Socially Engaged Art // Online Communities

The online community I started was on my website’s YouTube Fortune Telling / I Ching Machine, which is a fortune telling system that tells you your fortune thought YouTube videos. The program is based on the traditional fortune-telling method of the I Ching, otherwise known as The Book of Changes.

I showed this project at Maker Faire this weekend to great reception. People were very interested in this modern take of a very ancient divination system.

So I decided to make a comment forum on my I Ching Machine webpage.

I hope that people will discuss their fortunes, perhaps discuss their questions and maybe re-vitalize interest in this ancient book.

PDS / lead or lead-free solder?

Soldering the led matrix together.

Suddenly, soldering iron tip stops getting hot. Uh-oh… tips oxidized

Progress halted till new tips

Googled “how to prevent soldering iron tips oxidation”

Found the lead vs lead-free solder

Energy Final / Chakra Lights

For my energy final, I will build a little buddha statue out of concrete with acrylic rods and LEDS embedded in it. The statue will have a flexible solar panel embedded in its back and will have 7 lights (corresponding to the 7 chakras) inside it. It will gather light during the day (from its backside) and project them through its chakra lights on its front by night. This design was inspired by the concrete & light work of Amitabh Shrivastava.
The sculpture will be an energy sufficient art object meant to be placed with its backside toward the sunlight. It is designed for the top floor of my house, which receives a good amount of indirect sunlight during the daytime. I will house it at ITP’s east window, where our group housed our midterm solar project.
7 neopixel LED pixels
1 Arducam PRO Mini Atmega328 Development Board
  • For 7 neopixel, estimated at 20mA/pixel at normal usage x 7 pixels = 150mA. At full brightness this is 60mA x 7 pixels = 420mA
    • Watts = Amps x Volts
      • at 60mA estimated draw: 0.43A x 5v = 2.15W for the lights
      • at 20mA estimated draw: 0.15A x 5v = 0.75W
  • For Pro Mini: 4mA minimum requirement (from
    • Watts = 0.004A x 5V = .02W
  • TOTAL POWER BUDGET: For 20mA calculation per LED, total is 0.02W (for pro mini) + 0.75W (for 7 neopixels) = 0.77W
  • TOTAL POWER BUDGET: For 60mA calculation per LED, total is 0.02W + 2.15W = 2.17W total load
6V 1W Panel (to order)
3.7 W 1200mAh Battery (I already have this):
5V Charging battery board (to order)

Future Scenarios / Concept Maps

Concept Map showing flow of action of Steve Bannon’s “Culture War”. Here, “Radical Political Actors” can be defined as elements grouped under the “Alt-Right”. The arrow direction shows the manner in which effectation was enacted.

Concept map of how the role social media played in the Egyptian Revolution (2011):

By contrast, here is the concept map of the dynamic of political repression vis-a-vis democracy activists in the pre-social media Mubarak era:

Concept map of Russian interference in the US Political System 2014-present:


PDS / April Update


I initially waited to construct the new LED matrix until I had a grip on the power requirements. My old board was 2240 LEDs running from a 5V 70A 350W power supply, although it just good enough (I know this because when I run the whole thing at full white, it flickers). However, even as I type this I become unsure of my knowledge — Eric Rosenthal told me that when white LEDs turn yellow that means too much current. Overall, my deficiencies in understanding electricity is something that I wished to address, and measuring power requirements for the new board was a means of doing so.

I started out by scheduled a meeting with Eric Rosenthal, power guru of ITP. He recommended that I first find the “peak instantaneous  voltage” of my old LED board by connecting a 1 OHM resistor and using Ohm’s Law to calculate exactly what is the amperage that I require. The different patterns that I displayed drew different amounts of current, depending on how many LEDs were on and what colour the LEDS were.

However I didn’t really do a good job at measuring the current this way. The first 1OHM resistor I used was a tiny one, and when I made the circuit in series, nothing happened. I used other resistors and mostly, nothing happened on the board since there was not enough current. One resistor smoked and I suspect I blew other resistors also.

Later, after consulting with Jeff Feddersen, I learned that different resistors had different Wattage. I would need a much heartier resistor to do what I needed. However, even using 5W and 10W 1OHM resistors in the ITP shop, I still could not calculate what I needed. Time kept ticking and I just wanted to start making the damn thing.

So I decided that if my current power supply worked for a 2240-pixel LED matrix, it would definitely be enough to work on a 1850 and 1900-pixel LED matrix, since I decided to do it in two modules.


I put up the metal L brackets according to plan and the paper was not as tight as I wanted. The thin part of the L bracket could be the culprit. Next steps on this will be to use nails with big heads to increase surface area that sandwiches the paper.


From previous experience I know that each LED strip needs its own connection to the power supply, rather than running the power through the entire strip (which does not do the job). However when I was using a stiff piece of plywood to mount the LED strips to, I could just staple the 12 AWG wire to the board and everything wouldn’t move, including the solder points.

But since I am using a flexible piece of vinyl, I face the challenge of needing a stiff 12 AWG wire soldered to each LED strip, however it needs to be attached to the flexible vinyl. Something stiff attached to something flexible. I consulted Ben Light on this. After the consultation and two hours of deep visualization while sitting on a display rack in Home Depot, I decided upon a low tech solution: I would staple a piece of plywood to the back of the vinyl with heavy-duty staples. And I would staple the 12 AWG to it too. Just like on the old board.