The Project

My friend, the amazing artist and spectacularly funny man Ian Moorhead had this idea about a museum about a town. A completely fictional, fake country town in Australia called Mount Renouf.

He put pen to paper and wrote several vignettes, creating the mythology of the town then amassed a number of performers to document audio narratives, record video content and be photographed. He then got a few makers in the room to bring the town to life. After that, is where I and a couple fo other champions came in. I’m looking at you Michelle Delaney and Rachel Harris

There were 10 stations in the work that involved technology in some way:

Mechanical tongue in a Jar

This was a simple arduino running a simple servo motor script to rotate the servo. The servo was housed in a plastic moulded tongue.

Raspberry Pi, connected to a motion sensor set to emit a large demented sheep’s BAAAAA noise as punters pass by.

Motion sensor set to trigger a sound

This was a very simple script, Set via cron to load at boot. Here it is:

import time
import RPi.GPIO as io
import os
io.setmode(io.BCM)

pir_pin = 22

io.setup(pir_pin, io.IN)         # activate input

while True:
    if io.input(pir_pin):
#        print("PIR ALARM!")
         playintro = os.system("aplay applause.wav")
    time.sleep(0.5)

3 audio stations connected with raspberry pi’s, housed in old telegraphic switchboards and old wooden boxes, triggered by momentary “steampunky” buttons. The hardware:

  • Raspberry pi B+
  • SD card
  • Power supply
  • 3 x 5mm - 3.5 mm jacks
  • 1 x pre amp device. I used a Behringer MA400 monitor headphone amplifier.

Software for the audio:

#!/usr/bin/env python
from time import sleep
import os
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO

GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BCM)
GPIO.setup(23, GPIO.IN)

while True:
        if ( GPIO.input(23) == False ):
                os.system("killall -9 mpg321");
                os.system('mpg321 /home/pi/dallydagging.mp3 &')
        sleep(0.3);

The devices were again, cronjobbed to run the script from boot.

1 x audio station connected to a raspberry pi and a diorama with 4 x LED lights that flash in sync with the audio story.

This is basically the same setup as the 3 other audio stations with the addition of using extra code to sync the flashing of LED lights in time with gunshots in the story. I need to document this properly later

4 x Video stations. iPads running in kiosk mode, connected to 2 x sets of headphones

  • Set a new ipad up and set the pin number to something you will remember!
  • Shell out $24.99 in the app store and download Kiosk Pro for business.
  • Now please setup guided access. how to do that
  • Now we’re going to need to configure the app. First up write up a simple html file as a placeholder for your video file and embed it.
  • We need to copy some files over to kiosk pro. Here’s how we do that
  • Now there are a few settings to change in Kiosk pro’s main settings screen. In ‘display’, turn off “show top iPad information bar”, “show address Bar” and show bottom navigation bar”
  • In Navigation settings, turn off Show Off-Domain alert.
  • In Timer settings, Change idle time limit” to be 3600 seconds.

Le iPad

14 sets of steampunked headphones, retrofitted with 3.5 mm audio jacks and connected to various audio and video stations.

Switchboard audio station

Instructions on how to troubleshoot the work are available.

You need to email heidi —- slowboil —-dot —- com for them!: