Our primary objective with this prototype was to explore the use of shadows in the suitcase.

The prototype features pairs of laser-cut “shadow-puppet” ballroom dancers which spin around on the back set of motors. As they dance, a pair of spotlights angle back and forth, casting varied shadows onto the screen behind them.

Shadow puppet figure designs


We encountered a number of complications during the performance test that are evident in the video. The most obvious was we needed to lift testbed out of the case so that Annie could physically hold the CNC driver in place, as it seemed the connection had gotten loose. We managed to achieve a functional setup using stacks of board games—ironically, including Jenga—from the IDeATe lounge.

The Soraa PAR16 bulbs we used as spotlights also turned out to be a bit too large and bright for our needs, so we held them outside the case for the performance, rather than mounting them on the front set of motors inside.

Given these complications, we are thoroughly grateful to have a reasonable approximation of our intended result.


We feel that this experiment was successful in demonstrating the use of shadows as a viable option to create interesting visual results in the suitcase.

The performance itself currently appears somewhat unstructured, and so an immediate way this test could be developed further would be through a more deliberate rotation of the motors to better match the visual narrative of dancing. Additionally, light sensors could be used to dynamically adjust the performance, adding a degree of interactivity to the live demonstration.