More selected projects

Mission Control Chair

This project uses two buttons, an accelerometer, and a piezo attached to an office chair to create generative art in an Open Frameworks program.


Produced by: Richard Rattner



    This project is about exploring how the user navigates their immediate habitat, while also tying together the ideas of spontaneity, whimsy, and art creation.  Technically speaking, this project attaches an accelerometer, a vibration sensor, and two buttons to an office chair.  These sensors are connected to an art generation program, which reads the output from these sensors to modify the piece it generates.  This art generation program consists of a circle that is lobbed around the screen leaving a trail behind it by reading the output from the accelerometer, can change color by pressing one of the buttons, can be rotated by pressing the other, and will become less round the more vibration is detected.

     On a physical level, the user needs to navigate the space that they are in by rolling around on a chair, and can see that impact the creation of the generative art piece in front of them.  This challenges our usual navigation of space, turning the space around the user into a canvas, and the user into a tool to paint upon that canvas.   As the user rolls and begins to understand the reactions they see on screen, they can better control how the piece develops.

    Often art is portrayed as a very stoic and serious endeavor, and while that's certainly a worthwhile pursuit, it can overshadow that art can be more lighthearted and whimsical.  To emphasize this, this project ties the creation of art to an act with seemingly universal appeal: rolling around the room on an office chair.  The act of rolling around on an office chair is often considered silly or childish, which is why here it's tied to the creation of the art.  This is also intended to let the user let go, and have fun making the piece instead of obsessing over its details.  This is further emphasized by difficulty controlling the chair, as it is not easy to move precisely, making intentional fine details a lofty endeavor.  While the user can subvert this if they wish, it's intended to push the user towards being more at ease, and encouraging the art to grow in certain ways rather than giving the program precise instructions.