Ryan Bartley

Coping Mechanism

A punching bag with an interior life, designed to break over time.


Glitch,Introduction to Computational Media,Introduction to Physical Computing

Coping Mechanism is a user experiment/experience. I\'ve created a punching mat from the ground up with an array of sensors that not only track where a user punches the bag but gives feedback visually (projected onto the bag) and aurally (coming from speakers above the bag). When the user punches it they see visually arresting graphics created from the punch and hear chords dynamically chosen from an array of notes attached to the position of the punch. However, what they don\'t see is a resistor ladder right under the surface of the bag that will break, creating unintended results over time. The projection placement (which begins at the center of the bag), shape, color and texture of the projected material, key, note length, frequency and resonance of the sound, in fact the entire interaction will change/distort/break as more and more users punch the bag. Like human beings, the bag is frail even though it looks as though it can take the beating. The idea behind this comes from human interaction and anger management (which is another working title). What I mean by this is that people come into your life having no real idea of what came before and when they leave your life they have no real idea what effect they had on it. All they have is the present interaction. I want to see how people react to something that was intentionally designed to break. That is why I don\'t want to print the one-liner or abstract. I don\'t want people to necessarily know what they are doing to the bag. I want them to interact with it in this slice of time and regard it as it is. The overall meaning will be developed through the video documentation of the user experience and the painstaking effort it took to create the bag itself. In essence, I will create a narrative of the bags life and the people that come into it, effect it, and leave it.