MIDTERMS: Experimental Agar Piano and Boids display

Midterm Project: Get into groups of not more than 4 to 
create anything related to softwares we have learnt 
- Processing, Arduino, Adafruit - 
or anything related to experimental interaction.

My group mates and I brainstormed and eventually decided to use the Circuit Playground express to create an interactive agar piano using capacitive touch. From there, we built on the idea and wanted to our final product to produce something with visuals.

With that thought in mind, we decided to expand our initial idea into:

An interactive agar piano causing a visual to appear when a key on our “piano” is pressed.  

Use fruit to play sounds
Visual produced with each sound made
division of work

Since our project consists of different components – Circuit Playground, Making of Agar and buying of fruits to experiment with, Processing – we decided to split our work into these categories as well. At the same time, we still all did research on ways to improve our project.

Processing — Claire

Ada Fruit — Dominique

Agar Agar fruit experimentation with Circuit Express— Jamie & Dinis

This way we could all work on our individual parts at our own time and put everything together at our group meetings.


Our first group meeting was mainly to test out if capacitive touch really works with the fruits. Jamie and I prepared boxes of Agar and Jello to see the difference and brought whole pieces of fruits to test out as well.

Prepared a variety of materials to experiment for capacitive touch
Circuit express programming

Unfortunately, our agars and jello did not work, instead we only managed to get the capacitive touch to work with the vegetable our fruit slice.

This method of poking crocodile clips into fruits worked and allowed us to play sounds by just touching the fruits. As a result, we decided to go back and try again as it should work with the Agar and at the same time, Claire could still work out the visuals through Processing.


During our consult on recess week, our group’s main problem was to link Adafruit to Processing so that one key on the “piano”  is pressed, it will create a reaction in Processing, then forming a visual on screen because of the key pressed. However, there were several port issues and the adafruit code would not link. We first tried the method of connecting adafruit to arduino first as it may be easier to connect it bit by bit this way. BUT! It also didn’t work! Dominique and I realised that the computer port may not be recognised and tried to troubleshoot it through the control panel on her windows laptop.

Finally!!! We managed to fix it and the port connection was still successful so we eventually managed to transfer the code over. From there we worked out the connection to processing as well.

Claire was also struggling with the visuals as she wasn’t sure how to make the visuals come out and how to make it sync with the sound/key pressed. Thankfully she managed to clear her doubts and eventually coded boids that looked amazing 🙂 We all owe it to her for the coding on Processing.

Jamie suggested to use real piano audio notes instead of the adafruit sound, so that we can make it louder and also it is clearer that we are trying to mimic a original Piano.

On the day of the presentation itself, we realised that we were not able to carry out capacitive touch as processing reads pure touch and not different pressures. Because of that, we weren’t able to clip the crocodile clips as the boids will appear non stop because of the constant pressure and crash the code.


I was in charge of creating the looks of the agar agar piano and testing out with the circuit express if the capacitive touch works with it, and it did! 🙂

Final Agar Piano Keys Look
Final Set Up
Final Boids Look: More swimming colourful triangles will appear everytime you touch the adafruit. They can swim in different patterns such as disperse, avoid and gather. They can also grow or shrink in size with different keys pressed.

Overall, this project was enjoyable even though we met a lot of difficulties. I do think that it has taught us a lot and we have managed to find out more about these various softwares. Creating the Agar was fun but I hope to be able to do more coding for my future projects.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Do It With Others | DIWO |

Do It With Others or DIWO for short, is a term that was created back in 2006. The term DIWO, means what it stands for, of which is collaboration. With the world slowly revolving and advancing, individualism may not be the best way to progress because collaboration allows more than just working with possibly smarter people. Collaboration creates a community where everyone can share openly with one another.

Adobe Connect Screen Recording of Marc Garret with ADM students

After reading the article and watching  the video of Marc Garret, I realised that DIWO is necessarily not limited strictly to art cultures. It can go beyond that and combine different fields together for example, art and science.  By having such combinations, outcomes will be more effective and creative.

Here are some points that I have picked out after reading the article,

History of DIWO

Unexpectedly, DIWO did not start out in a pure art space, instead it started with experimental music sound and music in the late 80s and 90s. A music scene that speaks the same values as DIWO is the contemporary indie scene. Indie music scene is a independent music scene, most likely creating music that is in opposition to mainstream music. Like Indie, DIWO is also independent and self-governed due to its practice of grounded ideas and relational connections with others. DIWO most closely associated to Media Art, till today, is still struggling to find its place in the world. Media art depends largely on technology together with sound recordings and visual images to create art works. DIWO also has cultural and historical links with Net Art and Technical Media.

Roles between artists and curators

Practicing DIWO challenges the roles between artists and curators. With DIWO, there is no one strict role, an artist can become a co-curator and a curator can become a co-creator. This collaboration in a sense allows roles to be mixed around and opportunities for fresh ideas/opinions to grow. Like others say, sometimes it’s good to have a pair of fresh eyes. As such, DIWO promotes a more unique collaboration and sharing experience.

DIWO and Maker Culture

Maker culture is a phenomenon leaning heavily towards the idea of constructivism. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) methods are part of the Maker Culture as they promote hands-on learning. DIWO itself also expanded from the term DIY but instead of doing hands-on learning yourself, you now should share your experiences and learning with others. DIWO compared to DIY “is more representative of contemporary, collaborative – art practice which explores through the creative process of using networks, in a collective manner.”

Article Reflections

I resonate and agree with the practice of DIWO. As mentioned in the article, artists actively urge to introduce themselves as ‘new’ and ‘exciting’. Because of that, we don’t learn to move forward and create opportunities to receive greater, wider creative dialogue, we may forever be stuck in a cycle. The art of working with others, sharing information with others has definitely more pros and cons. DIWO is slowly getting recognition from the world.

A rising trend that is has values of DIWO is Crowd-sourcing where anyone and everyone can help contribute to a project whether it is sharing of ideas of helping monetarily. Because of crowd-sourcing, many projects that were once deemed impossible to create has now been completed and that is only possible because of collaboration.

I am excited to see the practice DIWO grow and impact the way the world does art or anything else for that matter!


DIWO (Do-It-With-Others): Artistic Co-Creation as a Decentralized Method of Peer Empowerment in Today’s Multitude.



image from: http://mattblease.tumblr.com/post/137349721656



Type as Image: Research

I started this project with a little difficulty as I had no idea what direction I should take. After looking through some of previous semester’s students’ work, I realised that this project was tricky as it was not solely typography, but rather creating type as an image.

I started the ball rolling by reading up and doing research 
on typography as well as searching for examples and 
inspiration online - from Instagram and Pinterest.

John Foster – Dirty Fingernails

“We can all choose the same font for a project, but we could never draw identical typography”

Keeping a Diary by Sagmeister Inc. 

  • Instalment series are called, ” Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far”
  • Sagmeister adapted what had been a still photography exercise into a short movie

Having Guts Always Works Out For Me by Sagmeister Inc.

  • “This time we built the typography in wildly different ways and locations”
  • Showed the before and after effect in photos
  • Explored various mediums and were experimental

Temporary Type by Oded Ezer

  • Used industrial conditional air fillers
  • Looks as if they were made out of ashes or dust
  • “I’m testing the intersection between typography and art” – they have the same meaning but not a medium for direct communication

Flight of the Conchords by Subpop Records

  • Pop Art 1970s style
  • Hand drawn illustrations
  • A surreal landscape of shapes and colours
Ina Saltz – Typography Essentials (design principles when working with typography)

– some points that I felt were interesting and have not never really thought about before –

1) Using Letter as Form

  • each letter is a shape unto itself
  • series as an illustration
  • can be expressive when used alone

2) Emphasis using weight

  • when you stay within the same type family and vary the weight of the family member
  • it can create contrast and more emphasis on certain alphabets
  • can signal shift in hierarchy

3) High Contrast in Reverse

  • reversing or “dropping out” may be a good effect but it must be done with care and at small sizes
  • those that have at least a moderate stroke weight, with little or medium contrast between thicks and thins – work best with reversed-out type

4) Deconstructed Type

  • can be used as an ornament, as navigation on devices and as pattern

I mostly draw my inspiration from Instagram accounts and Pinterest. Here are some accounts and artists that I’ve come across.

I’ve always been a fan of @artsyalexx. Although her typography works are simple, the colours that she use are very eye catching and easy to relate to. Her works are trendy and very attractive with the younger crowd. I really like the way her fonts always vary in terms of style as well as size in the alphabets. She digitally draws these artworks.

I’ve been following @stefankunz for a while. He turns encouraging words and phrases into typography art pieces. He doesn’t just draw these words on regular paper, but instead he draws them on shoes and even laptops. Any surface can be his canvas!

I chanced upon @goodtype while researching for inspiration. This Instagram account consists of so many great typography examples and has allowed me to look at the variety of letter forms and ways to play around with form and style.

Jing Zhang is an illustrator who has done an alphabet series. She takes a single alphabet and manipulates it. Its almost as if she creates a world out of one alphabet.

Raganath Krishnamani is an illustrator that also occasionally plays with alphabets. Similar to Jing Zhang, he also manipulates letters, adding elements to them so they look like they are a world/building of their own. His other illustrations are also usually quite dark with lots of shadows.


After doing research and looking at many different artworks, I was more certain of the art direction that I wanted to follow. I decided to go with illustrations as I thought that illustrations will be the best way to portray my ideas and thought process across.

See my next post for my process and final compositions!