VibroBert: Make-Do Robots


Make-do robots: what you can do with stuff

I developed this bug version of the well-known vibrobot for a street event in Zoetermeer. The starting point was to create a little electronic object made of readily available materials, preferably recycled, that is easy to put together for kids so they can teach it to others and make it themselves (from stuff they can actually get their hands on).

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Making vibrobots is perfect for this! Many people around the globe make tons of similar bots, and they’re great and all very different. This one looks like a bug and I called him Bert, he even sounds like a bug.

Making as a street activity 

Bert is made of paperclips, clothes pegs, AA batteries, a miniature motor, a screw (or preferably a wire connector, turned out to be safer), two wires and electrical tape. It was tested in Zoetermeer as one of three street workshops before it was presented ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Arts) in Istanbul this fall. Emöke Bada, Inge Ploum, Berit Janssen, Kristina Andersen and I worked on various make & play events for the workshop we ran in Istanbul. Download the manual here (Dutch for now). Here’s an impression of this and other street workshops.

Vibrobert was shown at ISEA Istanbul 2011 as part of the workshop Weird/Wonderful Street Fair and was nominated for Bacarobo 2011. Zoetermeer (NL), May 2011


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Digital Dance Theater Pedagogies

Digital Dance Theater is one of the long-running projects I developed at the Digital Art Lab. Together with several groups of teenagers and teachers from the dance department I researched how we can make the potential of motion tracking technology useful for augmented dance and theater performances. Secondly, we’ve been working on methodologies and pedagogies to enable a collaborative creative process with the dance teachers and students. I focused especially on how we can make teenagers co-produce and take ownership of the creation of these performances. After experimenting with a Isadora, we went into the dance studio to experiment with creating a theatrical dance performance including trackable props, and trying out different visualizations.

These experiments served to understand and envision potential relationships between dance movements and various visualizations of the tracking data in different Processing sketches. The many experiments with Nicolet Sudibyo, Melanie Sloot and Charlotte Lam resulted in a  a 1-day and a 5-day workshop with a local school and two choreographies for the end of year performances of the dance department at CKC.

The first workshop Digital Dance Theater for teenagers was a great experience. Six girls (ballet/contemporary) and two boys (hiphop) joined the 4-hour workshop and created a 4 minute performance together. They made the choreography, the staging, and chose the interactive visuals and how to work with them. The interactive element was not utilized in full during the performance, and I’m trying to find ways to improve on this.

These videos show a series of experiments with several technologies and exercises to explore the possibilities and workflow with the dance students and how we slowly worked towards a performance (see last video).

This video shows the process and the final performance of an ongoing project with a classical ballet teacher and her young adults class (16-24 years old) at CKC Zoetermeer (NL). This performance is the result of the first course that ran over a period of 2 months, 30 mins a week. The kids developed a story about gamers at an arcade that get sucked into their game and start to live inside it. It seems serious and real – is this what parents are afraid of? – but they know that real life goes on after game over. More images on flickr.

In collaboration with Melanie Sloot, Nicolet Sudibyo, Charlotte Lam. Zoetermeer (NL), June 2011

One Minutes Video: Video(for)Artists

This is a video workshop for artists for adult group of about 50+, which is a little older than our target group. We had to lower the pace in order to get these participants engaged, and we noticed that it was better to take very  small steps at a time. Participant’s would make a video to show a different side to their ceramics work.

I very much enjoyed calibrating the transfer of knowledge in order to be able to teach this group. A thoroughly engaging experience: especially the editing sessions were challenging (overcoming some tech anxiety) but in the end very rewarding. The participants were so excited about the process of videomaking in connection to their art, that we ran a three video courses with mature arts students. In collaboration with art(ist) teachers Heike Rabe, Ingrid Rekers and others. See the rest of this post for all videos.

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Undercover Fox

Undercover Fox is a social experiment and community arts project in urban space, in the form of a synchronized audiowalk through Zoetermeer. As temporary special agents, the individual ‘players’ receive instructions through their headphones and experience the city centre as the location for a strange mission. Slowly they will realize that they might not be acting so much as an individual, but as a collective of individuals. Agents start out undercover but slowly start doing strange actions involving the shopping public passing by on a seemingly normal friday evening. Who’s in control of our actions?

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Undercover Fox is co-production of Digital Art Lab and  Storytellers.

Credits: Sven Ruggenberg, Sebastiaan Smits, Jessica Fuchs, Ingrid Rekers, Vincent Zaalberg, Loes Bogers.