Author Archives: Anusha Menon

Sketch 5 – Anusha Menon

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For this sketch, I wanted to experiment with creating an almost glittery, polychromatic effect by playing with the effect of the pitch and roll values on my Processing sketch. The Processing sketch was derived from Daniel Schiffman’s “Purple Rain” coding tutorial, which I used to practise the application of object classes and movement. I then tweaked it and asked the code to read the pitch and roll values from the Arduino to alter the colour and size respectively.

The act of moving the Arduino to create these visuals felt like I was playing with a kaleidoscope or snowglobe and I would have liked to experiment more with the direction and speed of the particles as well.

The code I used for the Arduino was similar to the one we practised in class.

Here’s the code for the sketch:

Linear Networks in Nature

Purvi Agarwal, Nicky Guo, Anusha Menon


Linear Networks in Nature is a project that aims to highlight the natural networks of complex ecosystems underwater, and the experience of encountering events that may incite fear or intrigue in the minds of humans. As human beings, we inherently tend to be afraid of natural predators and curious about the mysteries of the deep sea and it was our aim as a group to bring this experience of underwater exploration to life using the traditional technique of shadow puppetry. While paper was our main material, we used light to give it a sense of ambiguity and take the focus away from the material in order to communicate our story in a  more impactful way. We were also able to manipulate the shadows cast by the paper and the colour of the light to bring that sense of ‘mystery’ and ‘danger’ alive in our prototype.

The interactive aspect of our project involves the viewer as an ‘explorer’ who searches the area using a flashlight – when the light hits specific areas, a scene depicting a dangerous predator is brought to life, which is intended to startle or stun the viewer. When the light is moved away, the scene returns to its original, harmonious state. The concept behind this interaction is derived from situations where humans often find themselves being afraid or concerned for animals that generally serve as prey to larger predators, even though these are natural processes that occur in nature. When interacting with ecosystems, one must keep in mind the harsh realities of the food chain and be prepared to discover something they may not like to see.

In an ideal scenario, we see this project being presented as a more multi-faceted, interactive storytelling experience, where more elements of the ecosystem could come alive to highlight the interdependencies in nature. We would like to create the ambience of an aquarium but incorporate the realities of natural processes like the food chain in order to create more of an ‘adventurous’ experience for the viewer.


Related Works 


Shadow procession (1999) – William Kentridge

William Kentridge is a South African draftsman, performer, and filmmaker. Best known for his animated drawings, the central focus of Kentridge’s oeuvre has been to examine the years before and after apartheid.

Procession is a repeated motif in Kentridge’s work. The artist here adapts a multi-media approach in an exploration unfolding in flat, horizontal space. By using paper cut forms with light and shadow, the story unfolds itself in a more dramatic and impactful fashion. The automated movement of the forms presents itself almost as a movie but using more deliberate and intensive crafting techniques that add significant value to the work.

We were inspired by the motion and movement of the characters. The sense of animation of paper cuts was the interesting element to incorporate in our works


This is Not a Refuge! – Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1965. She received her BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, and an MFA in Fiber Arts from the University of North Texas in 2001.

She uses light and cast shadow to transform Rice Gallery into a place that alludes to Islamic sacred spaces dense with geometric ornamentation and pattern.

We were inspired by the impact of light and shadow in space and also the forms being projected as shadows, showing how the focal point of the artwork can be detached from the material used (in this case the shadows are the focus, highlighting the detailed nature of the forms and transforming the space itself), even if the material itself plays the largest role in the creation of the artwork.


Hooray at OCI Museum – Hye Yeon Nam

Hye Yeon Nam is a digital media artist working on interactive installations, performance video, speculative design, and experimental games. She is a PhD candidate in digital media with a minor in computer science at Georgia Institute of Technology and holds an MFA in digital media from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Hooray features a wooden wall made of hundreds of human-shaped characters that are able to sense users’ gestures from distance. When the viewer moves in front of the wall, the characters bow in conjunction with the viewer’s position and the shadow of their body, as if they are reacting to their presence.

We were inspired, from a technical standpoint, by the use of light sensors which triggers motion and movement in the artwork, as well as the viewer’s experience of inciting a reaction in the artwork by merely being present in front of it, making them an involved element in the artwork.


Technique Referenced: Indian Shadow Puppetry


This kind of puppetry is particularly practiced in South India. The puppets are placed behind a screen and the puppeteers create variation in the density of shadow cast by the puppets by changing the distance from the screen. They are practiced by different states and there is a difference in materiality and storytelling aspect.

The aspect of storytelling and detailing of the characters were very intriguing to us. This has been an art of storytelling for years in India. Through the project, we are trying to revive the essence of shadow storytelling and juxtaposing with natural ecosystem’s story.



We were inspired by the verb “of nature” from Richard Serra’s 1967 work Verb List and the main material used is Paper.

Nature has a complex ecosystem and its own process of filtration as well as elimination. We are creating the experience of harmonious nature with its natural elimination process. We are trying to normalize the process of life and death by being inspired by nature simplistic approach of prey and predator. Humans often tend to be quite attached to their life and are horrified by the concept of death while in nature it happens very fluid manner as a part of the food chain. The food chain is nature’s way to control the population of certain species and manage the imbalance in the ecosystem. The complex natural system is driven by the interdependency of multiple smaller elements and controlling the dependency of these elements is very crucial.

For this project, we are currently focusing on the food chain and concept of disruption caused by a single predator in a calm underwater ecosystem and how the situation normalizes quickly after the predator moves along from the environment.

We are aiming to revive the old storytelling form of shadow puppeteers.


Concept Sketch: Idle State


Concept Sketch: Alive State


Prototype: Testing LED colour change based on light sensor data



Final Prototype: Internal Structure (Left – Idle and Right – Alive)


Final Protoype: Demo

Technical description

  • We are using LDR, Led strip and standard servo motors for different elements in the project. LED strip is used to set the mood of the underwater environment and it is trigger on the LDR value to change colors.
  • The standard servo motors are used to create motion in the layers of shadow puppets. One servo controls the motion of waves and moves them continuously. Another servo motor adds the predator layer and changes the mood of the underwater environment. The servo motor controlling the ‘predator’ is triggered by the LDR as well to initiate the movement in the frame.

Design description

  • We are working with the size constraints of 30cm cube and using a shoe box for the accurate size and form. We want to project LED behind the tracing sheet to create the mood using colour and as a lighting source for the elements.
  • We have used paper cutouts to create elements because paper is quite versatile material and can be molded into any form and shape. We’re also able to incorporate more details into the forms of the creatures through paper cutting. We are creating an underwater environment and we are using paper of different thickness, transparency and colors. We are using paper of different transparencies to create depth and dimension.
  • We are using colors like a calming blue for the underwater to project a harmonious, peaceful vibe and red to depict the danger of the predator. Red often shows the danger aspect in different situations.
  • We are creating the motion of waves using motors to create an idle state and using another motor to introduce another predator to show the active state.
  • Based on feedback from the presentation, we would also like to incorporate a colour gradient between blue and white to simulate the light refraction through the waves in actual water for our ideal scenario.


  • Art Card
  • Tracing paper
  • Cardboard
  • Fish wires
  • Felt sheets


  • LDR: Light from the “explorer’s” flashlight hits the sensor, triggering the motors and LED strip
  • LED strip: Switch between blue and red based on two different scenes (blue in peace status and red when predators attack).
  • Standard servo1: Used to control the “predators” in the artwork
  • Standard servo2: Used to control the continuous wave movement in the artwork

Setup 1: Sensor and Response (LDR, LED and Servo)

screenshot-2022-11-14-at-2-27-46-pmCode 1 (Sensor and Response):—linear-attack.git

Setup 2: Continuous Movement (Servo only)

screenshot-2022-11-14-at-2-31-23-pmCode 2 (Movement of Waves):


Frankel, D. (2016) David Frankel on William Kentridge, The online edition of Artforum International Magazine. Available at: (Accessed: November 7, 2022).

Jobson, C. (2018) Anila Quayyum Agha’s ‘intersections’ sculpture installed at Rice Gallery, Colossal. Available at: (Accessed: November 7, 2022).

Nam, H.Y. (2022) Hooray at OCI Museum, Vimeo. Available at: (Accessed: November 7, 2022).

What are Shadow Puppets? (no date) Wonderopolis. Available at: (Accessed: November 7, 2022).

Paddle Player – Zaheen, Anusha, Prathistha


Artwork 1: A simple quick sketch made by Andre Burnier. The concept revolves around using the mouse click to make the ball interact with the various lines.

Name of the Artist – André Burnier

He is a graphic designer and coder, based in Brazil. He has done his masters in graphic design at AKV | St. Joost in Breda – Netherlands.

Andre focused on actively researching the interaction between graphic design and programming. Expertise includes generative design, custom-made designer bots, as well as more traditional graphic design – logos, visual identities, and editorial.

We were inspired by the simple graphics and movement of the ball to make a fun interaction with it, maybe something similar to an interaction-based game, because we wanted the user experience to be a very fun one. 

In order to manipulate the overall experience, we studied the collisions of the balls. 

This also led us to search for other interactive games with balls and different objects and we came across the brick breaker game. 


Searching further for interactive games, we came across this large-scale game created by the Moment Factory. 

Artwork 2: HOTSPOT – An Interactive Sprint With Moving Targets

In the game, players must catch moving hotspots. The gameplay focuses on agility and speed. Physical obstacles optional

1 runner at a time – 3 minutes

This game is 100% customizable and adapts to all types of environments.

Moment Factory is a multimedia studio with a full range of production expertise under one roof. Their team combines specializations in video, lighting, architecture, sound, and special effects to create remarkable experiences. With its headquarters based in Montreal, the studio also has offices in Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Singapore. They have created more than 500 unique shows and destinations. 



This inspired us to combine the world of a virtual game with physical space and also to explore real-time tracking and projection mapping. Virtual games can be integrated anywhere and tailored to any audience, making them ideal for public display. 

Also, incorporating virtual gaming with physical activity, as it is no less than a workout, can also be used to relieve stress or warm up at work.

As games are often very fun, we were encouraged to create something which is simple but also engaging and interactive.


Breakout was among the first games to be created, back in 1976 by one of the oldest video game developers, Atari. It came out as a modified version of Atari’s first game, Pong and was referred to as “Pong turned on its side”. A concept created by Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow, it uses a paddle near the bottom of the screen to bounce a ball towards layers of bricks at the top of the screen. When the ball hits the bricks, the bricks that are touched are eliminated. The goal of the player is to eliminate all the bricks on the screen. 


Following its success as an arcade game, there were a series of Breakout games released by Atari in the following years, as well as numerous similar games by other developers. Breakout also inspired Steve Wozniak, its original engineer along with Steve Jobs, to create Brick Out in BASIC for the first Apple ][ computer – the first software version of the original hardware creation. Where the original was a black and white arcade machine game that used cellophane strips on the screen to colour the bricks, this new version used both colour and sound to amplify the user’s experience playing the game.

For our project, we analysed the three primary elements of the game – the bricks, the paddle and the ball – to see if we could manipulate these elements to create an interesting experience for the player, considering the increased possibilities that computer vision offered us now, compared to the simplicity of the original game. We found that the engagement offered simply by bouncing the ball off the paddle was very high, especially when the paddle was controlled by an unexpected body part like a nose or a wrist, and players found that experience itself to be fairly rewarding. So we decided to continue with an exploration of the possibilities of interaction between the player and the screen, while maintaining the simplicity of the gameplay.


Some of the questions that arose during this process of exploration, helping us formulate our final concept were:

  1. How does the scale of the screen space impact the player’s ability to continuously engage with the game?
  2. What is the value of the body in creating an engaging experience with a game that is traditionally played using computer hardware?
  3. Is it possible to draw the player into the screen space without physically placing them within the screen?
  4. How can analog tools like a piece of chalk and a blackboard amplify the user’s experience of the game?

In answering these questions, we found that the best user experience for our game came from being able to present it in a life sized scale where the player is able to focus solely on the functionality of their body as the paddle and where the primary and only goal is to hit the ball. With no scorekeeping or ending, it functions as a way for the player to let go of any mental boundaries placed on the movement of their body and allows them to “enter” the screen space completely, almost forgetting about the presence of their body in the physical space.

To increase the effect of this experience, we decided to create the game with a black background using a brightly coloured ball and paddle that both changed colour based on the success of the player. This was achieved using p5.js for the design, Posenet by ml5.js for the computer vision aspect and Collide2D for the gameplay. This was then projected on a blackboard, stretching the limits of the screen beyond what the projector could offer, minimising the player’s awareness of the existence of a separate screen at all. Placing written guides on the screen, for which two parts of the body created the paddle, helped the player move more easily and offered a good level of amusement as well, by highlighting the absurdity of the placement of the paddle and how it would move. Ensuring the player could not see their actual body reflected on the screen in any way was the key to minimising how conscious they were of their physical presence.

Explorations and User Testing Link:


Demonstration Link:










The ideal state of our installation would be projected onto 2 screens wherein the person would have a bigger space to run around and play with the game providing a more wholesome experience.



Editable Code

Fullscreen Experience


“Fun Solutions to Transform Any Space into Immersive Playground.” Moment Factory, 2020,

“Fun Solutions to Transform Any Space into Immersive Playground.” Moment Factory, 2020,

Çimen, E. Gökçe. “A Brief History of Brick Breaker Video Games.” Hero Concept, 9 Sept. 2018, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

Wozniak, Steve. “How Steve Wozniak Wrote Basic for the Original Apple from Scratch.” Gizmodo, 1 May 2014,


Sketch 3 – Anusha Menon

screenshot-2022-10-17-at-5-47-35-pm Preview Image

As a part of the experimentation process for the Screen Spaces group project, I created this interactive game in which a paddle is fixed to a random point on the player’s upper body and the player has to ensure the ball doesn’t fall through the bottom of the screen. If the ball falls through, the position of the paddle changes, adding an element of challenge to the game. I also experimented with changing the speed of the ball and the colour of the paddle and to include an element of fun, I added a sound effect to the ball bouncing off the paddle.

As the players cannot see themselves, the way they move and use their body in the virtual space is very interesting to observe – please try it out with the sound on and with a friend present, for the best experience!

Fullscreen –

Editor –


Sketch 2 – Anusha Menon

As a part of the work going into our group project for Screen Spaces, I worked on this loose version of Pong/Breakout to explore how the player can interact with and manipulate the game using intuitive motions like hand gestures. Pinching and releasing the thumb and index finger resizes the paddle and moving the hand to either half of the screen causes the paddle to move.

However, the mechanics of the ball bouncing off of the paddle are yet to be worked out.


Editor: screenshot-2022-10-10-at-5-39-51-pm

Sketch 1 – Anusha Menon

screenshot-2022-10-03-at-5-21-52-pm screenshot-2022-10-03-at-5-20-56-pm

I created this sketch with the help of an example from the p5.js website, by Keith Peters, titled ‘Bouncy Bubbles’

I modified the bubbles to scatter and speed up when the mouse is run over it and the colours are randomised to create a fun visual effect.

Here’s the fullscreen experience:

Here’s the editable code:


20 Screens – Group 2

Group 2: Anusha Menon, Tyler Beatty, Purvi Agarwal, Gavin Tao

We wanted to create a playful experience using motion, colour and sound and expand the limits of the screen beyond just a visual experience.

We created a colour wheel using primary and secondary colours on different phone screens. The user could change the colour on the phone screen by shaking the phone, which was accompanied by a ‘rattling’ sound to enhance the experience. Once the users have lined up their phones in a colour wheel they can tap the screen to generate a sound, which corresponds to the colour on the screen. This created an auditory experience that flowed around the circle in the sequence of the colour.


Video Demo: