Mimi Yin

Hangman’s Jig

A series of kinetic light sculptures that make use of rhythms and shadows to create a dance that unfolds both in the movement of the lights themselves and in the movement of the shadows that are cast upon the walls all around you.


Constructing Generative Systems,Mechanisms and Things That Move

Each of the three mechanized light sculptures are choreographed, following a rhythmic score that changes and shifts slowly over time.

The first sculpture is built with 3 lights, each attached to a spring that is in turn abruptly jerked by a very powerful pull-type solenoid in a rhythmic pattern. The sharp, mechanical pull of the solenoid creates an undulating oscillation in the spring that results in a bobbing motion that waxes and wanes as the rhythm changes. This is the heart beat of the series: regular, yet slowly shifting with occasional bouts of leaps and gallops.

The second sculpture forms the ground base of the series, moving back and forth at a constant speed in a simple rotary motion, like a mechanical hand-wave.

The last of the three sculptures consists of a light swinging from a motor arm. The movement of the bulb moves through a broad range of emotional states from anxious quivering to whirling dervish to wild flailing, ending in a fully extended perfect circle. This is the nervous system of the series: emotional, reactive, never still.

All three sculptures hang down from the ceiling and together they dance a suspended jig that starts in fits and grows in intensity before subsiding into stillness while the remaining energy stored in the springs and pendulum play themselves out.

Technically speaking, the movement of the solenoids and motors are controlled through code. However, the choreography is born of the interaction between the precisely-timed and pre-coded movements of the mechanisms, the intrinsic physical properties of the springs and pendulum the lights are attached to and the human bodies and objects that happen to be in the room.

Comm Lab video project from first semester: Choreographing using shadows and a moving light source. http://itp.nyu.edu/~yy600/blog/2011/03/07/moving-lights-study-1/

Modeling oscillating motion in Nature of Code.

Kids, adults. Anyone willing to stand still.

User Scenario
Viewers approach the light sculptures to watch their dance only to discover that they themselves are part of a moving shadow dance unfolding on the walls all around them.

A lot of aluminum, hose clamps, pull-type solenoids, gear box, incandescent lightbulbs, arduino unos, relays, transistors, h-bridge, a lot of wires, plugs, screws, nuts, washers, and a giant power supply.

Respect spec sheets when it comes to how much power devices draw.

Aluminum is hard to work with in a woodshop but doable with a lot of patience and an endmill bit.

High temperature glue does work.

Calibration is more than half the work.

Harnessing and manipulating the intrinsic physical properties of materials and mechanisms is more interesting than having direct control over the entire system.

How to build in a modular way. How to build to unbuild and re-build. How to build in a way that encourages experimentation and revisions.