A series of lo-fi handmade electronic devices to entertain the solo walker while physical distancing requirements are in place.
3VTV presents a short, small-scale, visual spectacle for people who enjoy serendipitous media art interventions off the beaten track. Powered by 3Volt microcontrollers each piece presents a work of generative visual art elevated by a custom light composition.
When the country moved into level 4 and my daily life shrunk to my 13” laptop screen, my afternoon exploratory walks around the town belt turned out to be my favourite form of escapism. With so many people being stuck at home, network traffic soaring to unprecedented heights, people having more time than ever to consume media, where do I see a future for the media arts? Perhaps away from the computer screen, ideally offline, public but intimate, and in line with physical distancing requirements.
With these parameters in mind I wanted to craft a series of small scale creative works that could fill the gap left by temporarily closed galleries, cinemas, art and music venues, if only for a minute or two. I imagined an artwork that could be encountered by walkers and draw them into a mesmerising composition of lights and visuals. The two pieces presented here were designed to contrast with the natural environment, sitting almost uncomfortably in their surroundings, luring a spectator to approach and investigate the beckoning lights. Upon closer inspection, what resembles a small polygonal television screen, exhibits printed computer graphics that reveal layers of alternating patterns with a composition of pulsing and dancing coloured lights, uniquely programmed for each set of visuals. The pieces contain an upcycled glass jar filled with a coloured print of generative computer graphics I coded during lockdown and a microcontroller running on 3 Volts, directing the array of LEDs.
During the first install, an early evening under level 2, I placed the two pieces on a hillside with Newtown’s suburbian lights as a backdrop. Future iterations and installations in the future will most likely happen around dusk somewhere slightly off the beaten track.
Birgit Bachler (Austria/Aotearoa) is a media artist, researcher and part-time noise-maker. Curious about how contemporary technology manipulates human and non-human connections she crafts experimental networks, often combining new and obsolete media with custom-built hardware and software. You can see more of her work on her website.