My Art & Tech Trip to San Francisco

February 28, 2019

2 minutes
582 words

Close-up of "Breakthrough": the artwork I made with my team


Table of Contents

  1. Breakthrough

    1. The Team
    2. How we built it

In January 2019, I was selected to go to San Francisco as part of a program at my school, in partnership with INSEEC U. San Francisco. The goal of this program was to bring Art into our Technical background. We had to create an artwork from scratch, then organize an exhibition to present it to the public. We were guided in this process by several professionals, some from the Tech world, some from the Art world, and some from both. We had access to a great makerspace with all the latest machines, and we had classes to learn how to use them. We also participated in a lot of activities and visits to stimulate our creativity, and to introduce us to the Silicon Valley mindset.

Promotional video recap of the program



The artwork that we did with my team was called "Breakthrough". This is how our label described it:

Breakthrough illustrates the frontier that exists when people collaborate and work together. They are differentiated by their culture, religion, education, language and personal experiences. Ideas come together as a breakthrough, a harmony of concepts through discussion. As an idea is found, it evolves and updates through time, it is constantly changing.

You can see the finished product briefly in the video above. It consisted of 4 heads, each representing a different character with a different personality. They were all connected by pulsating strips of light. Each pulse represented an attempt to communicate. When they all managed to communicate at the same time, it created a "breakthrough" and the pulse of light went to the ceiling. See here a more precise video of the light going up to the ceiling during our test phase:


The Team

I had the chance to realize this project with my friends Armand du Parc Locmaria, Bautista PiƱeiro Aramburu, and Kim Zaatar.


How we built it

We had a total budget of $100, so we went with recycled materials.

The base of the structure is made of scrap metal that we found in the workshop's waste. We cut them to size and assembled them with arc welding. This new skill (that I'm honestly quite proud of) was taught to me in one of the makerspace workshops.

Myself removing the excess metal after an amateur arc weld

The mirror that is fixed on top was bought in a reusable materials organization. The styrofoam heads, the paint, the individually addressable LED strips, the Arduino board, and the power supply and cables were purchased on Amazon. The crown on the golden head is 3D printed.

This website is still a WIP, you can find the code for it there, look at the CHANGELOG there, and report bugs or request features there.