Solar Energy Project (so far)

For our solar energy project, Marcha, Daniel & I are creating a solar-powered “status of Roland” program. What is that, you may ask?

Well quite simply, when we were gathering for our meeting last Saturday on the floor, Roland happened to be sitting with us and he basically offered unsolicited feedback on our ideas, to the point of discouraging hilarity. In other words, he shat on all our ideas (pardon my French).

In honour of this hilarious event, decided our program to operate like this:

  • when the solar panels reach the required power levels, it powers the MKR1000
  • Over wifi, the MKR1000 program communicates with a serve that displays an image of Roland with his thumbs up
  • when the solar panels do not reach the required power levels, the program will have Roland with his thumbs down

We will be using the shop’s Adafruit Medium 6V 2W solar panel, with its Li-Po charger.

What has been done:

  • We decided to not use a battery. Instead, we are relying on the power on/off of the board to run the program. This simplifies the circuit.
  • MKR1000 power measurements by multimeter:
    • without wifi: 20mA
    • with wifi: 120mA
    • (above calculations to be verified)
  • Solar panel when directly measured with multimeter (i.e. not through the Li-Po charger) is 5V but is unable to light an LED.

A Tangent that I Spent A Long Time On

  • I spent a lot of time on the question “how long can a 9V 200 mAh battery power a 3.3V 200mA board?” I couldn’t compute this.

Problem to be overcome:

  • Due to a combination of scheduling problems (most of us are available at times where we don’t have much light) as well as weather patterns (cloudy days, snowy days) we have not been able to experiment with the solar panel during times of ample daylight and thus our experimentation with the solar panel has been limited.
  • As a result we have not been able to get the MKR1000 running using just the sun.
  • We have not even been able to get an accurate reading of the solar panels Voltage or Current with direct sunlight
  • Daniel has set up the server through his knowledge of servers through his Networked Interactions class (thanks Daniel)

Next Steps

  • Next steps is:
    • come to ITP bright and early and take reading of solar panel with direct sunlight
    • build circuit to supply necessary voltage to MKR1000 without frying it (may have to use voltage regulator, given it’s operating capacity is 3.3V)
    • come in bright and early again and test the circuit in real time with real sunlight.



Topic of Interest

Assignment (individuals): Decide which of the elements we’ve listed so far (driving forces, current conditions, predetermined elements, trends, uncertainties) is of most interest to you in answering our question and collect as much data as you can around this topic to support in-depth research. Define what you know about the topic and how you know it. Summarize it in a succinct and accessible way to convince the class that it bears further investigation.

[See jumbled notes below]


  • Modernity, post-modernity, meta-modernity: the philosophical underbelly of the technological and information age.
  • Nihilism, Ideological Possession, De-humanization, Polarization vs Wholeness, Unity,
  • Nihalism IS polarization, as nihilism’s other half is ideological possession, they occur in pairs. The only cure is the center: the truth of the individual heart expressed in the outer world.

Evidence of neurosis manifested in desperate violence

How is collective neurosis/nihilism manifested empirically?

-mass shootings, suicides, addictions:

Possible Questions

Question: in the context of the 20th Century history of modernism and post-modernism how is the current age (meta-modernism, let’s call it for now) and how will it affect the collective human psyche?

Question: If television is a medium that favoured totalitarian/authoritarian system of governments, then certain technologies are predisposed to aid certain ideological constructs better than others. Does emerging technologies that will dominate the 21st century help or hinder any system of political/socio/spiritual thought? i.e. What is the implication of  youtube on the collective human psyche? i.e. diversity in YouTube programming: Logan Paul versus Jordan Peterson, is this the same as diversity in TV programming? Fox News vs PBS?

Question: modernism to post-modernism then to what?





Question: what is the ideological map of our current age and how did it map to outdated, existing and emerging technologies?

Question: Modernism, Postmodernism and then what? Hypermodernism, Meta-modernism and examining the current state of what we are in, and what informs the ideological sub-structure of the emergence of humanity-changing technology (including GAFA companies and other large counterparts in China and other leading tech countries).

Question: what is the relation between dominant ideologies of the day and the technologies of the time. Does technology inform ideology or do ideologies inform technology? (Probably a bit of both). Television, for instance, was described as the best tool for totalitarian and authoritarian governments because of it’s one-way nature. What kind of ideology informs our current exponentially developing 21st century technology and vice versa?

XY plotter

Our group (Tony Cheungtao Chan & I) was assigned to make our XY plotter into an XY gluestick plotter. Most notable was the movement of the whole body of the XY plotter revolving around the stuck gluestick.

The kit we used to make this was the XY-Plotter from Mdraw (now since discontinued from that company). It was great as a first-time exersize to see all its component parts!

Pros of the set up:

-very linear, relatively straightforward to assemble

-smooth XY motion.


-instructions featured multiple online versions that, at times, did not match up with the hardware and was at times confusing. I got the feeling the company didn’t spend the extra 10% of energy to iron out all the details at the end.

-pen is limited in its movement and reliability.

-we had problems with the movement of the plotter that stemmed from a combination of a little warping of the metal bar and un-powering of the stepper motors. I think the conclusion was that the driver is insufficient.


Future Scenarios: Polarization Data

For Week 3 discussion, our topic ended up being the current condition of political polarization in America. This polarization is manifested in several ongoing national debates of which we isolated three: climate change, gender issues (i.e. pay gap, etc), gun control — where people on the left and right of the ideological spectrum have had their views diverge over the past 20 years.

Graphic to show Gallup’s evidence of increased polarization by political identification:

Growing polarization as expressed through opinions of key issues:

Polarization as expressed in people’s confidence in major US institutions

PDS – Vectorsworks and New Lightworks

Immediate goals for PSD class on 14 Feb

Learn basic usage of vectorworks – make new lightwork interation on vectorworks

New Light Works:

  • will explore the use of aperture with LEDs
  • will involve three layers: bed of LEDs, aperture layer, projection surface
  • bed of LEDs will be for multiple project uses (including my XYZ project) so it will be made on flexible, transparent material. Probably vinyl.
  • aperture layer to be simple: black tape on clear plastic: probably vinyl.
  • projection surface will be X material, which has already been purchased.

To buy:

  • roll of vinyl

To design:

  • framework which holds all three elements

Plan, Goal, Vision, Dream


[immediate] PLAN (2-3 week timeframe): 

  • to build next light investigation tool (following the findings of my Pcomp final)
  • to experiment with this tool and then… wait for further instruction

GOAL (for project development studio – 3 month timeframe):

  • to continue my investigation into image creation with light using concepts developed during PComp and before ITP.
  • to have three or four good works to approach galleries by the end of the PDS
  • to have a better understanding of light’s properties through investigating it
  • to advance my understanding of of light as an artistic medium

VISION (1 timeframe): 

  • make 2018 my first run at galleries in the spring-time
  • make mistakes and errors and adjust my approaches in 2019 and 2020. (2020 is my final year I can be in NYC under my current international student visa).
  • make a name for myself with my light works
  • to make works and breakthroughs that surprise even me
  • to ride the current wave I am riding until its very end

DREAM (3-8 year timeframe):

  • to wake up every day and do what I want to do
  • to successfully transitions to a career as a artist.
  • to remain true to my vision without being a fool
  • to benefit humanity in some way
  • to position myself to be able to start a family

Project Development Studio – Lightworks: Past, Present & Future

Plan, Goal, Vision, Dream 

For the project development class with Danny Rozin, I will continue with my light work. Danny was my instructor for last semester’s Introduction to Physical Computation, and it is in that class that I heavily developed a new direction for my light work. I intend to use the project development studio to continue this line of work.

Currently my light work exists in two main directions.

(1) Light Paintings: The Bushwick Lightbox

The first direction is the light painting: an LED matrix projects on to a projective surface and forms images depending on the colour pattern that I program with the Arduino. I have worked on this first with a 100 pixel board I built in September 2016 and developed until January 2017, at which point I build a much larger, 2240 LED pixel board that could produce images of greater complexity. I could produce abstract images and paint directly with light: I could creates form using the same approach as oil painters: using blocks of colour to suggest form.

Over 2017, leading up to start of ITP I worked on abstract forms and experimented with different kinds of patterns. It created all sorts of patterns, both static and moving.

An example of a moving pattern:

A major breakthrough for me in this particular line of work occured in November 2017, when I finally was able to complete a figurative work on the lightbox, entitle Hommage to Rembrandt.

(2) The Lightcube: Light sculpture

PComp last semester was an occasion to develop my work in a new direction. Early on when I had just constructed the light board, I had no idea how to program it. (This was before I knew about using matrices). So I set the whole thing to two colours and hung a paper over it’s front, just to get a sense of it’s scale. To my surprise, the light refraction around the doubled piece of paper created a strikingly beautiful, luminous image.

While the blue of the LEDs were all one colour, multiple shades of colour showed up on the paper. This told me that the light of the LED interacted with objects between itself and the projective surface, including curving around objects. (Light refraction?)

This gave me the idea of using more opaque, obscuring materials to produce different light/darkness effects on the projective surface. However because it would involve motors and a degree of control of which I had no expertise, I did not learn how to bring this ideas to life until the PComp final in Nov-Dec 2017.

I created a lightcube (for lack of a better word) that did not create light images in the same way of the light painting, but rather relied on objects in between the light source and the projective surface to cast shadows and create images in this way. I arranged three blinds in between the LEDs and surface which were controlled by servo motors and created different patterns of light.

The patterns were noticeably different than the light paintings. They were more pronounced: the lights were lighter and the darks were darker. The “edges” of the light forms were more defined.

Getting the design and structure right took up the majority of time leading up to the ITP Winter Show in December 2017. The technical details occupied so much time that I didn’t get a real chance to work on the art of the light itself until the winter break.

Over the break, I truly investigated the image making potentials of the box and found that it was great in volumizing light. It really displayed what James Turrell refers to as the “thingness of light”.

Given that this light cube has become a three dimensional work, it could be termed “light sculpture” rather than the 2d light paintings. I have therefore begun to think about this line of work more in sculptural terms.

Going Forward

At the present moment, both areas of light-work and research remain ongoing. I have my work cut out for me on both fronts.

My priorities starting this semester are as follows:

On light sculpture:

  • constructing a new light sculpture to explore image creations.
  • right now, I see this line of work as a tool for exploring creation of images as much as I consider it an expressive work of art
  • continuing to creating images on the lightcube version 1.
  • new tool for exploration will be constructed around the following concept – investigating creating images with LEDs through one opening at different angles

On light painting:

  • I applied for a 3-month residency at, and proposed to create a gigantic 8×8 ft light painting for their main gallery space.
  • If I get the residency, I’ll think about use this project development studio, in part, to design how, technically, I can achieve this ambitious size light painting.
  • I would possibly blend the light painting with the light sculpture in some way