Part 1 – Breathing Companion – Arduino & Processing

Physical Computing – Meditation and Breathing

In this work I was looking to explore how meditation and guided breathing practice can be taken out of the phone screen and into the physical world. Many young people have become dependant on meditative phone apps which claim to help with mindfulness however to me in the first semester I explored how phones and social apps provide a lot of confusion and anxiety meaning that practicing mindfulness on the same device did not make much sense. My aim was to create a speculative object that would provide a focal point during breathing practice. In this experiment I used an Arduino Uno with components such as LED lights and buttons. I also used processing.org to control the outputs i.e. audio triggered by the input which were the buttons. My work this year focuses on combining two very different topics of mediation with digitalisation/computation and this led me to create a clay object which contained all the wires and components that would have been distracting during mediation in turn allowing me to work with organic/natural material as well as the computer.


Starts 18th January 2021

Intentions and plan for Semester 2

Date: 6th January 2021

In Semester 2 I want to re-visit my original brief which I wrote in September and re-focus. What I have been doing recently clearly hasn’t worked for me and It has not inspired me enough to produce a lot of work or work to the standard that I am happy with. My original brief was meant to explore a sense of CALM and I was very drawn to that word, I began looking at things like the ocean and seeing how I could interpret this using new media but I quickly felt discouraged and took the project down a different path exploring a lack of connection between people, political divides and impact of fake news and in general a very two-sided view of important current issues. While exploring this it became clear to me that I was having a hard time narrowing this topic down into something I could truly run with and express myself through. Which is why I will be changing my approach in the new year and I will focus on creating work which makes me happy and keeps me inspired, I also want to take the opportunity to learn something new and make uncommon links between the digital world and the fundamentals of what it means to be human.

In The Creativity Code: How AI Is Learning to Write, Paint and Think by Marcus Du Sautoy, he explores Boden’s analysis of three different kinds of human creativity.

‘The second sort of creativity involves combination. Think of how an artist might take two completely different constructs and seek to combine them. Often the rules governing one world will suggest an interesting new framework for the other.’pg. 10

This idea of combination is what I’m interested in exploring in my work this year. I hope to follow the ideas from the original brief but begin with research on breath leading to meditation and yoga and finding creative, interesting and new ways of combining new media with the roots of being human by exploring breath and physical movement. I feel this will allow me to do some scientific research and deepen my own knowledge and understanding on things like breath, movement and meditation while also discovering new ways of using new media and things I have learnt on the course over the past 3 years. I believe this will give me freedom to create a significantly large and varying portfolio exploring different techniques as well as delving into specific topics in a much more focused way. I hope to even incorporate things like life drawing of people doing yoga and seeing whether I could maybe feed those images into processing and exploring things like sound and image and possibly even physical computing. I feel excited to have a plan and to be able to move in a new direction in the new year. 

This semester I hope to have a lot of research as a foundation for my work varying from interesting books about digital culture and new media art combined with sources exploring breathing techniques, meditation, yoga and possibly even covering basics of anatomy. I feel that a combination of these sources will provide me with original ideas and inspiration and it will be interesting to find commonalities and differences between these different subjects and consider ways to present and explore them alongside each other. I have just received a book called Science of Yoga: Understand the Anatomy and Physiology to Perfect Your Practice by Ann Swanson, a mind-body science educator and certified yoga therapist, which outlines basic human anatomy and moves on to explore 30 different yoga poses in depth. The book is accompanied with illustrations, diagrams and helpful visual aids that are very helpful and educational, I hope to use this book as a staple of learning the basics of the topic I want to research but without the overbearing feeling that I need to known everything straight away this book will be a great educational staple throughout my making process as well as the imagery being a possible inspiration for beginning visual explorations.

Myself I am very new to yoga and wouldn’t claim I know a lot about it because people dedicate their whole lives to the subject to truly understand it’s benefits which is why I will need to lean on knowledge of experts for any kind of claims I decide to make down the line. I have turned to yoga a lot throughout the pandemic and the only way to truly understand it and appreciate it is to try it and do it on a regular basis. Over the past year I have done 3 30-day yoga journeys and I’m currently beginning my 4th one and this is a program created by Adriene Mishler meant for anyone who wishes to try yoga at home with the help of a guided video encouraging people to form a routine of everyday practice. Adriene is a yoga teacher and posts her videos on her very popular Youtube channel called Yoga With Adriene making it extremely accessible to anyone and the videos are meant for anyone ranging from beginners to more experienced practitioners as she gives helpful information throughout the video and suggests different variations depending on what feels good for each individual person. I enjoy the fact this is to available to people who want to learn more and I feel it was very inspiring for me and helped me throughout the pandemic. It was also my initial insight into how important breath is and Adrienne introduced me to varying breathing techniques which I hope to research and explore more throughout this Semester.


EXPERIMENT : PHYSICAL COMPUTING, Arduino:

Breathing

15/01/2021

In yoga and meditation breathing is extremely important some believe it is even more important than the poses and many yogis incorporate time on the mat purely focused on breath. There are many breathing techniques out there, some to help calm nerves and anxiety others to help energise and wake up. In the Science of Yoga book I am currently reading and using for my research Some breathing exercises are mentioned, as well as this the 30 yoga journey I am currently doing is titled Breath and I have already attempted and tried these techniques myself. A few I would like to use as a starting point are UJJAYI (Victorious Breath or commonly known as Ocean Breath), KAPALABHATI (Breath of Fire) and BRAHMARI (Bee Breath). I am in no way an expert in these breathing exercises however I enjoy practicing them and I feel it will be a great subject matter to explore in my work. As someone who constantly struggles with nerves and stress these exercises claim to have calming effects and many health benefits which is another reason for exploring this in my work.

I have considered how I would like to incorporate breathing into my work and I have envisioned a project/work that I feel will be challenging as well as fun and will allow me to get back to creating. I have mapped out roughly how I imagine the outcome as of now since in my feedback it was mentioned I should consider finalising pieces of work throughout my portfolio, however I will start small and I will be open to the process of making allowing for some of these projections and decisions to change in time. For this work my goal is to work with an Arduino to create and interaction based ‘breathing helper’ with inputs such as buttons and outputs such as lights. I am very open and accepting of the fact that the outcome may not be ‘perfect’ or ‘commercial’ which is completely fine I will start by working on the Arduino and code and then move to creating a physical object/sculpture. I have found my Arduino kit and luckily I have some small buttons as well as LED lights which will be great for prototyping and working right now I don’t feel I need to order expensive flashy Arduino components as of right now I think it is quite smart to work with what is available to me at home. I realise there may be some logistical problems since I don’t have a soldering iron and the working part may very much look like a prototype but I am hoping that through documentation I can work on some of this presentation and since I am only starting I will not focus on these details too much as of right now.

The Idea

Firstly, I think it will be important for me to start the code and work on creating a prototype of one breathing exercise, I aim to have 3 for the final work however I feel if I grasp one and fully understand what I am coding and doing it will be much easier to then follow that and add 2 similar things or even making 3 separate finals that all work together. The idea now is to have 1 breathing exercise, for example UJJAYI breath also known as ocean breath where you breath in through your nose and exhale through your nose slowly creating an ‘ocean sound’ like the waves crashing on a beach. I am considering recording guiding audio of how to do this breathing exercise correctly which would be triggered by a button. Corresponding to this would be an LED light, for ocean breath possibly a blue one, which could signal the breathing for example when inhaling the bluelight would be on and when exhaling it would be off. This would allow a visual and hearing aid for the breathing exercise to stay focused and to not breath too fast and being present and conscious in the moment.

Concept

I find this idea very interesting as it is a concept of combining mindfulness and the very fundamental thing that separates humans and machines; breathing. A machine doesn’t need to breath and even robots emulating humans don’t suddenly have working lungs and blood it is wires and mechanics which is why the concept of combining digital media and mindfulness/breathing/meditation is so interesting to me. Computers don’t feel anxiety and stress like humans however when they have too many tasks to take care of they get hot and crash which honestly sounds familiar. Just as a laptop can over heat causing the fan to spin faster humans can have panic attacks leading to sharp quick inhales and exhales of breath which in turn stop the oxygen from flowing to certain parts of the body. With this in mind I find it interesting to consider combining human breathing and control with digital media, two complete opposites. I feel exploring these two separate subjects in combination will allow for creative discovery and creative outputs which I look forward to.

Materiality

I have considered how I would like to physically and visually present this work and it made me consider the Control project from 2nd Year. I thought about how we used an Arduino with inputs and outputs controlling certain factors and a big part of that project was laser cutting and it was our first time creating something this way. Right now I have no access to a laser cutter however I quickly realised that even if I did I do not think I would like to create a box out of plastic for this particular work which made me consider other options. I feel that breathing directly links to and has connotations of all things natural and organic and I thought that even though we are doing a course which very much relies on mechanic and computers it may be interesting to link this to more natural materials. This is how I considered terracotta clay as my object/sculpture which the Arduino components would be placed in. Even though the lights and buttons will be mechanic I feel it will be quite refreshing to interact with an object that isn’t metal or plastic. This of course also made me consider plants and creating this cycle if a plant was incorporated into this design (an air purifying plant) it would create this cycle of oxygen and when I spoke about this idea with a friend they mentioned how this could even create a kind of relationship almost with the plant if using the object for mindfulness and breathing ultimately Brough someone happiness they may consider the plant as part of that interaction in the long run.

Prototype drawing made in Photoshop.

Above I have inserted a drawing which envisions what I have in mind for the final outcome right now however I realise this will change when I’m working on this project I just wanted to document what I have in mind in the starting phases so that later I can compare and analyse the decisions which changed this.

Saturday 16/01/2021

Re-visiting Arduino

Since I haven’t worked with an Arduino for quite some time I thought it would be beneficial to read posts on my blog from previews projects and I am also going to watch Jen’s ‘Control’ videos and tutorials on planet estream so I can get started. Even though I have done the basics in the past I feel because I haven’t been working with an Arduino everyday since I have forgotten things that may be quite crucial so I’m willing to learn everything again and when I did control I focused mostly on sliders and dials so that means I will actually be exploring and working with different code and components since I want to use buttons and LEDs, I also used an Arduino in Physical Expressions for my ‘drawing robot’ where I used a motor which again is different to what I want to focus on now. Hopefully I will quickly pick up the basics again and I will be able to get this project started with my own initiative.

Learning through making

I’m going to document everything I do starting from basics because I feel it will allow me to track my progress and stay motivated it will also be a good reference for any future work.

We have a light! Arduino board with a red LED light.

Before anything else I wanted to check that my Arduino board works and as a reminder always check: tools – board – Arduino uno and tools – port – choose the Arduino port. I used some test code Jen had in her Control videos and then changed it just to get back into coding with the Arduino software.

Monday 18/01/2021

I logged into Autodesk and I’m currently going through the introduction tutorials to get a better grasp on the components, wiring and coding involved. I have a very basic Arduino kit with very simple components but I think it’s better I decide exactly what I want to do and which components I need before I start ordering things that won’t be useful to me. I can always lock things up and test them on Autodesk to decide if I want to develop them in the physical world as well.

Since in the past I have only worked with a few components I have been reading through the components list on Autodesk to get a better grasp of what each one is for, this may be beneficial for future experiments and projects as I will know what is out there and I can keep in mind the different options I have when starting a new experiment.

I was quite confused about resistors but I found this clear graph (linked below) which I can use to figure out the value but I realised the ones in my kit are labelled so if I make sure to keep them organised I should be okay.

source: https://www.build-electronic-circuits.com/resistor-color-codes/

Traffic Light Example

I found a good example which used 3 LED lights on the breadboard which I thought would be useful since I’m setting out to make an experiment with 3 LED lights down the line once I get a grasp on the basics (what I want in my experiment is a little different to the traffic light system in this example but I think it’s still beneficial for me to practice the wiring and placement of components and it’ll be much easier to work through the code and change bits later).

This example lights the LED lights one at a time for 400 milliseconds in sequence and is mounted on a breadboard.

(Code for traffic light example)

Pushbutton(input) LED light(output) example

I wanted to do this example as it combined LEDs and buttons which is what I want to do however I have been considering the button to trigger an output and here it is an input controlling the LED light, once the pushbutton is pressed it turns on the LED light. This could actually also be a part of the code as I don’t want all 3 lights to automatically light up only once the right button is pressed I want them to light up. I think I’ll need to remind myself about firmata and speaking to Arduino through processing to begin the audio file experiments but I’m enjoying learning in Arduino for now.

I decided to dismantle my old projects so that I could use the components again, luckily the two sliders and dial from my control came off easily since they were super glued and the dial was just screwed in and the servo motor from my physical expressions project just had 2 tiny screws I had to loosen. This means I can make circuits with varying components and if I want to I can explore more analog inputs and outputs in the future.

I followed Jen’s workshop and got the potentiometer working and mapped.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Calendar: 1v1 Tutorial at 14:40 with Jen.

Jen gave me a lot of useful links and resources for me to look through she also suggested that I pick two varying experiments to focus on right now one being web camera based machine learning like PoseNET and the second being physical computing orientated. She suggested I sign up to Thursdays studio support with my choices, I will think about this for the next day. The essay deadline is Friday but I think I can manage my time and get everything done. We spoke about deciding between digital and analog outputs and inputs as well as sensors and I do realise thinks like breathing and yoga are initially more lenient towards analog but I really want to make the clay object with LED lights and buttons as it’s something I’ve set my heart on and I think it’ll be fun and once I’ve done it I can decide whether I want to move on to sliders or sensors.

Task for today

Today I want to wire up 3 buttons on a breadboard. UPDATE: YAY! It worked, and I managed to get 3 LEDs on the breadboard as well so that when a button is pressed a corresponding light it switched on.

(code for the above circuit with 3 button and 3 LED)

Wednesday 20th January 2021

I spent all of yesterday night and today watching tutorials and videos. I watched some videos and looked at some code for PoseNet and tried to figure out what I wanted to do with it but I think from now on I will separate my blog into 2 sections so that I can keep a clean workflow and distinction between the Physical computing and the Machine Learning. I thought about my idea of using buttons and LEDs and I do realise that there are other ways I could go about it and use sensors and sliders but I’m really determined to make what I have had in mind and I’m fairly confident I can do it. The aim would be to get the code running through processing before anything else and then wiring up my breadboard and once that works I really want to order a soldering iron, protective glasses and a helping hand stand so that I can make an object out of clay and mount it without visible wires. I know that buttons and LEDs as outputs especially seem pretty basic but I do want to write code which triggers audio files for instructions of breath which I will make as well so I don’t necessarily think it’c completely basic and I understand that it may seem more like a product at first rather than an expressive project but because I will be moulding out of clay it will also be like a kind of speculative sculpture. I would really love to make this so that I can practice my documenting because I feel this would be a great opportunity to create a clear concise video. I think getting familiar with using Arduino as well as creating a video to document this work are extremely important skills and practice that I think I will benefit from especially nearing the end of my degree and this would just be a great chance for me to do it on my own terms and learn from it and whatever I like and dislike about the outcome I will be able to take forward and continue creating.

I decided I really wanted to make sure my button idea would actually work so I got my hard drive and found code from Year 2 for the Control project and managed to change it so that it would play sound> I was really happy I managed to figure this out and make it work however when I added 2 buttons it still worked but it became more glitchy so I think I’ll need to ask for some help, hopefully this is just because I’m using a breadboard I hope if I solder the buttons individually this won’t be a problem anymore.

Soldering

Things I will need:

  • cutting mat
  • safety glasses
  • helping hand
  • soldering iron
  • bluetack

Weekend

All the soldering things I ordered arrived on Saturday. I was hopping I could get a head start over the weekend on some physical computing or even attempting to train a yoga pose in P5 but unfortunately the weekend was a little chaotic I had no running water on Saturday and my oven door broke and I spent hours trying to fix it so I wasn’t in the right mindset but I will work throughout the week.

Monday 25th January 2021

Monday Morning Session 10am – 11:30am

After Monday morning session I wanted to prepare for soldering I watched some tutorials and double checked with Jen about the resistors, she sent me a very helpful link that explains the whole circuit which I will link here. I want to solder the LEDs first, I have everything I need so I prepped the wires and resistors and I should be able to solder this afternoon after the Video Documentation Workshop.

Video Documentation Workshop 2pm – 4pm

After the workshop I set up a soldering station with everything I needed in my living room. I’ve also been thinking about how I might want to stage my documentation video and what kind of progress videos I might want to use down the line and I thought it would be beneficial to consider recording things like Arduino/Processing code, soldering, setting up and connecting components on breadboard/Arduino board, experiments and possibly clay sculpting. With this in mind I set up my camera stand to record me soldering so that if I chose to use the footage in the future I would already have it saved on my hard drive and it will be easier to focus more on editing rather than retracing steps all the way back to the beginning of the process as I hope to keep moving forward. Since we have been doing short documentation videos for the past 3 years I feel like I have already learnt a lot and most importantly made many mistakes before and did things that didn’t come out exactly how I wanted so with this experience I now know to document as I go along and get as much footage as possible.

I then had to test if the lights work and I decided to setup an Arduino sketch with 3 buttons and 3 lights like Jen suggested separating the Processing code playing sound with the LEDs right now as we will need to figure a way around having a READ and a WRITE corrupting the cable. Today I managed to link all components (including soldered LEDs) and make a sketch I am pretty happy with but there are still things I want to behave differently but I might need some help with. Each separate button is responsible for 1 light and I made the red button and red LED flicked 0.5 second on and 0.5 seconds off (BREATH OF FIRE), blue button and blue LED flicked 5 seconds on and 5 seconds off (OCEAN BREATH) and yellow button with yellow LED flicker 10 seconds on and 10 seconds off (BEE BREATH). All of this worked the problem I have with this is that the button had to be pressed down continuously for the corresponding light to flicker what I aim for is for the button to be pressed once the lights flickering and if the button is pressed again the light stops flickering, so like a switch. I have this working in my processing sketch but I wasn’t able to transfer this onto the Arduino sketch today.

The different times of the LED flicker represent the 3 different breathing exercises.

Tuesday 26th of January

Calander: 5pm – 6pm Working Space – The future of networking. Speakers: David Freer, Medeia Cohan and Santini Basra. This was an interesting topic I attended on Zoom organised by the Enterprise Studio.

I did ordered some longer cables and did some more soldering today focusing on my button components meaning I now have all the LEDs and all the buttons soldered with wires. This means I can start thinking about creating my object made with clay as I know I will be able to place the components in it without a breadboard.

Wednesday 27th of January

Back to coding!

I had a look at the button class example Jen provided me with but I knew I had to change things within the code as it didn’t do exactly what I wanted. The Class example works so that when the button is pressed it is ON and when it is released it is OFF so for example if I want to play sound I would have to keep the button pushed for it to continuously play and once I take my finger off the button it stops playing. I don’t want this to happen, I don’t want the person using my object to have to keep the button pressed down continuously to hear sound. I had another sketch from second year that I already got working based on a trigger so when button is pressed music plays and when it is pressed again it turns off the trigger stopping the music from playing. My only problem was that I wanted to have 3 buttons not just 1 so this is why I need to transfer into the class example. It took me a while to get my head around the class to figure out where I needed to change the code so over a couple of days I had a read through it multiple times, I almost signed up for studio support for help but I thought I should give it a try and attempt coding it myself before asking for help. I managed to do it but I had a problem at first because the audio played when the sketch was opened, this was easily fixed by changing the state of the Boolean variable ‘triggered’ to True at the beginning of the code and it works exactly how I want it to. Now my aim is to code in another button hopefully I can do this myself too.

3 separate buttons playing 3 different sound files

It seemes that adding more buttons is actually really simple in this class and I just had to copy the code from the first button and paste it remembering to change the pin numbers. I still need to test this with multiple sound files and 3 buttons connected to my Arduino but I tested 2 buttons with the same audio file and that worked so I’m feeling pretty positive.

Test: 3 buttons triggering 3 audio files worked. Unfortunately one of the buttons I soldered has stopped working, this made me worry because I thought the code was wrong but when I swapped it out for a different button everything worked fine.

Thursday 28th January

Calendar: Studio support with Jen at 4pm

Before the studio support I was focusing on the PoseNet experiment. I needed help with my code because I wanted the buttons to trigger sound as well as the LEDs and I had this in two separate sketches one in Processing and 1 in Arduino and Jen helped me with that line of code I needed to control the LEDs through processing. After the tutorial I realised something wasn’t working right because only the first button triggered the light like I wanted. I managed to quickly figure it out by comparing my code to the example libraries in Processing Firmata and realised I just had to declare the 3 pins for the LEDs as OUTPUT and all the code worked well.

Video of 3 buttons triggering corresponding 3 test audio files and 3 LED’s through the same processing sketch.

Next steps:

I feel I am getting closer to realising my idea and so far everything’s going to plan and any problems that I’ve been having I’ve managed to sort out and fix. Also during the process of making and working on this experiment I really got to understand and form my concept and I believe I have clear answers and reasons for why I made certain decisions. I also feel more confident in calling this a speculative object because to me it’s not a commercial product but a commentary about how technology can be taking down different routes than just screen based.

My aim over the next couple of days is to create my clay sculpture shell for all the physical components, add the timed blinking to the processing sketch and to consider and record temporary audio files for the object. I’ve also been considering a title for this work as everything is coming together and I really like breathing companion.

Friday 29th January

There was an unexpected power cut on my street today so I had no electricity, heating, hot water or access to the Internet on my laptop for half of the day.

Sunday night 31st January

Today I made my clay object which will contain all the physical components. Initially I wanted to make an organic kind of shape but until the clay dries there is no way it will hold it self up so I needed up making a kind of box but I hope that the little cracks and the texture of the material when it dries will be enough to represent my concept if I end up not being happy with it I will re make it. For now I am just happy that I’m not working with a plastic box and the shape in which it currently is just means it will be quite easy to use and I will be able to hide all the wires and physical components which will make the physical object less distracting as the LED light should be the focal point.

It’s not fully dried yet so I can’t assemble all the components and the final look will be slightly different as the texture and colour changes as it dries.

Monday 1st February

Calendar: P&P Events Artist Talk: MICHAELA PILAR BROWN 1pm http://michaelapilarbrown.com

Before I attended Michaela Pilar Brown’s amazing zoom talk today I was working on fixing my code. I still needed to make the LEDs blink with the appropriate timings today and I was having some trouble with it. In the end I managed to make it work but I am aware it is still a little glitch however for what I am doing right now it works well. The only problem I am having is pressing the button for the second time trying to stop the audio and the LEDs from playing and flashing but the most important part is to trigger all the audio files with the right buttons and the right LEDs and that all works great.

I also wanted to stop using random sound files and begin incorporating what I actually want to use so I spent some time recording the audio for each breathing technique. My boyfriend helped me a little with some basic audio editing as he has experience in sound production. I might re-record these audio files but it gave me something to work with today so that I could get closer to a fully functioning object.

Today I’m also downloading all the documentation footage I have been recording onto my hard drive, these contain soldering, working with clay and recording audio files. I will place some screenshot images below for now but these will be used for documentation when I’m working on videos in the future.

Tuesday 2nd February 2021

This video shows how the object works, it is very simple right now when buttons are clicked they trigger an audio file of me giving instructions for how the particular breathing exercise should be done and the corresponding light blinks representing inhales and exhales. Each of the exercises is different and they have different timings to each other. The object encapsulating the physical components is made from terracotta clay with exposed imperfections such as cracks which is supposed to show something more natural than plastic and provides a small connection to nature when doing these breathing exercises. The object is small with the intent that it can be taken with you outside to maybe do these exercises sitting on the grass. The underlying concept of this speculative object is to take us away from meditation done through phone screens and apps but not necessarily excluding computerisation as a tool for mindful practices.

This video is a demo of the being used in real time. The light providing a focus fo inhales and exhales.

I think I managed to take this experiment to some kind of conclusion and I had fun getting back into coding and making so overall I feel it was worthwhile to go down this route. However it’s important to acknowledge I am not 100% happy with the outcome during the Show and Tell we discussed how the object in itself should be more delicate and currently it looks like an actual brick. Someone suggested I could put the light and buttons in a stress ball which I thought was a fun idea and Gillian mentioned using a servo motor reflecting a metronome. I think for now I will leave this experiment here so I can focus on machine learning and visual representation of movement but I feel it has helped me to get back into making and allowed me to explore interesting concepts and ideas.

Wednesday 3rd February

Calendar: OpenSkills Workshop with Paul : CONTROLP5 in Processing 2pm

I really liked this workshop I think it was really useful and the buttons and sliders will come in handy even for displaying certain works.

During the show and tell Gillian suggested I create something with more ethereal quality than the clay box and that I should look into using servo motors and take a look at kinetic sculptures of past graduates. I take this feedback on board however I don’t want to start experimenting with motors right now since I am developing my experiments with PoseNet and soon moving into Runway ML as well. On the other hand I din’t want to leave this experiment here as I agree it was lacking a certain visual aesthetic and I haven’t had a chance to stage a documentation for it yet. When speaking with the external examiner I mentioned that it wasn’t exactly a delicate object at the moment representative of meditation and that it looked light a brick but he pointed out that blocks are often used in yoga as well as other tools. I think this was a fair point to make and even something to consider exploring as so far I have only been using a yoga mat as a tool for photographs and visuals in my other experiments. It made me consider that a yoga block could potentially even have the subtle lights mounted into it to assist with yoga practice. I won’t be physically exploring this at the moment but it gave me that motivation and push to create a conclusion with what I have already built and achieved.

I decided to paint the clay object and I was considering two colours a gold green or a light blue.

I ended up choosing the green because from the beginning of developing this experiment an element of nature and organic kept creeping up and ideally I always wanted to stage the video for this outside with the object on the grass (I can’t do this currently because there’s a lot of snow! but I will come back to this when it starts to get warmer outside) which is why I ended up using this particular green. I felt very organic and natural to me and I felt like it would really make the clay box seem much more delicate in a way. I also felt I didn’t want to have the buttons with coloured plastic caps it seemed to take away from the aesthetic as well as not fitting with my concept of organic material. I covered the buttons with clay and painted them like the rest of the box. I am pretty happy with this and I feel much better about it than I did during the show and tell, I think it will be interesting to change the audio output later as well to some kind of mediative music or something I will explore though other experiments.

Real time demo of using breathing companion, Ujjayi breath.

Something Bigger?

Since I started working on this experiment I knew that that I was creating a small object but in the back of my mind I always considered how this idea could be translated to a bigger space if I had the resources. When looking at artists like Refik Anadol who use projections to bring buildings to life and through projection of video add movement to the physical buildings (Teachable Machine) I envisioned a space/room that would accompany meditative time and become a guide for these breathing exercises. If we had access like in previous years I would possibly consider staging this in the barnes exhibition space in the basement in the small separated space or even in the Reid in the oval seating area. Logistically there’s different ways I could achieve the blinking of coloured light maybe by installing LED light strips or by having a screen displayed in a solid colour this casting a tint on the whole room if there is no other light source. I wanted to mock up this idea to visualise it so that even if I don’t move forward with this my idea is still somewhat visualised. I found a copy right free image on https://www.pexels.com and then in Photoshop worked with the tint effect and opacity, I also added instructive text for inhale and exhale just to clearly visualise the intent since I am using a still image.


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