Assignment: Make a controller for a DMX-based lighting plot.

For the assignment I tried using both node.js and Arduino, and found the Arduino (Arduino MRK1010 board and Arduino MKR485 shield) to be much easier in terms of programming.

To start off I connected the DMX cable to the shield.

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I then set the channel on the DMX and tested the light using the ArduinoDMX library’s example and tested a few effects to see the light’s speed – I was surprised to see that it was very fast to turn on/off, much like a strobe effect.


Having worked a lot with audio and visuals on Max/MSP, I wanted to try using the program to control the light. The three main effects I wanted to explore where panning, rhythm and synchronisation/desynchronisation nature of audio and visual.

I started off by trying to send multiple data from Max to Arduino through serial communication (panning experiment).

Sending data from Max: convert all integers to ascii (using atoi object)

Receiving data from Arduino: convert characters to strings (using subString) to integers (using toInt) — StringSubstring and StringToInt examples on Arduino.

After I was able to run the serial communication smoothly I started building the sound files and the controls. These were the results.

Control interface:

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Max patch:

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Max/MSP patch and Arduino code:

I am very happy with both the control functions and the light quality. I hope to experiment with other sounds and visual effects in the future (as well as making the control more user-friendly)

Lighting Moment #9

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#lightandinteractivity #itp . Dia Beacon Sunday, January 13, 14.16 This is a photo of Fred Sandback’s art piece, taken facing east on a very sunny day. Sandback explores the sense of space using strings and light. At this particular moment the photo is taken, the sun is shining through different window glasses creating reflections of different textures. These reflections move as the sun moves through the day creating different spaces and an almost playful experience for the audience to observe and walk around. The white strings help us see the contrast between them and the white wall behind. . A very minimal installation can be very powerful when placed at the right angle relative to light. And a space can be defined using only strings.

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Lighting Moment #8

Little Sun

Light installation exploring the effects of white light through motion, time and refractive materials; clear cubes and prisms. [2019]


Even though we constantly experience reflection refraction and diffraction, they go unnoticed unless we pay close attention to them. The moments we do usually slow us down and make us more present: watching a sunset or noticing shadow patterns in a pool.

Little Sun generates light patterns and colors using a high-voltage LED light, three acrylic cubes and a prism cube (a cube made of four prisms joined together). The white light is shined through the rotating cubes creating a slow motion light dance that draws us to pay close attention to its changing forms.

The rotation is controlled using a stepper motor and an arduino.


Lighting Moment #7

Lighting Moment #6