Laboratoire des Fictions

2 June 2008 at 9:13 pm (Hypermedia, Mechatronics,, School of Art, Sound, Videos)


The second semester of my academic year turned around a “group project” called “Laboratoire des Fictions”.

We had to get together to think on the fiction laboratory topic. The project ends up with a public presentation in the Studio space (in Aix en Provence School of Art).

We (the class) had to think on different art works and space arrangement in this big room that is the Studio. Each of us presented projects, ideas, concepts, definitions and we debated on theme in order to get a coherent set.

We decided to build a space where the visitor is manipulated, and used as laboratory object of study. The visit starts with charming attendants dressed like nurses/scientist that gives the visitor a placebo pill explaining that the active substance in the pill will make theme feel never before felt sensations. Then the visitor passes through a set of two corridors built with elastic fabrics with the objective to disturb the visitor’s senses. The visitor passes through a third corridor where the soil is soft, the left wall captures the visitors’ shadows and the right wall (nearly invisible because of the darkness)  keeps falling on the visitor’s head. This third corridor leads the visitor to the main room where several installations are establish. The first installation the visitor sees is an anamorphosis activated by a giant hamster wheel where visitors are invited to run. In the same room, the visitor can see the other side of the falling wall, this side of the wall has mirrors, when it falls (this time away from the visitor) our perception of verticality is disturbed and we feel like if we were falling. Another installation is a set of green neon lights that turn off after some time in order for the visitor to see the “Vie en rose” (there is an effect of persistence of vision, when the green light is switched off, the eyes have a adaptation time and you see everything in the opposite color – pink). When the neon light is turned off, we can hear a specialized quadriphonic mix of several versions of  “La vie en rose”. On the floor, a crazy robot drives around avoiding walls and visitors, presenting bugs and errors, annoying people. Finally, a door, in the center of the room, is used to play a Tetris game projected on a waterwall. The waterwall is also the exit. The visitor has to choose between waiting for a random waterfall stop, playing the game to see if it makes the water stop or just cross it with water anyway. Once outside the room, the visitor could find an evaluation machine called “I.D.I.O.” (in french it means “stupid”), where, during a performance, some of the visitors are randomly chosen to get evaluated by a group of (crazy) scientistes.

Since it’s hard to explain the exhibition with words, here are some videos showing it :

Here is a 3D animations made by Floriane Rebatue:

My work in this project is the Tetris waterwall projection. I have designed, built and programmed a big part. The game was programmed using Processing, the door has sensors linked to a PIC 16F876. The waterwall is 4 meters width and 3 meters high, it’s a closed circuit using a water-pump to inject water in a pipe with 1500 holes (1mm diameter). The collector is 4 meters width (in the central part) and is 1 meter large. A small bridge allows visitors to cross the water. The sound is generated by Pure Data (thanks to François Parra). I also got help from Jane, Pierre Loup and Florent.

Here are some sketches :

Here is a video :

Here you can find the code source (addapted to use with a computer keyboard and with a PIC) – Requires oscP5 (project site) library and Processing

Here is the PureData patch (activation of the OSC Library and PureData required).


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