controlling the motors and composing the different parameters and queues (acceleration, timing, speed) over time.

The first version of the installation had to be stand-alone and the implementation was limited to a minimalistic technical setup: the Arduino micro controller and the Arduino software. The Arduino programming language is great and fun to work with. However, writing code for a composition can also be quite challenging, mainly because of the lack of a graphical interface and the restrictions of imperative programming.

Especially when it comes to changing values over time, such as in creating a complex composition, queues and presets have to be saved in loooooooong arrays.

// MOTOR 1
long s1_positions[ ] = { -45000, 999, -5000, -6000, -1000, -7500, -10000, 5000, -10000, 5000, -10000, 5000, -10000, 5000};
long s1_speeds[ ] = {200, 10, 200, 200, 200, 1000, 5000, 5000, 3, 1000, 1, 1000, 48, 100};
long s1_accelarations[ ] = {15000, 15000, 15000, 15000, 7000, 10500, 5000, 10000, 100, 1, 1000, 1, 100};

// MOTOR 2
long s2_positions[ ] = { -15000, -10000, -45000, -10000, -17000, -35300, -10000, 5000, -10000, 5000, -10000, 5000, -10000, 5000};
long s2_speeds[ ] = {1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 1000, 5000, 5000, 3, 1000, 1, 1000, 48, 100};
long s2_accelarations[ ] = {5000, 5000, 7000, 700, 7000, 10500, 5000, 10000, 100, 1, 1000, 1, 100};

			

Surface and Destroy in Kinosaki Onsen / Further developments

For the second phase of the project we were invited participate in the project "Surface and Destroy", initiated by Kenta Kojiri in lovely Kinosaki Onsen, Japan. During the three weeks artist in residency program we worked on the further development of the motor controllers, and created a performance together with Kenta Kojiri, Yoko Seyama and Yasuhiro Morinaga. The artists explored the location of Kinosaki Onsen, each in their own artistic medium, and their research resulted in an intriguing performative environment of dance, light and sound.

Documentation by Endo Ryu

In order to facilitate composing, we switched to the graphic programming environment Max/MSP. We built a nice interface which allows Yoko to work intuitively with the lights, navigate the motors and control the behaviour of the modules over time.

OSC communication

Using OSC communication (Open Sound Control) between the stepper motor controllers and Max/MSP, every aspect of the setup can be controlled in real time.