What is Artwee2?
Artwee2 is an art installation that promotes the idea of citizen participation and collective art. Artwee2 is a project in its developing stages, and only presented by the team to assure the possibility of such project for the future development. This project started with the idea of the connection between the digital and physical. The intention was to bridge these two worlds, and make one of a representation of the other with the ultimate goal of art creation.
This project is nothing but utilizing simplicity of an object/idea and enticing the tangibility of the digital world. This artwork celebrates the impact of our digital activity. To make it more transparent and fun. Fun is the sugar of the installation. Using fun in order to stop people and make them write something that may give someone somewhere else information about a cause they may not ever noticed.
The hours we spend over social media is enormous. If we could visualize it physically, we would better perceive this phenomena as we are made to understand the world through visualizing physical maps of events. For the future development, Artwee2 has the potential to be an artsy product for people who want to physically quantify their online activity in a very creative way. Little Printer is a great example of a fun and creative product, which physicalizes tweeting.
The same concept could be used for another purpose, for non-profit organizations like Greenpeace or WWF encouraging people to at least tweet something and receive feedback from the robot. The feedback could be a robotic artwork.
A drawing robot?
Inspired by examples of artists using technology to create art and also by the coexistence of the digital and physical world, Ardavan and Humberto decided to create a medium for those two worlds to interact and create a piece of artwork. ARTwee2, more than a drawing robot, is a medium, a channel which people can use to participate in a collective creation of art for a noble cause.
Twitter is the internet social community that has had more impact into the arts and technology development, its simplicity and usability allow users to share and express their ideas in a written way no matter where they are. Moreover, Twitter allows developers to use its platform and API to create different applications or tech and art projects using the tweets (ideas or expressions) of its users. Since this is a project that involves in place and remote people participation Twitter was the best option to be used.
ARTwee2 its a channel with different levels of communication, it starts when a Twitter user send a tweet using #Artwee2 hashtag,then Twitter publishes this message and processing reads it, analyst it and, if it has certain characteristics, send a message, via bluetooth, to an arduino, finally this micro controller reads the processing message and act or react sending electrical pulses to move two DC motors and create, with two markers, different shapes on a canvas.
Wire it up
For this project we used:
Arduino uno board
Bluetooth Bluesmirf silver
Two electric motors
Tamiya twin-motor gearbox
2 Tamiya wheels
1 common anode RGB LED
2- 10k resistors
3- 330 resistors
Twitter4j: Artwee2 Processing code consists of java library (Twitter4j) and serial communication protocol between the two programs by port.write(); command. Twitter4j library is being used to access Twitter’s API and integrate it into our program. ConfigurationBuilder() class is there to construct a twitter4j configuration with desired setting. Then we created Twitter and Query objects to store the information received from twitter. We used this code to tell Processing that it needs to look for the unique hashtag (#Artwee2) in order to be able to find our tweets. We also created a function called FetchTweets to search for our query and list them in an array that we can use it later. FetchTweet uses the common Try and Catch algorithm.
DrawTweet function looks into the tweets that has been received and gets the tweets if any available and stores it into strings. User’s name and the complete message was extracted. It has also indicated four different strings for the program to search. When it finds any of those , it starts the timer and send random values to Arduino. These values later used to trigger different pins. Because Processing isconstantly checking for new tweets, a variable that sets a time lapse since the latest tweet has been received, was set. When the timer value passed 2000, processing starts sending different value to stop the motors.
The Arduino code analyzes serial values receiving from Processing and according to them turns the motors on and off by using Serial.read();.
Click image to go to github:
As explained earlier, adding the fun element will draw more attention. Therefore, Artwee2 is completely unpredictable. This also comes from the idea of unanticipating human behaviour from different stimulus (in this case could be the phrases), which supposed to be thoughtful and provoking.
The criteria for the design was:
- Clean design looking
- Enough interior space for components
- Easy to build
- Light material
After several concepts, a final clean looking cube made of translucent acrylic was produced. This design not only met the criteria but also was cheap and easy to laser cut.