Masters By Project: Installation Setup

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Assembling the installation for was relatively simple. Using the simulations of the installation as seen previously, I was able to pre determine where the balloons would fall and best look aesthetically placed within the space.  On arrival, I made this quick sketch to illustrate which order the balloons would be projected on they would roughly be spaced. The balloons were hung across nylon strings in the ceiling area, stringing them down trying to avoid having strings on a show as much as possible.

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Whilst setting up the installation some changes were made to the positions of balloons as seen in the photos above. Some of the balloons felt cramped and too symmetrical, I wanted to achieve a layered and distorted effect, with a more abstract feel to the composition of the balloons. Doing so gave each balloon its own space and utilised the range of motion within the motorized projection also. Below is the final sketch which I used to when programming the movements within the installation.

This photo is a composition of each virus projection on their allotted balloon as seen above.

Master By Project: Projector Motion

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The projectors motion has been a development of electronics and code based elements worked on throughout this project. The electronics as discussed have thrown me many issues which have been resolved by testing and researching using forums as my main source of insight. Being less experienced with electronic engineering I felt more time needed to spent here making sure the device worked correctly and consistently.

The projectors motion is driven by 4 key parts, electronics, Arduino and Processing and Mapping. The Arduino is a code base hardware application which can be programmed to drive electronic components such as motors, LEDs, pumps etc. In this case, I used them to drive 2 digital servo motors.

Controlling the Arduino was done using another code based application Processing, which can drive graphics, make web requests and many more interactive tasks using various additional libraries. Arduino and processing can be linked together using a library called Firmata. This library allows control of many of Arduinos features within Processing and USB. The reason for this is that I wanted Processing while driving the motor to send OSC (Open Sound Control) signals.

Using OSC signals, requests and interactions can be made to the application listening on the same channel as the OSC. MadMapper (Projection Mapping Application) by listening to OSC signals from Processing can turn on and off different layers and media content in response to this.

Altogether, Processing is the main components between the application allowing them to talk to one another. Processing does all these in a linear fashion. The code below is what I developed and used within the installation. Main points that are significant are.

  • Processing to MadMapper OSC link
  • Processing to Arduino Link
  • Time specific OSC and motor events.
  • Motor rotation direction and decision
  • OSC Control Events

Developing this allowed me to reach into my depth of knowledge using various application linking them together with a common goal which has remained constant throughout.


Master By Project: Final Renders

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Above are the final graphics renders for my master by project installation Virologist. The natives have been developed using a process which involved research, exploration, storyboarding, testing and experimenting. Every component within each graphic has a purpose or a connecting element with digital/biological virus. Using 3D and 2D animation tools such as Cinema4d, Houdini and After Effects, each graphic is created, simulated, composited and rendered together to make the series of clips.

This part of the installation was most challenging as lots time was spent experimenting on how each element should look whilst also making them visually interesting for an audience to perceive and observe. The imagery which stands out to me the most is the ILOVEYOU Virus. These were inspired by research into the artists Dan Lam, I think they have a real visual kick to them and pop off the screen. At this point, I’m excited to test the final imagery out within the installation itself.

Master By Project: Content Tests

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One experiment which I wanted to investigate was a reprojection test of content on the surface of the balloon. This is a commonly used technique which can sometimes produce interesting results. In this case, I took some of my motion graphics videos and projected them onto a surface whilst simultaneously filming the projections. Next, I took these videos and reprojected them onto the balloon’s surface to see the result. I was hoping the microscopic imagery might become more camera like have a more realistic appearance as a result.

Motion graphics



I think reprojecting the imagery didn’t have any beneficial effect on the imagery this time. In actual fact it made some of the imagery worse adding more grain and distortion into the content which was to be re projected. Unfortunately this didn’t work however, it was essential to test this anyway as a technique.

Masters By Project: Storyboarding Content

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Designing content for the installation has looked at the process, methods and similarities in digital computer viruses and biologocal virus. Using this idea the content for projection is being designed aiming to covey the processes of these digital agents in an abjstract but methodoligical form. The similarites and sandount features of common and significant digital virusus that will be encoprated into the instalation are as follows.

  • Polymorphic (Digital Virus) are similar to the biological virus Influenza because both viruses react and change if attached by anti-virus (immune system) the virus mutates and changes to avoid detection.
  • Bonnet (Digital Virus) are similar to the biological virus Malaria. Both share a common feature of containing a worm like structure which
  • Zuse Trojan (Digital Virus) resembles an HIV virus as it constantly infects, duplicates within each cell it infects.
  • ILOVEYOU virus has many elements attached to it which share various biological viruses. The ILoveYouviruss pirticularly harnesses the power of social media and dating web applications.
  • CryptoLocker (Digital Virus) is the most recent virus and is a ransom ware virus. This virus targeted the NHS and other large corporations locking down there systems demanding a ransom in exchange for the return of data.
  • Code Red (Digital Virus) is simalar to that the Ebola Virus as is part of the network worm viruses. Like the Ebola virus, it uses the host network and extended networks to further infect hosts rendering it non functional .

Throughot the development of the instalation an itterative process of designing content has been used. First an investeration into potentioal ideas that was then used to develop content based on these ideas. This was then refined further looking specifically at biological/cyber punk content and other artists work. Finaly using storyboads to generate a series of clips to portray the ideas to an audience in a way this wasnt descriptive but abstract and relatable which could convey the ideas in a powerful way.

Bellow are sketches which have been used in developing the stoyrboads for the instalation.

Masters By Project: Visual Style

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The visual style for the project has focused on designing elements of graphics and animation to represent and portray digital viruses through the media of microbic science visualisation. The connection between digital viruses and biological viruses is clear and has been discussed much throughout the project. Virialogy and scientific discovery into viruses and bacteria alike has developed over the last century since the quality of microscope improved. Research has given scientists the ability to visual see, understand and monitor the processes of viral contaminants, thus leading to vaccines and medicines being developed as a result.

The growth in digital virus has exploded since the ease of data access, widespread use of digital interfaces and prosperous rewards for developers. Although for the users, complex technologies that have become ever more difficult to understand making it far easier be misled by these digital agents. The way in which we see these digital agents which attack our digital footprints and electronics is written about in complex computer language that many can’t understand. By visualizing them in form of microbiological form

Cyber punk

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction which focuses on a cybernetic culture of the future with a high tech perspective upon society. Cyber culture often focuses on artificial intelligence, hackers and defective dystopian futures. Lawrence Person (1997) in Nova Express says “Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by the rapid technological change, a ubiquitous data sphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.”

Cyber punk has a particular style which interests me when discussing digital viruses as it’s glowing and low technology bright style portray a sense of unknowing and mystery. I feel this kind of imagery can best reflect the digital viruses nature and mystery as conceptual it underlines their hacking culture and unknown visual language.

Image result for cyber punk

Science visualisation

Viruses have been portrayed with imagery throughout exploration of microbiology and virology. This kind of imagery has allowed scientists to further understand the process, which viruses and bacteria use and undertake within the host. For example, this image is a virus being born and has allowed scientist to further understand another process with in a virus life development.

Image result for science virus visualization

Master By Project: Component Testing

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Working on the technical aspect of the project some refinements have been made to the electronics used in rotating the mirror. Some issues which were being experienced with jitter in the motors, power control and rotation precision. These issues are seen in the video below. When held in a stationary position the motor begins to jitter the image that was being projected.

In the first instance, a change of the servo motors which drive the rotation was attempted. I thought by upgrading these to a higher quality product with more precision could help remove this problem. Subsequently, this was not the issue in question however the improvements did aid the precision the and accuracy of the system.

Next, some investigation into the electronic systems suggested some additional components were needed to improve its efficiency. Capacitors were added to store a small amount of voltage for the motors prior to them moving. Resistors were added to control voltage coming from the Arduino board which was proving spiky and hindering the rotation of the servo. after a small amount of testing, it was found a 150 OAM resistor provided the best resistance for the circut. Also, a switch was added for power safety within the system in case it needs to be powered down. These additions have greatly improved the movement of the mirror system making the movement far smother and stead when held in a single position


Revision – 3/8/17

After further testing, some additional changes have been made to the circuit. As seen in the photo above there were some overlapping wires due to the complex nature of the electronics. The data cables from the Arduino running through the centre of the image in green and yellow was the main issue. It was realised by uncrossing them drastically reduced interfering signals between the motors. Also reworking some of the power input cables helped reduce some of the voltage spikes in the motors.

Master By Project: Tiny Infectious Agents

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Viruses are tiny infectious agents which invade our lives digitally and physically. Physically they invade our bodies aiming to survive and live by destroying and invading cells, this is where the host is to fight off the virus. The cells parts are transforming, moving and rotating being forced around by the virus where it is attempting to modify them. The virus spreads from host to host via a contaminant, infecting more host moving within the contaminated area. Different hosts appear and reappearing slightly different and modified each time depending on the host and strain. The virus defends against antibodies where it reacts by mutating, changing and deforming to suit. If it resists the antibody attack it could become a new more difficult virus for the host to defend against. Meaning the host could require additional external help from drugs or other methods of extraction.

The viruses goal is multiplication and survival within a host cell, depending on the viruses strain a range of different outcomes for the host are possible. Depending on the strength of the host virus can cause continues damage to the cell inevitably killing the host.

The Goal of the project:

Considering the huge rise of cyber ubiquity and integrating the use of technology within every aspect of our lives, I fear we are losing touch with reality. The reality outside our screens is much more beautiful and diverse. Through science humans only understand a tiny snippet off this expansive landscape of complex interactions. Displaying these man made entities in a more relatable and understandable form of imagery, I aim to give substance and meaning to the dangers and processes of digital viruses.

The goal of this project has been to investigate digital virology by artistically exploring the process using light and motion. Digital viruses have been on the rise ever since our lives have become more impacted by digital technology. With the rise in complex electronic technologies and ease of access the digital lives we live have come more under threat. We are constantly challenged by new and more advanced methods of attack. These owe many traits to biological viruses which as discussed exploit weaknesses within venerable host and cells.

Digital and biological viruses both have a similar goal, survival. Survival for the virus’s creator in a tangible world is a financial benefit, his survival is based off a capitalist need and desire to prosper through the downfall of hosts (the users) and cells (devices). He does this through a methodical process of harvesting information, capturing data and controlling the movement of our now essential devices.

We see this with some of the most recent large digital attacks which took hold of government and healthcare data, requiring ransomed money in exchange for the return of information. On a smaller scale phishing scams, malicious malware and keychain harvesting go on constantly which is only getting worse. The rise of fake news and other social media infections comes as another digital virus becoming more apparent and a recent trend.

This video below is a small mock up of the current installation with a few modification from the previous version.