Electronic Sculpture Archive
Bruce Cannon

This site is an archive of my older interactive,  electronic and computer-controlled sculpture.  You can always find out about my latest projects via my gateway, brucecannon.com.


Click for an enlargementExplorers (1993-1995)

Power antenna, motors, computer;
approx. 36x12x12"; 15lbs ea.

Status: two available for sale, seven available for exhibition.

The Explorer sculptures are a series of light sensitive machines which model simple animal behavior, specifically the eyestalks of snails, slugs or anemonae.  Each is constructed from an automotive power antenna with a light sensor mounted on its tip and two x-y axis motors, controlled by a small industrial microcontroller programmed in the BASIC language.

Click for an enlargementExplorers respond to significant changes in light levels, which are interpreted as either viewer proximity, or night, as follows: when the room is dark, the devices are dormant, power antennae retracted.  When in the presence of sufficient light, each device extends its antenna and waves it slowly about, pausing periodically.   If a viewer casts a shadow over the tip, the device takes evasive action.

Deeper shadows or being touched may cause the piece to fully retract and stop all movement for a time.   After a few minutes, the sensor will haltingly extend again and, if undisturbed, resume its search behavior.   Though physically identical, the sculptures differ in "personality."   Each responds with more or less sensitivity to touch and light level changes, and some are more "cautious" about returning to search mode after a withdrawal.

Click for an enlargementThe pieces have been shown both individually and in clusters of from three to seven modules, on their own or in light tight spaces with an optional electronic lighting controller which slowly fades the ambient lighting up and down, creating five minute days and nights.   This installation, called Colony, creates a dormant period, with all devices retracted, a dawn in which they wake up, one by one, a period of high activity, and then a dusk in which they slow down and become dormant again.

Click for an enlargementEach Explorer needs a six foot circular open space for installation, requires bright, even lighting, and 120v power.   Colony requires a featureless, windowless space approximately 15 feet square, and a separate lighting circuit into which I can connect the controller.




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