SOMATAROT – Final Edition

Kimberly Lin and I decided to expand on an earlier project SOMATAROT for the final, making it an immersive installation.

Inside the SOMATAROT experience, you process your reading through the embodied oracle dance guided by mysterious holographic sybils.




You will be handed a ball chime and instructed to enter the room. You will think of your question and once completed, you shake the ball and the Sybil’s begin their welcome. When they have finished, you place the ball on the bed that activates the cards. For the winter show we’ve created a pcomp element with a pressure sensor that triggers the read in p5 via the chime ball.



Final VR Proposal

I’m creating a fantastical world that is less a linear story but more a dream experience/poem, incorporating ritual. Drawing from Rhizome theory, somatic intelligence, cellular memory and how that relates to movement/dance, effects of the absence of ritual & communal metabolizing, effects of capitalistic hierarchies on our bodies and psyches and subsequent divorce from nature.

One scene is a space surrounded by an abstracted time-lapse of mushrooms growing, with a spirit of the mushroom speaking to the user.

I’m filming 360 video over the weekend that will be of 3 people dancing. I’ve been struggling with how I want to it to end and am still exploring that through trying out different scenes, it also depends on my skill level to accomplish it. I’m also composing sounds or using pre-existing songs of mine for the piece. I’d like to connect mycelium I grew to MIDI sprout to control certain environmental aspects of the scene if I’m able to figure that out in time, but that will be secondary to the content.

April 1-12th

  • Narrowing down ideas and building different scenes/learning specific Unity skills for my final needs, re-editing many times so that my idea was feasible in the given time
  • building 3d characters for use in piece
  • editing video for use in piece
  • writing exercises for words used
  • making music for piece
  • buying materials to be used in the filming section

April 12-19th

  • filming of dance scene in 360
  • final building of all scenes
  • finalizing music and words
  • exploring MIDI further


  • in an abstract piece – leaving things open for interpretation but also having concept come through, where those lines are
  • might not have enough skills yet as needed for everything I’d like to do

Materials Connexion – Bacteria Cellulose

    • Email link
    • Image of material
    • Link to Material Connexion page
    • How does it relate to your Soft Engineering interests?
    • Soft Durometer/Flexibility/Elasticity/Other – Which properties does it have?
    • Distributors – Where can you buy it? If no distributor, how do you get in touch with manufacturer?
    • On label use?


I was drawn to this piece because it is a natural material and is tough. flexible and translucent. It is a bacteria cellulose, it feels kind of like a very thing leather but more gummy without being sticky. It’s produced as a secretion from bacteria that’s fed sugary solution in a warm bath which I find very interesting. I’ve seen mycelium made leather like material before, they could probably serve in similar ways but are pretty different in texture.

I think this would be interesting to work with for the dome given its unique form and would look beautiful with lights coming through it.  It’s important to me that it’s eco friendly.

Manufacturer / distributor info coming soon when my login gets reactive on Material Connexions.



I’m interested in exploring breathing texture where the top is the only part that inflates so decided to do a flat piece with this in mind. I poured the first layer of silicone thicker to achieve this effect. I cut out cardboard shapes in an abstract pattern and laid them on top of the first layer of silicone to achieve this.  I then sprayed the over the first layer of silicone and cardboard with nonstick spray. I then poured the 2nd layer, the places where you see the green shapes adhered and the negative space around it created an air channel. 

I left a pathway for air channel but when I cut it open I cut too deep, but it’s still able to inflate. I’m adding a photo of the silicone when I get to school.

Meditation #4 Who’s Your Baby

Expanding on “T-eye the Knot” project, Kim and I have added a feature where you receive an audio message from your future baby. You do this by choosing an MRI of a fruit that speaks most to you. Last meditation we used a natural phenomenon to predict the user’s wedding song, this week, along the line of the oracle board, we give more agency to the user via a personal selection of writing the name of their future child. The overall form is still taking shape but we see it as an interactive installation / performance.

This project is exploring different ideas of spirituality under capitalism, spiritual product-ing, modern family anxieties and how tech is increasingly mirroring & enveloping us.  Two references that speak to me in the overall theme of this project are:

This meme that I think is pro-magic but is maybe tongue in cheek saying magic/spirituality is impossible under capitalism? Or maybe they believe it’s not:


And this article by Anna Tsing at UC Santa Cruz “Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species”, basically argues that Fungus is the enemy of colonialism by way of ruining new farming methods of larger mono crops. She argues, this type of farming, expansion and oppressing created a new type of family structure developed in colonies in the Americas that were hyper-nuclear focused.

The opening paragraph:

“Domination, domestication, and love are deeply entangled.  Home is where dependencies within and among species reach their most stifling.  For all its hyped pleasure, perhaps this is not the best idea for multi-species life on earth. Consider, instead, the bounteous diversity of roadside margins.  Consider mushrooms.”

The messages from your future baby are playing with the idea that some believe that we are light beings looking for different types of experiences on earth.  Susan Neiman’s first chapter of “Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age” comes up with the ideas of shifting and different roles of children.

The user sees the 6 MRI gifs of fruits & vegetables and type in the name of their future baby, according to the 1st letter of the name it will select one of the 6 with a verbal message from the future baby.


Concept Video:

Intro with 2 segments:


Soft Robotics – Bio-Inspiration: The Axolotl


Axolotl are adorable amphibians who never transition to land because they are neotenic, or reach adulthood without metamorphosis. They are genetically very close to salamanders. They are indigenous to two lakes near Mexico City, Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco, with only the former remaining.

The Axolotls were revered as sacred beings by the Aztec.  The Aztec made the largest city in Pre-Columbian Americas named Tenochtitlan (current day Mexico City) on an island named Lake Texcoco. Like many plant and animal species, colonialism has directly effected their decline. In 1521, the Spanish drained lakes and built cities in its place. Currently there has been non-native fish added to Lake Xochimilco who are eating the Axolotl young.

The Axolotl have amazing regenerative qualities, and are able to regrow without any scarring, up to a 3rd of the heart, front brain, spine, limbs and testes. One can transplant leg and place it next to an arm and the body will adapt it. When they experience a severing, the cells in that area lose their individual characeteristics and act as stem cells and are able to regenerate accordingly, seemingly indefinitely.  They are 1000 more times resistant to cancer than any other animal and the only terrestrial animal that can regenerate. They are widely tested in labs due to this unique and powerful anatomy.


How its features could be used in technology: regeneration for burn victims, amputees and cancer patients. Scientists are trying to figure out how exactly their regeneration works and some believe one day it will be able to be used for human regeneration.

When speaking of stem cells or any technology in general, there is always a looming question of ethics and which directions it can go in. We are beings of light and light makes shadow,  anything we create will embody this duality and the infinite choices of what to do within that framework.  A technology like this could be used for healing or a more “unnatural” or disturbing direction.

In the 60’s, a scientist amputated n Axolotl head and transplanted it on the back of another Axolotl. Both heads continued to grow for 65 weeks until they died. In a far out, but not implausible sense, if the Axolotl’s regenerative abilities were understood to the extend that they could be put to use – one could create creatures with multiple heads or arms, or possibly combined species.





Meditation #3 – T-eye the Knot

For the 3rd meditation I worked with Kim Lin to make a matrimonial divination firm  “T-eye the Knot”, that provides services based on your interaction with live streaming jellyfish from Monterrey Bay Aquarium.  One feature is predicting your wedding song – one of the eery tracks NASA has made from each planet’s radio transmissions.

The participant will be wearing Pupil Labs glasses watching the live stream. According to where their eyes go the most, one of the planet songs will be selected.

We decided to go with Pupil Labs instead of doing eye tracking in p5 or another program for the physicality of it, but haven’t figured out how to work with the data yet.  In the meantime, here is the concept video:

Fungus Among Us – Final Presentation Idea

I’m interesting in creating a wearable mycelium sound trigger as a mask or wearable on another body part.  I like the aesthetic of Eric Klarenbeeks’ 3D printed Myceliumchair and would like to design it using a printer if possible.


I have a MIDISPROUT that measures the micro-electrical currents of a plant and converts it into MIDI signals and I’m interested in exploring if this could be done with a Mycelium piece. I haven’t heard of anyone using this with fungus and I was hesitant to try it with the pads because I thought it might tear the skin of the mushroom, but I’m going to investigate how to do it with less damage.

I would allow the mushrooms to grow because because I think it looks beautiful and what the mycelium wants to do naturally and I assume there is more water content in the “fruit”

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I found someone doing experiments with Makey Makey that were successful:


3D mask/wearble inspo:



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I like the idea that the fruit will continually change based on the fruit growth, given that it sprouts.




Kimberly Lin and I have been developing a deck that interprets each card with a movement. “Soma” comes from the idea of Somatic  therapy where our experiences, emotions and trauma are not only stored in our mind but throughout our body. This week we added our interpretations for the 6 cards we have recorded so far. We referenced these two books (will add author names and titles here). We recorded it through a vocal processor I have to give it a touch of cyborg & swimming in the cosmos feeling.

We wanted the videos to loop but the audio to repeat only once when the card was selected while maintaining the random function. This was executed in P5 with help from Leon.

We are still developing the concept of how we want people to engage with it and am thinking of it more as an installation with life size videos and and a physical component as opposed to a website.