elevator description:
Kanchenjunga is an interactive diorama. Through a wooden porthole window, you see a physical collage of wooden mountains, bits of drawing and glowing lights all suspended in front of a screen of airplane & submarine animations.

Kanchenjunga ran continuously (unattended) for four months in the ITP gallery.

Kanchenjunga is a window to a physical world suspended in front of a screen. On screen above the mountains are airplanes, below the mountains are submarines, both created generated in Processing. Below the diorama is a series of metal toggle switches and wooden knobs inviting the user to enjoy some wiggling and toggling. Some of the switches and knobs turn lights on and off, affecting the view, revealing different parts of the landscape: layers of wooden mountains, drawings, and a critter or two. Some of the switches affect the airplane and submarine animations. The airplanes traverse the screen above the mountains, when you hit a switch, they curl up their wings and roll into little balls and twirl across screen. The submarines traverse the screen below the mountains, when a different is activated, they transform into aquatic creatures and continue their trajectory. Kanchenjunga is a travelogue diorama, a porthole for people to play with an odd little world.

Some pictures of the completed installation:

the user experience

close up

the control box

at the show

another close up

And video!

Kanchenjunga from Molly Schwartz on Vimeo.

Some pictures in process:

wooden frame & balsa mountains

decorating the show postcard with color coordinated nerds candy...

setting up the Processing sketch on screen behind the physical diorama

The control box contains an Arduino.  3 knobs on potentiometers controlling servo motors and 3 smaller toggle switches controlling on/off for analog wired lights.  The Arduino sends serial data to Processing via the 3 large toggle switches.  There’s also a recycled amber light just to show you the box is powered on… (though occasionally someone would try and push the light or twist it, expecting some action, but not everything is interactive!)

The animation in Processing:

1. Snow falling particle system.
The snow is turned on & off by the middle toggled switch, but it doesn’t disappear immediately when turned off — rather no new snow forms and the existing snow continues to fall until it disappears behind the mountains.

2. Airplanes
The airplanes transform into sky wiggle creatures and back again when the big toggle switch on the right is flipped.  Processing calls a series of still drawings to make the change, and then calls the images in reverse to revert.

3. Submarines
The subs transform into squid like sea monsters, similarly to the airplanes, controlled by the big toggle switch on the left.

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