[62-362] Activating the Body | Project 1: Gates | Fall 2019 | Scarlet Tong

Users enter a dimly lit space with the goal to light up cylindrical paper lamps by matching the right wires together. Each wire is paired by having the same material on each end. Music could be activated if the user switches the correct lamp on and off quickly as a bonus feature.

The piece aims to stimulate the design process: 1) the designer enters a new problem space and begins to search for answers blindly. 2) Through intuition, the designer generates possible solutions that may or may not be fruitful to the design. 3) Further down the process the goal becomes clearer and refining the design becomes easier, reflected by the increase in light to identify the correct wires to pair together.

Music samples used in the project are made by students from Exploded Ensemble class.


Final installation

Organization helps with transportation

The organization helps with transportation and storage

Closeup on one module of the project Set of three lamps with one control tower and showing different materials used for plug ends

GIF showing how the installation works



As it was my first time working with a breadboard and anything circuit related, it was intimidating to begin to think about how to realize the logic chips into the project. Under many guidance and help sessions, it is gratifying to see the results and things I learned along the way to realize the project. The messiness from tangled wires resembles how I felt towards the end of the project as if I could begin to piece out some answers and navigate myself through the technical and logic-driven aspects of my own project. The fabrication aspect of the project was easier compared to the technical circuitry as it is familiar grounds for me. With the amount of wire and length, they are things got messy very quickly, thus an organization system of zip lock bags are used to help with transportation and storage of the project.


Assembling lamp bases

Assembling lamp bases

Close up on acrylic control unit

Close up on acrylic control tower

Close up showing velum attached to wood base

Attaching velum to wooden bases

Fabricated paper lamps and acrylic control towers

Assembly of all fabricated lamps and control units

Wires and Circuitry