This project is an investigation on how the The New Ecology of Things can utilize the natural tendency of people to think of their surroundings as if they were animate — that is, objects and spaces have motivation, intention and/or consciousness.
Tonalis Luminous (also known as tink-tinks). Was discovered in 2011, in the city of Pasadena, California.
Tink-tinks are a tonal, light sensitive flower. It is the first of its kind in the species of the tonalis luminous. The original native range radiates from pasadena and spans through the entire region of southern california.
After months of research. Discoveries were made which give the tink tinks their classification.The first is they give off sound, which gives each and every tink tink their individual quality. And the second, is their response to light.
Tink tinks have 4 moods which we believe connects them to their original seed in pasadena california. These moods have respectively been labeled as morning, afternoon, night and sleep. The tinks behavior and rhythm is determined by these four moods which also determines the type of interaction and relationship one has with them. Some have turned this process into a professional practice known as tone pruning.
Special tools have been developed in order to tone prune the tink tinks. Reason being, almost all tonalis luminous plants have a special bud which we believe is its receptor for light. Touching this special part may cause harm to the tink-tink and especially yourself.
Please use the tink tink hats when handling.
Tonalis Luminous is an exploration of animism at the swarm level. It is an attempt to express animism through a group of simple objects. Simple objects which express their inner lives through the use of sound — where the individual tone and rhythmic behavior of individual objects collectively define a larger sound, presence, and mood. Bestowing the Tonalis with the personality of being vocal and being fed with light, the tonalis shifts through different tonal moods throughout the day. Some of these moods may sound extremely similar but they will never be the same. The aspect of pruning the individual plants was implemented as a mode of interaction and conversing with the tonalis. Similar to how we water our plants and talk to them, the tonalis has a simple mode of interaction by controlling the amount of light each plant receives. Pruning individual tonalis can set the collective whole into a new rhythmic territory, only to have them sway back into its natural state or mood. Each mood has its own affordances of interaction, in this respect I also use the tonalis to explore the possibilities of having one simple mode of interaction controlling a large complex system of simple objects. The system requires active listening, where the pruner must be in constant attention of the tonal quality of the whole and each plant individually.
Inevitably, the Tonalis Luminous is a prototype into exploring the possibility of having musical objects bestowed with qualities of animism. What would it be like to interact, perform, and play with an instrument that had moods, intentions, and a sense of having an inner life? What would the music world be like if one were required to develop a relationship with thier instrument in order to achieve a quality of sound, affordance, and creative possibilities. Delving even deeper with questioning what if an instrument had access to history and shared memories with their owners?
Servo Test: The initial idea was going to utilize servos to control the direction the plant would be facing. I would have liked to implement this idea to have the plant move towards the light, just like plants normally tend to do.
NETLab Hub and Digital Out Widget Test: The meat and potatoes of the project depended on the NETLab toolkit’s digitalOut widget to send signals or pulses to the Arduino to trigger the solenoids.
Building For Demo 1
Sound Garden Monitor 1.0: I developed a small 8 step sequencer in Adobe Flash, to send signals to the digitalOut widget using the NETLab toolkit. It was good for testing purposes and my first demo, but it didn’t fit the programming criteria, as it didn’t handle each pod or plant individually, but more as a whole. I had programmed the system to respond per column not per row.
Solenoid Test: After some searching for the perfect solenoid I found the one I wanted to use at All Electronics in Van Nuys. And with the help of Alex Braidwood pointing me to this Instructables tutorial to hook it all up.
Building Demo 1: The first demo revealed some key components of the project. The project was beginning to break out into a more spacial presence, begging to be larger. The interaction needed to be more defined, or signified. The context needed some layers, perhaps designing or making more contextual props… And the process to understand the behavior of the system needed major refinements. Asking questions or building modes of interaction. Driving me to program several different states of the system, all utilizing the simple interaction of covering a light sensor.
Faking It: Envisioning and enhancing the system to be more robust and responsive. Testing the system’s physical efficiency and affordances. How big can I make this thing? How small should it be?
Sound Garden Monitor 1.5: A newly redeveloped sequencer enabled me to control the system at the granular level. Creating event listeners for each plant and updating the system as a whole by individual cascading and instants updates. I also implemented a time keeper or clock, so the plants would know what time it was and could change into their corresponding states.