t’art show at artery gallery + cabs of curiosity sneak preview

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Once again the magic collaboration of UW asst profs Rob Gorbet (Centre for Knowledge Integration) and Lois Andison (Dept of Fine Arts) + their engineer+artist mashup of students has culminated in a really unique show that you can check out down on King St. for the next few days.  t’art (== tech + art) is a course that pushes all my buttons and seems uniquely suited to Waterloo.

Pictured above, is a piece that seems uniquely suited to a gallery called Artery.  “Concordia” by Joe Wang, Katarina Veljovic, and Michael Jeong really blew my hair back.  Each tube as the progression of an idea and the mass as collaborative harmony.

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That’s what we like to see.

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Love the beartank.

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This spinning collaborative maze kicked ass as well.  “Many Hands, Many Minds”, by Chimere Ukasoanya, Keith de Vries, Amanda Sutanto, and Kathleen Curwin rotates a vertical maze that contains a steel ball that must be steered by…

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a collaborator moving a giant magnet on the back who is listening for instructions from the viewers out front.  Love the bicycle tire on foam friction drive of the maze wheel, really clean execution, and 10/10 for the concept that mirrors the design and construction process for the piece itself: “this maze that can only be solved with patience and the coordination of two or more people.”

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Dave White rolled out with me tonight, and was a co-owner…

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a much smaller, but still red,…

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Etch-a-Sketch with me back in the day.  “Betch-can’t-Etch-a-Sketch” by Christina, DJ, Melinda, and Toby is a scale replica of that old favourite that is realized by projecting the drawing onto a bedsheet screen from a projector overhead.  The drawing is accomplished, as you may have guessed, by turning the two giant knobs, which are delightfully too far apart to be driven by one person, requiring collaboration and communication.  10/10 for nailing the execution of the scaled-up model and replicating the Etch-a-Sketch experience.  It gave me a real Claes Oldenburg moment.

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In talking with DJ (or Toby, sorry), I learned this was a 2”x4” frame fronted with MDF that was then exhaustingly sanded to produce the curved edge.  Love that attention to detail.  The knobs are attached to rotary encoders that output a quadrature signal fed into an Arduino and finally to a Mac laptop running some Processing scripts to create the projection.  The quadrature signal is really a combination of two out-of-phase digital signals that not only tell you how fast the knob is turning, but also in which direction.  Frickin’ sweet that they even added the knurled edge to the knobs.

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This untitled re-envisioning of a bonfire by Delaney Swanson, Galen MacLusky, and Emily Bierman offered a very subtle but awesome…

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photo op.  Viewed through the provided polarized lens glasses, a rainbow of colours is revealed because of the different speeds of the light passing through the various layers of plastic film.

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Hats off to Rob Gorbet, and…

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Lois Andison for creating this awesome course in our city, and…

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opening it to the public.  And thanks to the teams for sharing some really inventive and thought-provoking pieces.

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Ok, indulge me for just a few more…

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photos of “Concordia”.  Bilge pumps in a solvent-welded custom acrylic case, filled with florescent food dye and…

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oil.  To highlight the movement of the fluid the makers needed a discontinuous flow of the coloured fluid.  I believe they tried injecting air bubbles, but that proved problematic.  The solution (ahem) you see above was to use a combination of clear oil with the dyed water(?) and then suck a little of both into the intake of the pump, creating…

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these very photographable patterns.  Should also mention that the 3 pumps are controlled by reflective infrared sensors in the pedestal beneath the reservoir.  When a viewer moves in front of a sensor, the pump on that side starts up the flow of “ideas”.  Viewers on the other sides similarly trigger the flow of different colours and the (optical) mixing of these primary colours in the mass produces new combined colours.  Killer.

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Then back out to the sidewalk, and right next door…

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where we see the UW Critical Media Lab posse…

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under the watchful eye of their instructor, Professor Marcel O’Gorman,…

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writing last-minute code…

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for the Cabs of Curiosity show that is opening for one night only…

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Thursday, April 7.  Check out their build blog.  Now you’ve got two reasons to head down to Artery.  158 King St W., Kitchener.  Map.  Street parking.

Happy making,


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3 Responses to t’art show at artery gallery + cabs of curiosity sneak preview

  1. PR says:

    Correction: Rob Gorbet is no longer in ECE, but with the Centre for Knowledge Integration.

    • dw says:

      Thanks, PR, for the correction. I guess the first 2 uwaterloo links (here and here) in google misled me to think he was still in ECE. Rob is indeed in CKI now. All fixed up.


  2. Pingback: cabs of curiosity–at UW’s Critical Media Lab | makebright

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