Bill Gorcica

Rowing through the Subconscious

An interactive installation with user-controlled animations to explore the subconscious by physically rowing “through” it

I plan to build a sculptural rowboat which has oars embedded with sensors to register oar stroke movement. If oars make contact with the ground plane (representing water) and are moving, the action will trigger changes in a set of two animations projected on the walls behind and in front of the rower. The act of rowing towards an obscure and distant symbol on screen will bring it closer and yield clarity. As a person rows “through” the animation, the symbol will pass to the opposite screen, transformed in some way and eventually disappear.

The sculptural rowboat will have jingling metal plates loosely attached to it with drawings mounted on them. These would be of symbols that will pass through the “water” projections. The oars will be embedded with potentiometers (analog sensors) that register the angle of rotation and rate of movement. This data will pass through an Arduino microcomputer to Flash via USB port using a Serial proxy. The transmitted readings will control the scale and timing of the visual symbols that appear in the “water”.

The two video projections will be of Flash animations that show abstracted water imagery. The loops will contain mysterious, hand-drawn symbols which materialize on screen. The nature of the symbols will be broad in scope, with a focus on building associative pairs.

I have been creating kinetic sculptural works for five years, the first of which was a mini-golf ice-fishing house with moving fish. Oftentimes, my work uses themes of recreational activities to communicate ideas about mediated nature. Last year I began exploring connections between kinetic sculpture and physical computing. My most recent work entitled “Floating Drawings” is an interactive sculpture/video projection which uses embedded sensors to control animations.

With background in drawing, sculpture, video and digital arts, together with a bachelor’s degree in science, I believe that I am in a fine position to make this project a reality. Fortunately, I have colleagues in computer science and electrical engineering who are willing to provide consultation if necessary. With grant support, I will be able to extend my creative work into a fully-realized large-scale multimedia installation using physical computing methods which will enable greater user interaction than anything I have done before through the most current technology.