Pyramids Cascades

Designer | Artist Matthias Sven Lohscheidt
Year 2013

Physical 3D-objects made of polystyrene and paper, mounted on servomotors, create the projection surface
for a beamer. Virtual 2D-pyramids are mapped on these physical objects. The user can interact with the
installation via a trackpad. By moving the finger on the trackpad, the physical pyramids and the virtual
pyramids rotate simultaneously, creating an illusion of glowing pyramids. By clicking on the trackpad, small
projected balls fall down from the top of the surface and collide with the pyramids. Each collision produces
a synthetic bell-like sound, depending on the side and size of the hit surface. The circle-cascade works
like a sequencer. Every dropped circle is repeated after two bars. This installation thus enables melodies
to be created in a playful manner. I set it up as an adobe air application that communicates through a serial connection with an Arduino Board to control the servomotors. This serial communication was mainly maintained with the AS3Glue lib. For the 2D-physics I used the AS3 port of the powerful Box2D physics engine by Erin Catto.
The sound was synthetically generated by the air application with the Tonfall AS3 framework by
Andre Michelle. It was my first experiment with video-projection mapping and from the outset I was amazed by the
simplicity and expressiveness of this technique. I like the possibility of combining virtual and physical
elements to create something in-between by blurring their borders. I think the most interesting aspect of
Pyramid Cascades is its virtual imitation of physical laws and the way its impression is intensified by interacting with physical objects.