This is a piece by a kinetic sculptor called Zimoun. What I find enjoyable about this piece is how accessible it is. It has no baggage of social commentary or historical references. Any viewer of any background can jump in and appreciate the piece for what it is: something silly and fun that you can appreciate for just its formal qualities like the cacophonous sounds and simple motions. It feels like new media arts is somewhat saturated with works where the form of the piece serves the content or the technology, so it’s refreshing for me to see this piece where the form is the focus.


This is a work by Nils Volker. It is an installation placed on a wall that reacts to the movements of a viewer. It’s interesting how the artist was able to take an object as mundane as plastic bags and create something beautiful and intriguing. The plastic bags have an inherent property of flexibility and transience — that is, they wrinkle easily and don’t keep definite form — so it’s striking how the artist managed to make the bags move in an orderly fashion.



The Rainbox is a compact cube with a sensor that extends under the mattress of one’s sleeping space. When it senses that someone is lying on the bed, the motor in the cube will turn a rain stick within the cube, simulating the sound of rain.
I used to have a bit of a sleeping problem, where I would be lying in bed for hours on end trying to fall asleep, but my fear of the dark, the complete silence, and random thoughts about death would keep me awake to no end. During those times, the gentle sound of rain would relax me and distract my senses enough to allow me to fall asleep. Other times, I would just leave the television on and muted to keep the room dimly lit — the television would make me feel like there are others awake at that time and let me feel not as alone.
I want to create a piece that hearkens back to these times and provide me, and hopefully others, with an immense sense of comfort before sleep. The motor will stop turning after about 30 minutes, and it may even be used as a gentle alarm clock. If possible, I would also like to attach a small LCD screen with a looping video of raindrops on a glass pane to keep the room dimly lit.


The New Media Art is a realization of Jim Campbell’s “Formula for Computer Art”. This abomination will have a wide variety of cheap sensors and data collecting algorithms hooked up to the computer inside the piece as well as various different media of outputs. When the user presses the “Make Art” button, the computer will choose a random method of input and a random form of output and link them together. For example, pressing the button may trigger the proximity sensor, and the data may be transferred to the motor and make the joints in the piece dance. I want this to be an experiment in how meaning might come out of random generation.

One comment

  1. admin

    “what’s with all the wooden boxes with burnt edges?”
    shouldn’t the video be in a bedroom? +1

    Video suffers from not showing what’s inside the box, IMHO.

    on mechanised musical instruments:
    Bayernhof museum – museum of mechanical instruments in Pittsburgh

    on mixing sounds and lights:
    check out the magenta room

    Instead of just using the sound coming from the box in your video you should borrow a sound recorder from cfa and record the rainstick. Right now, it doesn’t sound too much like rain since it sounds like its been put through a filter.

    Instead of sitting on the pillow I think it would be more true to your concept of you laid down on the pillow

    The “fear of death” part seems very specific….

    Hm, Would have loved to see the piece without a box… the natural materials of the rainstick are so lovely. The box you made is a real space-hog.

    i want to see it working man! It such a beautiful mechanism – hidden by box with burnt edges.

    In the video, the sound is not comforting, makes me feel anxious actually. Making your own rain stick could give you control over the sound.

    This is large! Why is it so big?

    Your interaction with the box seems a bit artificial in the video. Would you really treat it like that if you had to live with it every day?

    If you plan to use the box, you should play up its emptiness / aesthetic qualities

    In the video, the glow seems less appealing because of the lighting in the room.

    Love your sense of humor in the video

    You frame this device as something for everyone, but not everyone has a fear of death when trying to fall asleep

    This doesn’t exactly sound like the ocean…
    The sound it makes almost feels kind of stressful to me

    A continuous sound would be fantastic, much more relaxing. (Maybe two rainsticks?) I would dispute the “comforting blue glow”… I feel like that would just be a distraction when trying to fall asleep. Sound is definitely heavy/tropical rain, not the ocean (minor details). I agree with “why hide how the sound is being made?” comment. One can simply play a similar sound off of a CD player. It would be great to physical watch the ‘rain’ move — would that not be considered relaxing? (Also, that box is Massive! It may as well be a table…)

    I think you could use the other rainstick you just got to create continuous sound by turning them both at offsets of each other.

    I feel like the audio in the video might have distorted the actual audio? Because it doesn’t sound very relaxing

    What is the sound played when you sit on the pillow? I find it disturbing the peace of the ambient sounds

    “big ominous cube” -> it does look a little scary. Maybe you should have painted it in a certain way to make it seem less threatening

    This could be cool if it were more like a metronome than a box—being able to see the rainstick, etc.

    If you stick with a box, I would like the cover to be semi-transparent, and maybe if you used changing RGB LEDs, you could see the whole box change colors.