“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise”
Inspiration: Scandinavian simplicity, origami, and “Blackbird” by The Beatles
The song, “Blackbird” moves me. Written by Paul McCartney, the song was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle of Black men and women for equality. In this design, I wanted to explore the representation of freedom and oppression. I decided to use origami birds as they do not look like free birds. They give me the feeling that they are “waiting for this moment to arise.” My choice of material is clear acrylic, representing the innocent souls.
Technique: 2D to 3D digital fabrication, S4A, Arduino
Initial Design Goal: A simple chandelier with sensor that detects motion to play song
Trade-off: Aesthetic vs. technological functions. I decided not to mount my Arduino component onto the chandelier as it disrupts the aesthetic of a clear design. However, the structure of the chandelier can still hold an Arduino and it can be used when needed.
Now Featured at ART + TECHNOLOGY, an exhibition of Creative Techonlogies at Luchsinger Gallery
Coming up with the idea
I’m struggling with what I want to do for my final project. I find it’s a bit weird designing whatever I want as I used to design learning tools/toys for young kids. When it comes to what I really want I thought of two totally different things: 1) house decoration or 2) remote control mopping machine (something like iRobot Braava with Swiffer wet, no water tank). For house decoration, I’m inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese design. I want it to be simple yet functional. I have several ideas like 2D-3D animal trophy using plywood with laser cutter, chair (shopbot), and lamp. In summer, I made a set of the Beatles coasters with inspired by their lyrics. I might make a lamp inspired by their songs and try to design the lamp with interesting light projection. This could be done by adobe illustrator and laser cutter. For the mopping machine, I thought of designing it like a remote control car with a Swiffer sweeper attached at the back. This will require me to program an Arduino that goes together with the car parts made from acrylic. However, when I think about the tools want to learn more on fabrication, I listed Lilypad Arduino and embroidering machine. I came up with the idea of kids blanket fort with sewable electric. This doesn’t excite me though. My challenge is to think about meaningful project that allows me to learn these tools.
Sources of inspiration:
The Beatles Chandelier project: My main sources of inspiration are Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, and Instructable. I want to look into different designs and techniques in creating DIY Chandelier and think about how I could incorporate The Beatles lyrics or my interpretation of their songs to my design. I also want to learn more about art of lighting and explore different lighting techniques. The article below is pretty useful to me.
Listening to the Blackbird on loop:
During class, I’ve listened to the song in loop and listed out 5 words that stood out from the lyrics: 1) fly, 2) light, 3) broken wings, 4) waiting, 5) free. The word light can be easily represented by chandelier. “Fly” and “Free” can be portrayed through different actions and variation of bird. The picture below is my plan in term of atheistic and design. I thought of origami design of bird as it doesn’t look like a free bird. It gives me the feeling that they are “waiting to be free”.
Thinking about the design
I printed out the design and thought that it would be nice to have some pieces as silhouette and some pieces with origami print. I printed the pieces out and explore different layout by tying them all together with yarn. From here I want to experience with more ways I can create a pattern with the wooden pieces. Maybe I’ll tide them on 4 sides instead of 2 sides. Maybe I’ll use difference materials.
Prototype #1 of an origami bird chandelier. I researched the joints part of the chandelier from Instructable and made modification. I wanted to play more with light and shadow. This is an incomplete work. I still have to edit the design especially on the silhouette print.
Receiving feedback from Prototype #1
For the next iteration, I’ll rethink about my choice of materials and the lighting/ shadow of the design.
Experimenting with Arduino and S4A
After trying to follow instructions on diyhacking.com on how to make an audio player with Arduino Uno for weeks and did not work out, I was introduced to the S4A programming environment. Here, I’ve program a simple music function based on the motion the flex sensor sensed.
Assembling the final design
Printed pieces of the chandelier (left) & Assembling the pieces with super glue (right)