Author Archives: Rim Armouch

Sketch 5 – Rim Armouch

For this sketch I wanted my Arduino board to communicate with P5JS. I used the p5.serialcontrol application to have the two communicate through a single port.

I decided to map the brightness of my LED to the sketch in my P5JS web editor, setting 0 as the lowest brightness level and 255 as the highest.





Code Here!


My next step was to try and link Arduino with Ableton. I wanted to use the potentiometer to control the volume or frequency of a sound.
I downloaded the Ableton live app, set up the connection kit, and uploaded the standard firmata code to my Ableton board after editing the boards.h file in order to make it compatible with the Arduino nano.

The method that I used didn’t work, hoping to figure it out at a later stage.

Here are the files (standard firmata + updated boards.h file)

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Using the connection kit



WRAPPING POWER, an exploration of the participant’s role in creating emotive objects

Team members:
Gavin Tao
Rim Armouch
David Oppenheim

Our expression was “to wrap,” from Richard Serra’s Verb List, and our primary material was a string.

verblist-towrap Richard Serra: Equal | ARTIST STORIES, 2015. 

Our reading of the way in which Serra refers to his verb list suggested a methodology of making that privileges the poetic over the utilitarian and body movement over static contemplation. This provided inspiration for us to work towards designing a certain choreography for the installation and attempting to invoke sensations and emotions in our audience.  

We followed an iterative approach to research, ideation, design, and development, outlined in the documentation that follows.


1. Related Works Research

This project’s concept was initially inspired by artist Karla Carballar’s video installation Red Yarn (2017). Carballar is a Mexican-born, NYC-based video and photography artist. By utilizing silence and repetition, a sense of contemplation often runs throughout her work. In Red Yarn, the image is split into two — one side shows her wrapping her hair in a ponytail; the other side shows her wrapping her entire face in red string. The repeating nature of this piece has quiet yet captivating energy. It affords the viewer time and space to contemplate the process,  specifically the process of wrapping around a surface, which builds upon itself to create a second surface.

ref_image_1Red Yarn by Karla Carballar via karlacarballar

We were inspired by this process and chose to focus on the material of the string. By utilizing the Arduino microcontroller, servo motors, and light sensors, we keep the human-to-material interaction intact, but with an added layer of machine communication.

As we expanded beyond the initial conception and into the production process stage, we found inspiration from artist Anton Alverez’s The Thread Wrapping Machine. Alvarez’s practice hones in on technical innovation, designing tools that can exist as their own entities but can also lead to sculptural pieces. The Thread Wrapping Machine utilizes glue-coated threads to wrap different objects with each other. A decorative, colorful pattern appears due to the different threads that bond the various materials together. 

We found that Alverez’s project helped us to consider the relationship between the string and the object. Speed and distance can drastically alter how effectively the wrapping action can occur, while the parameters of the object (height, weight, and depth) also play important factors. This prompted us to brainstorm a system that could distribute the string in a functional and visually striking manner.

ref_image_2The Thread Wrapping Machine by Anton Alvarez via vimeo

As we began to play with our initial prototype wrapping machines, watching the hypnotic winding and unwinding process, we also considered the long history of artist wrapping projects and the even longer (and still active) public reactions to monuments.


2. Conceptualization

Our intention was not to suggest a larger scale experience but to design a 1:1 scale installation, keeping within the given constraints of a 30 cm x 30 cm space. 

We decided to work with the idea of miniatures, smaller objects that represented l scenes observable in public spaces. This choice was both practical given the constraints of the project, but also interesting territory for us to explore – the works we had all come across previously were larger scale. Working with a miniature statue also allowed us to place the participant in a position of looking down at the object and thus in a position of power over the object when it came time for them to wrap or unwrap it or both.

Design Considerations

We were interested in the relationship between the body and our emotive object. We wanted our experience to engender a series of pre-emotions or sub-surface feelings at each stage of the participant’s interaction with our installation. 

Of course, our choice of the object was central to this piece. We wanted to touch on ideas of power and historical memory and so we chose to work with statues. Our eventual choice was a statue that was recognizable as a human form that conveyed power and worship but was not a specific person that some participants might recognize and attach specific histories to while others wouldn’t recognize at all. A shiny fake gold statue worked well from a representational standpoint, aesthetically, and as a good wrapping surface for the string.  





The movement was key to our user experience and so we designed the physical relationships and installation space to encourage walking around the statue in a certain direction to wrap the string around the object and the other way to unwrap or expose the statue. Our goal was that the action of walking (versus static) contemplation might establish a stronger physical/emotional connection to the object.

Considerable thought was also put into the imagery created by our design. We wanted a clean but striking scene to greet the participant when they first caught sight of the installation. Colors, lighting, scale, and the relationship between objects and participants were important. See below for images of our prototype presentation.

Technologies and Materials Used

We worked with the Arduino Nano 33 IoT microcontroller and used two continuous servo motors to wind and unwind the string. The code was written in the Arduino IDE. 

Our main material was a string, specifically an elastic string, a spool, and a statue. See further information and images in the following section. 


3. Presentation & Documentation

Location: Room 510 at 205 Richmond St. West (OCAD U)

Installation dimensions: 30cm x 30cm (object) and space to walk around it

Number of participants: Multiple users

Hardware: 1 x  Laptop, 1 x Arduino nano 33IOT, 2 x Light sensors, 1 x Bread board, 2 x Continuous servos, 3 x Micro USB cables, 2 x 3 Pin plugs, 2 x 2 Pin plugs, 9 x Jumper plugs, 12 x Low profile jumper wires,  2 x Micro USB breakout, 1 x Potentiometer,  2 x Spotlights, 2 x Power bricks, 1 x Golden Statue, 1 x Spool, 1 x Long elastic string

Software: Arduino IDE, C++ coding language 

Installation Design: During our initial research and ideation process, we were driven toward the idea of wrapping thread around a balloon. While testing our initial work-in-progress prototype using a balloon as the primary object, we realized that, due to the physical properties of the object and other physical constraints pertaining to the relationship between the thread and the balloon, it wasn’t going to work. 


Flow Chart 01 work-in-progress:


Keeping that in mind, we decided to reconsider the object that we wrap. As we mentioned before, it is an integral part of our installation.





























Apart from paying attention to the conceptual aspect of the object, we needed to make sure it had the right physical properties such as lightweight, size in relation to the installation, circumference, and solidity as it would need to handle the friction from the wrapping thread.  The type of thread that we used was also important. We first started working with yarn, and then realized that the material was sloughing easily. As a result, we decided to use an elastic thread that helped build the necessary tension between the sculpture and the spool. It was also more forgiving when too much tension built up in the system.




We designed a simple box to hide all of our electronics, sensors, and actuators:
Job type: laser cut
Box size: 12”x 12”
Material: Baltic Birch
Material Thickness: 6mm










We used a polyurethane foam sheet in which we carved out a space to hold the servos in place. We intentionally made it slightly larger than the size of our box to be able to hold it inside the box with pressure — this was key to ensuring a smooth wrapping and unwrapping action.




Design of the installation space needed to afford both movements of the participant around our object and close examination from above (for the reasons mentioned earlier). From a practical standpoint, the close proximity of the participant was necessary for our sensors to register their presence. Lighting was the result of a trial and error process during which we realized the importance of our light source as light sensors dictated the way users interact with the installation.


Testing with one light projector we realized that the light wasn’t reaching both sensors equally, leaving one in shadow and resulting in the participant establishing a relationship between their body and the light and not between their body and our object which was our intention.


After adding another light source on the opposite side of the space, both light sensors were capturing enough light to make the user interact naturally with our object.

Flow Chart and User Experience 

The following section outlines the user experience of our prototype that we demonstrated during the November 10th critique.






Users Interacting 

Users Testing 

User’s perspective 

Fritzing map











Code link



 Richard Serra: Equal | ARTIST STORIES, 2015.

Red Yarn. (2017). Karla Carballar. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from 

The Thread Wrapping Machine. (2012). Anton Alvarez. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from 

Anton Alvarez Biography & Art Works – Huxley-Parlour Gallery. Huxley. (2021, September 24). Retrieved November 13, 2022, from

Cat Playing Tree – Rim Armouch

That time when my cat actually destroyed my homework…

In this experiment, I worked with the continuous servo and the potentiometer in order to animate the cat playing tree and stimulate my cat’s brain by using different speeds.
































You can find the GitHub link here

Native vs. Invasive Particles

Firaas Khan
Rim Armouch



For some time, artists have been exploring the different ways they can raise awareness around certain issues related to the environment and let people interact with nature through the medium of digital technologies.

Firaas being interested in physics and I in ecology, we decided to create an interactive installation that lets the spectator understand the way invasive species destroy and alter freshwater environments. It also sheds light on how human activities can contribute to the spreading of invasive species.

According to the Government of Canada, invasive species such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other micro-organisms once introduced into a new environment, outside of their natural range, could grow quickly because they don’t have natural predators in their new environment. As a result, they can outcompete and harm native species. They can even alter habitats to make them inhospitable for the native species. This is especially concerning for species at risk.

Therefore, we ask ourselves how can we raise awareness around environmental issues through technology?

This installation was created using an interconnected screen and webcam. It was designed using the P5JS web editor, and the way the interaction works in this experiment is by detecting a human nose on the screen that, once detected, would bring an invasive species into the environment. 



pinstallation-01-copy   pinstallation-07   pinstallation-06
Phase 01                                        Phase 02                                       Phase 03




pinstallation-01Animated GIF of our set up



Ideally, we would want our installation to be exhibited at a science fair or science museum, which is why we created small notes that describe what each particle is, and how it behaves in a freshwater environment.

pinstallation-cards-2-02        pinstallation-cards-2-03


























Two projects that particularly inspired us are done by Thijs Biersteker:


The first one is Plastic Reflective, an interactive kinetic installation that lets the spectator reflect on the concept of the growing plastic problem in our oceans.



The second one is Shaded seas which shows that the power to change the overuse of plastic is in our own hands. The work sets out to keep creating awareness of the plastic problem in our oceans.

While both projects don’t necessarily use a screen or a webcam, they follow the same interaction that we’re seeking in our project and shed light on similar issues.  Additionally Firaas, and I thought that they could be done by using P5JS, Posenet, and machine learning. 

Our project was developed over several weeks, and while we weren’t able to achieve everything we needed with coding. We did go through an interesting research through design process, that helped us choose how to design the particles, how to design the human-screen interaction, the environment that we would like to create, and the way we want to present our installation.


screen-shot-2022-10-24-at-12-31-55-am  screen-shot-2022-10-24-at-12-32-31-am





p-sketch-01Sketch made based on images gathered from our particles research

Sketch made based on images gathered from our particles research

A big part of our sketching process was related to the abstraction and the materiality of the particles. Do we want to abstract them? Make them realistic? How can we represent the fact that they are alive? How do they behave? What kind of properties do we want to give them?

Another part that we were also concerned with, was the environment in which they live.


sketch01   sketch02  sketch-03  ezgif-com-gif-maker  sketch-06  ezgif-com-gif-maker-2ezgif-com-gif-maker-6








Then, we decided to create a group of native particles that would float in a freshwater environment, that would later be invaded by another type of species introduced by human interaction with the screen.





We chose to go with an abstract and simple version of the process, making it accessible to a wide range of people. Since it’s a freshwater environment, we decided to display our experiment lying horizontally on a surface. Given how screens with built-in webcams are easily accessible, we decided to use a tablet for the user to interact with. Making our project simple to install and portable.

We would like to consider our project as version 1 which can be enhanced over time. We already had a few ideas on how we can enhance the project:

+ Create an entire ecosystem and introduce more than 1 type of native particle that responds differently to the introduction of new particles

+ Elaborate on the idea of cycle and lifespan

+ Work on the visual approach. What happens if we add more details that could, later on, be used for additional behaviors?

+ Given that the iPad wasn’t processing our code efficiently, we did hear feedback related to the use of a projector and game engine, opening up the possibility to experiment with the shape of the screen

+ Elaborate more on the existing interactions, and add behaviors to the particles making the user journey even more interesting. Many users felt inclined to touch the screen, which could potentially lead to another interaction or be a limitation considering that we focused on webcam-screen communication


pinstallation-user-flow-05Additional properties of the native particles


The next step for us would be to keep inviting users to test our initial prototype to keep note of how people would like to interact with such a project. In addition, we would dig deeper into the different technologies that can display our project taking into consideration the feedback provided by our instructors and cohort.



Canada, Environment and Climate Change. “Government of Canada.” / Gouvernement du Canada, April 19, 2021.

“Thijs Biersteker —Plastic Reflectic.” 2016 Thijs Biersteker.

“Thijs Biersteker —Symbiosia.” 2020 Thijs Biersteker.

Shiffman, Daniel, Shannon Fry, and Zannah Marsh. 2012. The Nature of Code. United States: D. Shiffman.





Sketch 3 – Particles Explorations – Rim Armouch


So this exploration is part of the sketches I created while working on the Screen space project.
It was a good direction to explore, but I was faced with a lot of limitations when it comes to rendering the action on bigger canvas sizes.

The main point of this exercise was to create an environment and experiment with how particles interact with each other. I was mostly interested in creating a liquid-like environment with organic/morphing particles.

screen-shot-2022-10-17-at-7-45-11-pm screen-shot-2022-10-17-at-7-45-41-pm

Check it out!

Link to code

Link to fullscreen

Sketch 1 – Burst The Bubble – Rim Armouch

started by creating an ellipse that changes colors as a basic p5js exercise. Following that, I decided to add some more features based on the in-class and individual experimentations with a webcam and sound triggers. 

I chose to control both the size and color variations of the bubble using the area/ distance between my wrists. 

The reason why I decided to use my wrists is because it felt more realistic, and were easily detected by the webcam. It reminded me of how we hold a ball. In addition, seeing the bubble constantly grow, it only felt natural to me to make it pop and trigger a sound. 

burst-the-bubble-1 burst-the-bubble-2

Recommendations for optimal experience:

+ Leave some distance between you and the screen

+ Stand in the middle

+ Move your wrists away from each other

+ Make sure to have the volume on


Full screen