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Parallel Practices Residency – Hacking the Enlightenment: The collaborative Automata Project

About this project

The Parallel Practices ‘Learning Through Making’ residency 2016, was devised by the Crafts Council and the Cultural Institute at King’s College, to explore innovation through pairing a craftsmaker with scientific academic (John Grayson and Robotics lecturer Dr Matthew Howard). Over a six-month period, based in the Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Science’s maker lab, maker, staff and students exchanged craft skills for robotics know how through collaborative making of an automaton.

Keywords

Enamel, Digital control

Disciplines

Automata, Metal work

Materials

Metal
Hacking the Enlightenment: The collaborative Automata Project
Photographer: J. Grayson
Split into three groups ‘Mechanism Makers’, ‘Enamel Painters’ and ‘Code Creators’, fourteen students, and two staff contributed around 75 hours to making the automata.
Collaborative Automata Making
Photographer: J. Grayson
The Mechanism Makers were shown fine metal work skills, and tasked with making a generic mechanism design. The Enamel Painters were taught enamelling, and decorated pre-made white enamel figures to their own design. These components were assembled onto a pre-made enamel base, DC electric motors fitted, then, the Code Creators ‘hacked’ the analogue automata, devising micro processor and motion sensor control systems to allow audiences to interact with the automata through non tactile means.
Hacking the Enlightenment: The collaborative Automata Project
Photographer: J. Grayson
Media: Vitreous enamel on copper; 1.2mm brass sheet, rod and tube; 2 x DC Motors; 2 x Arduino Uno microprocessors; miscellaneous electronics. Size: Length 390mm, width 120mm, height 210mm
Hacking the Enlightenment: The collaborative Automata Project (section)
Photographer: J. Grayson

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