What can your derriere tell us about cutting-edge technological frameworks?
Enter Buttchain, a “cheeky” Morph-featuring interactive installation from the Brooklyn studio Red Paper Heart. Created to help people understand the basics of blockchain as it becomes an increasingly important part of the global economy, the exhibit applies the technology to something slightly less intimidating (i.e. butts).
To bring the project to life, the Red Paper Heart team created a custom bench fitted with two Morphs under the cushion. The Morphs record each time someone takes a seat, turning the encoded signatures into an utterly unique piece of art, and adding it to ‘an immutable ledger’ inspired by the tenets of blockchain.
In Red Paper Heart’s words: “[T]he art itself is a visualization of each block. Each successive piece of art builds on the previous one, so that movements happen over time, and the pieces of art only align if put in sequence. Simply take a seat, and watch as your butt becomes the next link in a growing chain of artwork.”
How did the Red Paper Heart team land on the Morph? According to Technology Director Daniel Scheibel, “When we started researching pressure sensors to sense people sitting, we really quickly landed in the automobile industry. Unfortunately most sensors available were way over our budget. But then we found the Sensel Morph. We ordered one and it worked great. Easy to connect and work with. The data we can get from the Sensel Morph is actually a much [higher] resolution than we needed for our project, but it wasn’t quite big enough for all butts, so we decided to use 2 x Morphs next to each other.”
To bring the visualizations to life, Red Paper Heart created a C++ app with the Open-Source Framework Cinder. The app interacts with the two Morphs, takes all the data, and compresses it to the resolution used in a web-based graphics app. It then sends it via OSC to the graphics application.
Many thanks to Red Paper Heart for using the Morph to help us all understand blockchain a little bit better!
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