Artduino Zagreb Workshop 2011 – An Overview

by deborah on 04/20/2011

Zagreb hosted between 31st March and 3rd April its first official Arduino workshop led by new media artist Ivan Marusic Klif and programmer&maker Igor Brkic aka hyperglitch.

The event titled ‘Artduino presents you Arduino‘, organized by propulsive framework Culture of Change (Kultura promjene) based in Student Centre, gathered about 20 people of different backgrounds, ages and interests. No different from similar events around the globe we usually peek at online.


Photo: Juraj Brecak (cc) public domain

I had a privilege to partake the workshop among 20 selected people with more than 40 entries. We all fought for our entries, I can tell you for sure. Com’on, jump with me  into the Artduino story…

The workshop had this cool DIY vibe and aura of making thingz as a weekend project, the way we see it on Makezine, Instructables or Craft. This is something the city really needed because there is a huge necessity for making, or at least triggering domestic scene that could be based on DIY world trends.


Photo: Luka Staudacher (cc) public domain

Zagreb and Croatia in general have a variety of triennial or yearly tech events, festivals & exhibitions where you can see a selection of international artworks or software based creations designed on the similar concepts. Some artworks heavily budgeted, some lo-fi created. The city also has several hack labs and NGOs’ for advocating open source culture, no matter hardware or software. What was really missing in the city till now is a thematic workshop situation.


Photo: body pixel (cc)

The workshop opened to all interested people willing to play, learn, share and exchange skills, BUT with an aim to produce an actual piece of work at the end of the ballad. It doesn’t have to be a pretentious project ready to be ‘right now exhibited at the next Transmediale or Ars Electronica’. The more pretentious and big it is, the smaller results arise. Ideas and working processes exist, the rest is only an accessory.

This workshop showed us how playful designing could produce projects that might be presented individually or to be implemented into another wider project.


Photo: body pixel (cc)

We were divided in 6 working groups according to our interests and preferences: 1) Hacking a plush toy (Juraj Brecak, Lana Bijuk and Vladimir Setka); 2) VJ section working with photocell sensors & Max/MSP (Jasmina Bator, Tomislav Gamberozic and Josip Jelaska); 3) Processing combined with Arduino – Video Installation (Luka Juras and Vana Gacina), 4) Hacking a Teddy Bear parts for light & sound installation (Bruno Blazinc, Hrvoslava Brkusic, Stella Lebos and Hrvoje Hirsl); 5) Sound project with bicycle (Hrvoje Radnic and Andro Giunio); 6) Light & Sound Instrument (Luka Staudacher and Deborah Hustic aka body pixel).

At the end of the workshop 4 works have been on display for the audience to play with, and a demonstration of the VJ section. Oh, I totally forgot to mention that all designed objects were based on Arduino Uno or Duemilanove.

Hacking a Plush Toy
by Juraj Brecak, Lana Bijuk and Vladimir Setka

Hacked Plush Toy that has three functions – the toy reacts with sound on the pressure via built-in mini speakers, light via LEDs built in the eyes of the toy and shaking hand when being squeezed.

Hacked Teddy Bear parts
by Bruno Blazinc, Hrvoslava Brkusic, Stella Lebos and Hrvoje Hirsl

Hacking talking toy’s parts – mini speaker and microphone, in order to design a box with rotating spiral, which symbolizes the concept of infinity, as well as Chiaroscuro concept in art history. The box reacts on the pressure on the cover (made of fuzzy, transparent plastic) plugging-in microphone, recording the sound, then playing the same sound and triggering light on 3 LEDs. The spiral in the centre is rotating all the time.

Sound Bike
by Hrvoje Radnic and Andro Giunio

Sound project with bicycle which is based on photocell sensor (attached to one of the spokes on the back wheel) and LED diode (attached to the chain stay tube), Arduino and wireless connector. The project is consisted of stationary part too: computer with Pure Data – Pd software for audio processing, speakers and an internet connection. The wireless connector on the bicycle is providing the connection between Arduino and the computer. When driving a bike, a cyclist is triggering the sound processed on Pure Data which could be heard on the speakers near computer, depending on the cyclist’s tempo of driving.

VJ section
Jasmina Bator, Tomislav Gamberozic and Josip Jelaska

The VJ section demonstrated the possibilities with Max / MSP software combined with photocell sensors that react on light or pressure as input and results in graphic interfaces as outputs.

Super Mario’s Music Box
by Luka Staudacher and Deborah Hustic aka body pixel

Light and Sound Instrument consisted of tool box, copper wire, Arduino, 9 LEDs, 5 photocell sensors, speakers and a dozen of handmade characters from 8bit computer games: Space Invaders, Super Mario and his mushrooms, Pacman and his ghosts. When using a huge LED for lighting one of 5 photocell sensors hidden in 5 main computer games characters, the sound is being triggered and sent as an 8bit music output to the speakers. The 8 LEDs also react according to photocell sensor (read character) which is illuminated. The best sound could be produced when using two or more light sources, such as mobile phone or lamp. The project has been made out of found trash objects, and inspired by vintage 8bit computing and DIY scene.

All presented prototypes, as well as the interactive video project based on Processing and Arduino by Luka Juras and Vana Gacina as a work in progress, need to be slightly remodeled and redesigned to be considered as completely finished projects and ready to be exhibited.

Hence, for the end of this slightly longish review I can only say: YES! We do need more Arduino tinkering in this city! And I’m hoping that the organizer of the workshop – Culture of Change will recognize the opportunity to enable a follow-up of this event by giving a space and time for fostering the project Artduino in Zagreb.

p.s. Follow the activities of the group via Vimeo Joint Group: ARTduino Zagreb Workshop 2011, Flickr Pool Artduino Zagreb, or updates on blog