Category Archives: Master’s Research

A Study in Hysteria – Process & Art Show

Working with the Digital Components

The Arduino Uno R3 was soldered and tested (fig. 1) with the Proto Shield, which was hooked up to the stackable components (fig. 2). These components included an Electrit Microphone Amplifier, an analog LED strip, and a mini metal speaker. We tested the Microphone with a script that printed it’s output to a dialog window. The challenge was, that it was measuring the sound levels much faster than anticipated, at an iteration of hundreths of a second, as opposed to a range of 1 to 3 seconds. With some adjustments to the code and a little math, the microphone was measuring the sound in the room for 1 second, averaging that with decibel range and outputting this average to a print window.

Now that the Electrit Microphone Amplifier was measuring the sound at a reasonable interval,  there was another problem. As it turned out, the voltage of the Arduino uno was not enough to power my LEDs without the use of transistors. so another order was placed and shipped overnight. The new transistors were then soldered to the board and tested with the LEDs, which worked beautifully. The the code could be altered with hexadecimal, producing the blue, pink, and red flashes for the heartbeat loop. Being somewhat dissatisfied with the default 8-bit tones of the Arduino, I sought out a heartbeat sound effect to use instead. Upon locating a high-quality heartbeat effect, I edited the clips down in Adobe Audition, timing them to three different timing signatures: a calm beat, an agitated beat, and a panic beat. (fig. 3)


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A Study in Hysteria – Progress Update

Interactive Embroidery with Light & Sound – Components Are Working!

The Arduino Uno R3 is soldered and functioning (fig. 1), along with the Proto Shield which will be used for the stackable components (fig. 2). After several test commands, the the Electrit Microphone Amplifier began reacting to sound. (Video 1) The LEDs have been tested, but require more power to be controlled by the Arduino, so transistors are on the way. I thought of using the 8bit sounds as my heartbeat, but found them a bit harsh. It was really entertaining playing around with the melody function (Video 2). Also, in a first-ever Arduino serenade, here’s a rendition of “Always,” courtesy of Andrew’s programming (Video 3).

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Projection Map Infographic

Zero-Footprint House Projection Mapped Info-graphic Display

Over in the technology and geomatics wood shop in Wilson Wallis, I worked with Bill Hemphill to cut out the different components of my projection map stage. The vector line image I created in illustrator from my drawing (fig. 1) were imported into AutoCad. I cut two sheets (fig. 2 & 3 and Video 1) one of the house and the system components, and another of the exterior wall structure. These two fourth inch wooden layers will be stacked and glued together (fig. 4) to create a 3-dimensional stage to project my house info-graphic videos on.

I brought the same vector drawing that I cut the stage with into Photoshop and painted it with a Wacom Cintiq to mimic a watercolor architectural rendering style. Each layer of this colored illustration was imported into After Effects (fig. 5) and I have begun creating a series of 3 animations that will depict how the house functions in conjunction with its surroundings. (fig. 6 and Video 2)

Video 1

Video 2

Zero-Footprint House Illustration

Higher resolution images below.

  1. Sketch / Linework Traced
  2. Ground / Setting Inked
  3. House Exterior Inked
  4. Systems Inked




Interactive Embroidery with Light & Sound

“A Study in Hysteria”

In this project I will be manipulating LEDs with sound and playing with the translucence of fabric with lighting. The content addresses violence inflicted upon southern women, who are often idealized and subjugated.

The heart by default will loop a calm pulse-rate, with the LED lights flashing blue at intervals with an accompanying heartbeat sound effect. A programmed event listener will measure the sound in the gallery space. Once the threshold of the sound tolerance is reached, or when the piece becomes startled, a panic reaction is triggered. The heartbeat will increase in volume, shifting from blue to red, beating and flashing at a frantic pace to simulate an over-reactive vigilance response found in abuse victims.

Downtown JC Interactive Public Art Project

Under the direction of Cher Cornett, the fall ’16 ETSU Experimental Media class is embarking on an exciting project for the Johnson City Public Art Committee. My colleagues Julie Woodburn, Laura Osteen and I will be working together on an interactive public art piece to be placed as a permanent fixture in downtown. These past weeks we have been gathering ideas, researching local history and sketching up concepts.

Our first meeting with the Johnson City Public Art Committee took place last night 9/15/16. Our initial presentation (see below) got everyone thinking about the possibilities. With an evident spirit of collaboration between the Digital Media team and JCPAC backed with the facilities necessary for production, our hope is to transform the now static space in downtown into a welcoming and comfortable public destination. Upon further discussion, the committee selected one of the two sites presented, the passageways to downtown, for us to focus on. More updates on this project soon! To follow the progress of this project visit:


“State of the Union” White House Projection Mapping Art Piece

Early last week we set out to complete our “State of the Union” stage. We decided on a sturdy 4x8ft sheet of Maple. Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, we rigged the wood sheet to the roof of Julie’s Subaru and a terrifying 10 mph trip to campus commenced with both of us half-hanging out the window to keep the board from floating off. After that misadventure, we went over to the Technology and Geomatics building here on ETSU campus with the final draft of the AutoCad compatible files (.dwg, .dxf). We sat down with professor Hemphill, (fig. 1) who was kind enough to help us arrange the components so they fit within 3 2x4ft sheets for the final laser cut. (fig. 2-4)

We then glued the stage together and painted it with a matte white paint, ideal for the projection component of the piece (fig. 5-8)


This piece was put on display in the “Rock the Ball” ETSU Art & Design exhibit, on the 4th floor in the “Extended Media” room.

Things are Never Twice The Same

As we age, we canonize and idealize our past.This book, “Things Are Never Twice The Same” is a collection and revisiting of my own personal history. There is a separation between the informative and intuitive sections of the story.

For my first round of idea finding, I revisited my grandfather’s farm, abandoned these 5 years he has been ill and now deceased, collecting artifacts of the life that was once lead in that small yellow house on a hill. I paid my grandmother Janice Kiser, now 83 years young, a visit to flip through albums and collect photos and stories. I recorded her as she expounded her recollection of the events behind each turning page.

Here are two such recordings.

I made careful note of each story with a description of each image to keep things in order. At this point I began scanning. the photos into workable digital files.

I began combining the images digitally, to test out effects and work up layouts for each of the pages. The informative portions of each page, the figures and the landscapes, were freed from their backgrounds and re-contextualized with writing. These writings are like the mantras, the spiritual portions of the visual narratives. These were inscriptions on the backs of photos written by my grandfather, Leon Kiser, pages from my great grandma Kiser’s journal, selections from my great grandfather harmon’s primitive Baptist Sweet Bird Song Book, and finally my own journal of poetry.

The compositions were unified by a patchwork quilt my great grandmother kiser made, as if she were stitching the family together. She had, by tradition, given each newly married couple in the family a patchwork quilt. Below, you see her presenting my parents with their quilt.


Once final compositions were completed, I several copies of them at half scale to experiment with obscuring the text. I wished In order to separate the informative (photographic) portions of the compositions from the poetic (written) portions of the pages, I began experimenting with color halftones. I printed the shapes of the text I wanted to obscure on transfer film, carefully trimming them to size. With a diluted alcohol solution brushed on the half-tone transfer shapes, I placed them in the areas of text I wish to obscure. With a couple of failed attempts, I learned that I needed to adjust the value of my lettering to a similar chroma as the range of my half-tone orange.

I tested my half-tone effect by looking through a photo-gel that I had acquired from a local theater, which later was glued onto the magnifying glass that became the viewfinder of the book.


Type Design: 3D Print Letterpress (Part 3)

After aforementioned trials and tribulations due to the overuse of the Makerbot 3D printer, I sought out another resource to make my letter prints. Bob Oglesby, owner of Host Engineering in Jonesborough, Tennessee was kind enough to print them via his modeling machine. To save on materials cost, I extruded the models to .25in instead of type-height which would be .918in. I was very pleased with the resolution of the print quality(fig. 1.)


fig. 1

During the printing process there were several challenges. I had at first planned to also print my furniture in order to set my typeface onto the block like traditional letterpress. Due to time constraints, strips of mat board were cut and used as leading between lines and also along side the lines of type as rails (fig. 2.) The tracking of the typeface I meticulously built into the models so the letters were set flush to one another (fig. 3). Since only one copy of each letter form was printed, words and phrases with multiples had to go through the press several times. For example, the word “HONEY” (fig. 4) went through the press 2 times.

The letters themselves were slippery so the ink had to be thick and sticky. A glossy, red, rubber-based ink (fig. 5) adhered to the faces of the type well (fig. 6 & 7), it also made a wonderful “shick” sound when rolled on. (fig. 8)

The accompanying artwork are vintage woodcut illustrations which I digitally collaged and printed on Strathmore off white drawing paper. The lyrics used are from my original song “Free Running Soul.” 5 prints in total were produced, 4 illustrative posters and one specimen sheet. (fig. 9 & 10)


fig. 9


fig. 10

This poster series was displayed in the graduate show “New Media Collective” in the Digital Media center on East Tennessee State University campus on Friday, December 11th, 2015.

Type Design: 3D Print Letterpress (Part 2)

With the Makerbot Z18 on ETSU Campus, several test prints  of letters at different sizes were created. The first print was fairly successful, (fig. 1) printed 2 inches high at an an extrusion depth of 1/4 of an inch. The block was sturdy and had a consistent ribbed texture with the exception of the turns at the edges, which seemed to mound up a bit. The face of the type was much rougher than I expected, but with a little sanding would be usable.


fig. 1

My second test print was a “B” at a larger scale and a smaller extrusion depth (about .125 inches) than that of the “A” which achieved a much smoother face, so I converted the rest of my models to accommodate this larger, thinner format.  Unfortunately, a factor which I had not expected is the demand on print time nearing the end of the semester.  The third round of  prints, shown in comparison to the red “B” below, were much less successful (fig. 2). The printer head seemed misaligned and as time passed, the prints grew worse.


fig. 2

When I returned to do some trouble-shooting with the Makerbot and do a round of final prints, I found that the printer was not extruding filament at all. After further investigation I saw the cleaning brush was clogged with different color filament and the printer head itself was caked in plastic. This suggested that it was left running too long and it overheated, clogging the head completely. I changed out the filaments, heated and cleaned the print head and ran a few tests to no avail.

A new solution was needed. I gained access to a prototype machine in grey, Tennessee at a company called VinTec, courtesy of Bob Oglesby at Host Engineering (he’s my dad’s boss!) I converted my Maya Bianry Files to STLs, which are compatible with this machine and I am off to make some prints!