Since the end of 2012, all the key elements of the project have evolved considerably.
Key Elements of the project are:
- The material being used (the substrate)
- The machine / robot process
- The interactive aspect of the project.
In summary the idea at the end of last year was to construct a landscape of cubes using a walking robot which extruded a gel in the form of the cube. After a period of time seeds within the cube would germinate and the cube form would dissolve into a chaos of green.
- I’ve played with colour through the colour of the seeds and the sprouts, and also through pigment in the substrate. Grass seed is the only seed which I am now using because of its uniformity and visual effect.
- I’ve abandoned the cubic form in place of a spiraling hollow tube shape, the height and colouring of which is determined dynamically by the program.
- The mechanical aspect of the project has become invisible (as was the original idea). There are two parts to the device now instead of one – the ‘print head’ which is concealed within the spiraling tubes, and the rest which is under the hollow platform on which the entire piece now takes place.
- The entire project takes place on a raised hollow platform. The platform contains enough substrate for a week long exhibition of tube building, as well as the mechanical parts which create the towering tubes. Seeds are pre-mixed with the starch gel.
- The programming behind the scenes now has a much simpler task of simply choosing which hole to use as the starting point of each tower, and how much of which pigment to add to each layer of the tower.It decides these things based on processing data received from sensors based in the surrounding environment.
The fact that there is now a platform which contains the entire substrate reservoir, and the mechanical parts of the exhibit is a huge concept change since it brings the entire piece indoors, and puts the whole project back on track with an initial minifesto idea which was to conceal all technological aspects of the exhibit.
This new approach to the machine is alot more practical too. It means that instead of a mobile ‘print-head’ which extrudes the substrate top-down, the forms are now produced from the bottom up. Holes within the platform are used to release the substrate via a spiraling ‘print-head’ that gradually rises as each donut-shaped layer dries.
The reservoir of substrate can be concealed underneath the platform. The machine no longer needs to move from place to place since the location of the hole now dictates where a tower is built, and also where the substrate is moved from.