Madlab Exhibits at Playspace

Posted by Tamarisk Kay, over 8 years ago

MadLab, HACMan, and Mike Cook had the honour of participating & showing our finest bots at Play Space, with our very own Play House, hosted by the Contact Theatre.

The concept for the event was to showcase a wide range of various progressive technologies which were to be used for creative means- whether that was dance, performance, games or, as MadLabs productions were, simply for play!

Throughout the day there were a variety of workshops, unconferences, installations & gaming, & we were situated right in the heart of it, in the upstairs foyer.

We had seven creations on display which were a fusion of ideas, and we worked together for over a month to build our oversized toy collection! The essence if the pieces were of play, reminiscent of classic objects of novelty that were tweaked & digitalised to form a motley crew of unique multi sensory hybrids.

MadLab at PlaySpace from Madlab on Vimeo.

Firstly we had Raphael the Robot (Bob Clough) leading the artistic endeavours of the day- this boy doodled with his felt tips whatever you drew on the monitor beside him. However, Raphael would only partake if the human wore his special, psychic turtle hat, as he felt he could only use his clairvoyant skills with those who had a massive green egg head, like his fellow turtles.

The Chaotic Pendulum (Mike Cook) was chiming bellows through out the day, with its erratic pendulum movements, controlled by a magnet. As it went over sensors, it provoked flashing LEDs & the sounds of bells which were continually unpredictable & beautiful in their harmony.

Catching out the nifty, our Sneak Thief (Mike Cook) found the criminals amongst us. This consisted of a small box where the challenge was to grab the golden goodies within, without provoking the motion sensors inside. Most who tried failed miserably, however the cunning were rewarded with a tasty chocolate gold coin.

The BeatBox Harp (Mike Cook) provided hours of entertainment for many, which was a digitalised harp, where instead of strings there were lasers which detected fingers braking the beams, which then released a beat box sound, provided by Contacts very own Baba Israel. With 16 different beats & several programs, this small machine allowed anyone to produce a funky beat boxing sound at the tap of a finger.

The Twitter Drum (Paul Plowman), aka Lord Drummington, spent all day working hard, translating everyones tweets about PlaySpace & Contact Theatre. He translated each tweet into a samba masterpiece with the drums, bongos & cowbells, reverberating throughout the building.

Our unmissable Project A Sketch (MadLab & HacMan) was of great amusement to many throughout the day, reminding those of times gone by. Just like the original Etch A Sketch, two levers either side of the screen were turned to create an image on the screen. However the difference is, instead of mini magnets, the image was connected to a computer round the back and rear projected on to the screen. But it was still authentic to its prototype, as when the Project A Sketch was shaken, the image would magically disappear!

And our mystifying Turking Machiene (MadLab) illustrated many a visitor. In essense, a little lady on the moon waited until an intresting fellow passed her webcam, and once someone had capture her imagination she set to work drawing their portrait (some would say that this was but a fable, & in fact we were linked up to the US Amazons Mechincal Turk website, where folks would be paid 30 cents for drawing out photos & sending them back, but these were just jealous lies…). Once the images where retreived, they were printed out and displayed on our wall of fame. This was a game of artistic roulette & an outsiders perception from another continent.

Along with our above documentary of the day, you can see what others thought of the day here, & take a look at our photos here.

All in all, the event was a colourful sucsess, and we managed to capture the imaginations of both the young & old, creating much intregue into the mechnical workings of our toys. We would like to thank especially Bob Clough, Mike Cook & Paul Plowman, for all their hard work & efforts & Phil from Re:Con. Thanks also to the FabLab, where many of the parts for our creations were fabricated. Also many thanks to all the companies involved & those who attended, for a brilliant day. We hope you enjoyed the Play House!

– – –

Written by Lia.