Go back 55 years. Eccleston Square. The room filled with nine-year-old boys, 6 of whose fathers were in the cabinet not far away – possibly in committee rooms or the House of Commons.
At the front on a table is a pristine pile of squared paper, cut accurately and sitting immaculately in a cube, about a foot tall. The tea lady, Mrs Grice walks in with trembling hand – a green cup and saucer – 2 biscuits. Badger thanks Mrs Grice.
“CENTRIFUGAL FORCE!” he shouts – swinging the teacup and saucer, inches from our faces in a balletic flourish. Mrs Grice had left the room. This is mathematics. Now, ushering another boy up from the rows of desks in the classroom (Petty A) – putting his finger on the pile of neat squared paper, he is told to make a little circle with his finger. The paper starts moving at the top, transferring some of the force to the paper below. The cube gradually transforms itself into a twisted spiral. We sit in silence, fully engaged. “The Commonwealth Institute roof is similar… “Mr Badger explains, no, not far from our house in Kensington. I remember the roof spans all, straight, making up the beautifully curved lines of the roof. Now stand here, at the front. Halve the distance from you and the door. Move to that point. Halve it again. Move. You will never reach the door.
Badger had a nickname for me.
I would drift off and look at the leaves being burnt outside in the square – the smell of the 1963 Autumn in SW1. “COMPUTER! What is 6 squared?” I would have to stand up and shout the answer. I never forget how he avoided the chalk and the endless soporific drone all my other maths teachers put me through. Mr Routh, Mrs Behets, and finally, when I ran out a few years later during a lesson in calculus as the windowpane acid really kicked in, Mrs Jacobson.
My father – a man of many contradictions – a major in royal corps of signals during the war, heading up a section of men his job in ciphers was to encrypt messages in the 8th army. After the war, he took over his uncle’s gallery in Leicester square (which he hated)… and told me of how he could determine if the number on the tube train carriage (usually a long number, I am not sure!) if it was a prime or not from when he boarded the train at Gloucester Road to by the time it got to Hyde Park Corner. Hugh, a disappointed man, he often beat me and forbade me from motorcycles and art schools. He failed the motorcycles, for I then rode them for the next 46 years, the art seeped in and out over the years until now, when I have given it time doing an MFA.
One afternoon my father surprised me with a little demonstration of computational art without a computer. He took a a page from that Sunday’s paper, a photo of the Queen. He drew a grid in pencil over the photo, lining up the dots to measure it out accurately.
Then, taking a fresh sheet of paper out of the Queen Anne desk next to me, he took a compass and drew the edges of the same grid, the same carefully arranged dots, with the compass, transferring the straight grid lines of the photo into a series of curved lines. Each tiny square of the grid was transposed into the curve grid, as to distort the queen’s face.
I wish he had done more of that and beat me less.
The spirit of Mr Badger lives on as I rediscover the joys of mathematics without the boredom. My father – who also told me to go to the ICA and see a wonderful exhibition, Cybernetic serendipity at age 14.
Testing the mechanism and stepper driver with an EasyDriver. I have used a LN298N H bridge board but I found the latter method less bulky and convenient. I am going to introduce a second stepper to incorporate movement about the y axis to move my object.
The supported object is heavy so I have to test the Nema17 stepper to see if it is strong enough.
I liked watching this film. It discusses how, as humans, we feel compelled to create art – the film shows us graffiti removal teams in Portland Oregon unconconsciously creating art as part of their work to remove graffiti tags inn an industrial area of the city.
I admire the film’s clarity and how it informs us on a subject in a convincing way. it was part of a project undertaken as part of a degree course by Matt McCormick in 2001 and is narrated by Miranda July.
ATiny is a great little chip, low power, cheap to set up and compact. No Serial.prinln is available however so all testing is done on an Arduino Classic.
I tried out a little joystick I bought as a ‘bundle’ of sensors etc from China.
Fairly simple, using a more limited array of pins to connect to; two pulse width modulated pins and the rest as disgital pins (or use the PWM pins if you want.)
I used two digital pins and two PWM pins (see Fritzing diagrams)
I made a programmer board to plug into the Arduino as this was easier to carry about and re-use. Credit to Brian Lough on YouTube. Really Good Video.
Video and more pics to be uploaded very soon!
Examining the low ‘minified’ ATtiny85 chip, this provides a cut down version of the Arduino; using much less current and only about £1 in cost.
I connected up the ATTiny to an Arduino to burn the bootloader – this allows other programs to be loaded up afterwards. I also made a harness – dedicated, soldered circuit to simplify future programmingof the ATTiny without wiring up a breadboard each time.
Once the bootloader is loaded, I upload the ‘Blink’ sketch to prove it works.
Here is the pcb I made to program the ATTiny, it plugs on top of the Arduino.
underneath! Filed down solder to make a good connection to Ardiuino…
And Attached 3 LEDs to blink
Schematic for programmer shield
Many designs of sand plotters are found on the Internet. When I first thought of doing this, I was unaware of how well trodden the path is, however I am not discouraged because it will be a good test of fabrication and still leave plenty of scope for designing patterns that can also be interactive to external environmental factors.
Movement or sound could modify the emerging pattern of the plotter, which may run continuously for extended periods. Thus, patterns can be drawn in a circular (it could be square also) enclosed chamber with a steel ball or cylinder.
Under the enclosed chamber is a revolving double rail, powered by a high torque stepper motor. The double rail will have a magnet mounted, pulled in the y axis by another stepper motor. The control board will be an Arduino mega with a Ramps shield board (or similar) comprising polulu stepper drivers.
So, with one circular motion and one lateral motion, circular patterns can be drawn in the sand.
Software to control the Ramps board will be developed and also some runtime scripts developed to demonstrate the sand plotter.
First stage will be to construct a frame without enclosure, mounting the mechanical parts. A very simple test script to move the turntable and lateral axis with be the first stage.
Second stage is to provide accurate control of the stepper motors
Third stage is to fabricate the sand enclosure and outer box (laser cut)
Fourth stage (possibly too much in the time alotted) – to build some interactivity with external sensors, thus modulating the sand pattern in real time.
I do not want to build anything too large, it becomes impractical, however it must be large enough to look impressive in a gallery setting. So, at least 50 cms diameter.
I am not the first…
Main Parts list:
Laser cut enclosure
Bearings for circular movement
2 x Nema high torque stepper motors
toothed belt, possibly 3d printed gears, metal belt pulleys,steel rods and linear bearings (I have most of these parts from building a 3d printer)
limit switches – these may not be mechanical but optical sensors
Ramps shield and Arduino Mega, polulu stepper drivers
Steel rods and 3d printed supports
15-20 mm diameter steel ball
As part of our planning for the next Assignment for Computational Arts-based Research, my theme will be Privacy Concerns, Tracking, Surveillance of individuals, Public Privacy.
What are the key questions or queries you will address?
How much are we being tracked by government agencies, companies?
How much is revealed already?
“In the wake of the Government’s proposed “Snoopers’ Charter”, ORG asks why intrusive new laws are being suggested, if they are needed at all and what the alternatives are. Some of the UK’s most prominent surveillance experts examine the history of UK surveillance law and the challenges posed by the explosion of digital datasets. Contributors include journalist Duncan Campbell, legal expert Angela Patrick from Justice, Richard Clayton of Cambridge University Computer Labs and Peter Sommer, Visiting Professor at De Montfort University.”
Why are you motivated to undertake this project?
This is a concern of mine, for example, even yesterday (14th February) 2018), Amber Rudd announced a new means of tracking citizens in their internet activity.
Google have increased the resolution of the street mapper software. Up until recently, a house might be only a vague blob, until now.
My home address is revealed on my ‘whois’ search on my website. I have to pay the hosting company extra to hide it.
Tracking through cookies – possible eavesdropping of metadata on personal emails, e.g. correspondence appearing on Facebook.
Amber Rudd and her efforts to ‘fight’ terrorism may be circumvented:
https://www.asidatascience.com/ (recruiting now!)
What theoretical frameworks will you use in your work to guide you?
I will explore the contrast between the uninvited (yet legal) surveillance of my own ‘back yard’ vis a vis my un-noticed intrusion to neighbouring houses Wi-Fi (illegal).
If there is a problem undertaking this option, I will be investigating ‘hidden/secret’ sites in UK and abroad to see how much can be gathered using web tools such as Google maps.
I may only in the end enact the possibility of the latter to avoid problems with the law – however, I will use publicly available data online to show how international companies like Google intrude on our private lives. I will use Actor-Network theory to take us through the players in this scene, illustrating with real life examples.
What theoretical frameworks will you use in the analysis of your project?
I will investigate how much can be found out about me in the public domain online.
I will explore tools for intrusion, legal and illegal. (Kali Linux tools, Aircrack-ng, Reaver, Pixiewps, Wireshark.)
Using Actor network theory to determine who is the victim and who is the perpetrator, are they both?
How will you document your project?
Video capture, demonstration of software intrusion tools using Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi.
How close can I get with Google streetview of private and secret establishments, recording this using Camtasia.
Logging into password protected Wi-Fi in public spaces using open source Linux distro Kali Linux (covertly) via hidden battery powered headless Pi Zero. (possibly will not be available as there may be legal issues here.)
Possible logging of public data traffic and using Wireshark for forensic study.
Timeline for project milestones
Week 1, 2. Further research
Week 3. Artefact 1; covert monitoring of data
Week 4. Google Street view compilation
Budget (if any)
Raspberry Pi 3, Pi Zero (already have these)