Due: Mon, March 2, 11:59PM

For this assignment, you will continue to work with your same partner to reflect upon your current Parasite project (assignment #6) and to create another iteration of it for next week. Reflection and iteration are important skills for developing your project over time and with more depth. There are a few additional constraints we are including for this iteration: your parasite should have at least two separate air chambers that are activated using the MIDI controller; and your parasite should embody one of the two following prompts: cycles or character expression.

Reflection and Iteration: Your new iteration of your parasite project should be developed based upon your reflections on the first parasite iteration. Now that you have completed a first iteration, make time to reflect together on your first iteration. Here are some questions to prompt your review: What excites you about it? What was working very successfully? Can these elements be developed further, and how so? What is the conceptual essence of the project? Is there another, different or better, way to embody that concept in your project? What are five very different directions you could take the project? Can you build upon what you discovered in the first iteration or do you need to rethink the entire approach?

Two Separate chambers and MIDI Controller: This week you have been introduced to the pneumatic system that can be performed by a person using the MIDI controller. Similar to last week, your parasite should relate to a human being. This week it should have at least 2 different air chambers that can be performed or activated by one team member using the MIDI drum pads.

Embodied Prompts: Your parasite should include a new dimension of time and repeatability. Choose one of the two prompts below (cycles or character expression) to embody within how the parasite is activated or performed.

Cycles – Cycles are a repeatable pattern that has different phases within the cycle. Here in Pittsburgh, we experience each year as a cycle made up of four seasons that repeat and blend into one another. A person’s lifetime is also a cycle that has the potential to include going from baby to child to adult to elder to death. This cycle is one example of a life cycle that multiple creatures potentially experience (thus repeated). A conversation is also a cycle, a back and forth between two people, that one might generally repeat often throughout a day. All of these cycles are not the exact same in their repetitions and also include variation. If you choose this prompt, your team will embody the premise of a cycle with different phases that repeat. Is the parasite’s cycle independent of the host’s actions? Does it have a beginning, if so what triggers it to begin? Is the cycle fast or slow?

Character Expression – Your parasite may be a character that you would like to develop. The parasite’s character could be anthropomorphic expressions or it could be non-human. If you choose this prompt, your parasite becomes like a puppet that has expressions and reactions that you should show to us in your video. Is the host and parasite in conversation with each other? Is the host aware of the parasite’s reactions? What kinds of expressions are possible for your physical construction of your parasite? What does the parasite react to? What is the personality of your parasite? Does it have sensory organs (can it see, taste, feel touch, hear, smell, etc.)? How are those senses expressed? Remember how Z. Briggs said that breath was incredibly important as a communication of emotion – how does your parasite “breathe”?

We are expecting one parasite per pair, documented with a single blog post authored by the pair. Working in pairs will create new questions and opportunities revolving around collaboration. We would like you to work toward a mutual result, deciding together on the conceptual basis of the parasite, the specific pneumatic solutions, and the technical execution. It will make sense to divide the fabrication work as possible, but please be sure to continue developing your individual skill. It may be tempting to divide work along previous experience, but it would be more valuable individually and more exploratory to choose tasks based on inexperience and opportunities for skill development.


Each pair should please create a single short post on the course site with the following:

  1. One short video clip showing the movement of the mechanism. The video should be embedded for direct viewing.
  2. A brief paragraph outlining your explorations: intended effect, surprises, discoveries, successes.
  3. A few sentences about the collaboration: how you go about collaborating and sharing the project? What did you learn about collaborating through this assignment?


Below are the criteria we will be using to assess your assignment. As you are exploring the possibilities for this assignment, keep these criteria in your focus:

  1. Stay open and go with your discoveries. We are most interested in seeing what you discover that is engaging and is working, not simply an implementation of an idea you have predetermined. For example, you may be trying to execute a specific idea, but along the way you discover something that is much more engaging or works more smoothly than your original idea. Put aside the original plan and go with the new discovery that is actually working.
  2. Experimentation and creative exploration is more important than refinement. The purpose of this assignment is for you to use your time trying multiple experiments and ideas, rather than perfecting only a few. Your resulting experiments need to work but do not need to be highly refined. Develop your experiments enough so that they are convincing and understandable, but not so much that you get stuck in the details of perfect construction. For now, accept that you are using temporary materials to create your experiments (tape, zip ties, etc.) and that there will still be room for further refinement.
  3. Make clear documentation. Your online documentation will be how we experience many of your assignments. It is very important that your documentation clearly communicates your projects. Tips: Remove distracting items from the background; make sure your camera is in focus and your lens is clean; use a tripod or other support to stabilize your camera; if you are shooting video, orient your camera in the landscape (horizontal) format; make sure your project is well lit and without distracting shadows.