Material Experience Design | Yasuaki Kakehi Laboratory, The University of Tokyo

Yasuaki Kakehi Laboratory


Breathing Life Into a Light

Risako Kawahima and Yasuaki Kakehi

We often use the phrase “breathing life into”. The target of this phrase can also be an artificial object like a digital device. In our work called Anima, we literally utilize our breath as an interface to activate a lighting system. In this installation, the participant creates a soap bubble using a straw. When he or she puts the bubble underneath a light socket, the light bulb starts to be activated. While the bubble lasts under the bulb, the light stays on. However, when it bursts, the light turns off just after it. Technically, this work utilizes the conductivity of soap bubble film to detect its existence on the light socket. The soap bubble works as a part of an electronic circuit in this system.

These interactions caused by the bubbles are based on an unstable, ephemeral phenomenon and look random. However, through the interactions derived from our breath and actions, we might be able to find some meaningful relations between the artificial objects and ourselves.

Technically, this installation is based on the previous research lead by Shiho Hirayama and Yasuaki Kakehi, which proposed a method to detect an existence of a soap bubble using a pair of electrodes (*). In Anima, we designed a special light bulb which combines the sensor and a lighting component in an identical device.

Direction: Yasuaki Kakehi
Device: Risako Kawashima
Research: Risako Kawashima, Shiho Hirayama and Yasuaki Kakehi

Risako Kawashima and Yasuaki Kakehi: “Anima”, Error in Progrress, Ars Electronica Festival 2018, (2018.9.6-10).

(*) 平山 詩芳,筧 康明:“Iridescent I/O: シャボン玉をスイッチとする電子デバイスの提案”,情報処理学会研究報告. EC, エンタテインメントコンピューティング 2014-EC-32(2), 1-4, (2014.5)