Unveiling the ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine at the Mill Valley Library

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Last month, we unveiled our ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine exhibit at the Mill Valley Library, and we hosted a range of events and workshops about art and technology, described below.

The ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine Exhibit

The ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine is a community-created poetic oracle that invites you to face mysterious ‘cabinets of curiosity,’ ask about your future and get words of wisdom. Open one of twenty “wonderboxes” for more inspiration: each box is a portal to another world, sparkling with lights, plays sounds, or spins surreal objects. This collaborative art project inspired by the maker culture, combinatorial poetics — and ‘Pataphysics, the “science of imaginary solutions.”

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Hundreds of visitors came to see this fun and educational combination of art and technology. They seemed to really enjoy this magical experience — and their faces tell the whole story in this photo album! We were on hand to demo the exhibit and share what we learned building it.

Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve received from our guests:
“Very magical! See your future in lights!”
“Mesmerizing and inspiring.”
“This was the coolest thing ever.”
“This is enlightening — as in ‘lighten up’ … What fun!”
“Thank you Ubu! Thank you pataphysicians!”

Based on all this positive feedback, we are now looking for a new home for the ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine, where it could be available to the public on a long-term basis. If you know a local venue that you think would be interested in hosting us in 2016, please email us at info@pataphysics.us .

We also hosted some fun educational programs this month, to complement the art exhibit. Check out the photos and videos of these uplifting events.

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Unveiling the ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine

The ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine was unveiled at the Mill Valley Library’s popular First Friday event on October 2: it was a full house, attended by hundreds of local community members, friends and neighbors. Our team at ‘Pataphysical Studios gave what a friend called “the father of all demos”, including a project history, live interactions and artist stories — and a bit of theater. We all had a blast and the audience seemed completely engaged: thanks to all of you who joined us for this memorable occasion! Check out this photo album, as well as this first video of the full 90 minute presentation, with unedited footage from just one of our video cameras (other camera angles can be found here).

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Pataphysics and the Real Alfred Jarry

On October 15, we hosted an art lecture and group discussion on french poet Alfred Jarry, the founder of ‘Pataphysics — the art movement that inspired surrealism and dadaism. Check out the photo album and this first video.

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Create Your Own Art Wonderbox Workshop

On October 17, we hosted this 2-hour workshop, to show kids ages 8-12 (and their parents) how to make their own art ‘wonderbox’ — using simple electronics to bring characters to life with sound, lights and motion. Check out this video and our photo album, as well as these workshop instructions.

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Arduino 101 Workshop

On October 24, we hosted this 3-hour workshop, to show adults and teens how to build simple interactive systems with the popular Arduino platform. They learned to make lights blink, motors move, and sounds play. Check out the photo album for this workshop, as well as this online guide.

These free events all took place at the Mill Valley Public Library:
375 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley CA 94941
415-389-4292 ext. 3
millvalleylibrary.org

This unique art project was created by ‘Pataphysical Studios, a collective of artists, engineers, teachers and students based in Mill Valley. Our group includes veterans from a wide range of organizations: Apple Computer, Bill Graham Presents, Black Rock Arts, California College of the Arts, Industrial Light and Magic, Jim Henson Company, Rex Foundation, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Whole Earth Catalog, Wikimedia Foundation and Wired Magazine.

Learn more about ‘Pataphysical Studios in this wonderful article from the Marin Independent Journal. Journalist Paul Liberatore wrote a great story about our art collective: it captures our vision for this project, and the passion we share for making art together.

For more project updates, we invite you to subscribe to our mailing list — and follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Learn more at pataphysics.us.

Thanks to all of you who came to visit and support our work!

Fabrice Florin (a.k.a. Dr. Fabio)
Howard Rheingold (a.k.a. Dr. Rindbrain)
Freddy Hahne (a.k.a. Dr. Really)
and the ‘Pataphysical Studios crew

 

This page was updated to include descriptions of all events after they were hosted, along with links to their photo albums and first videos.

Make Your Own Art Wonderbox

Workshop participants will learn how to create a Halloween Wonderbox like this one, which features a blinking skull, a spinning wheel and a talking spider, as shown in this video.

Pataphysical Studios and the Mill Valley Library invite you to join the “Make Your Own Art Wonderbox” workshop, on Saturday, October 17, 2-4 pm.

This two-hour workshop is aimed at kids ages 8-12 (and their parents, if they want to join). You don’t need any technical experience to participate, and the class is designed for up to 12 children (any number of observers are welcome). Update: this workshop is now full.

This session will show you how to create your own interactive art — like the Halloween Wonderbox shown above — using simple electronics to make characters light up, move and/or play sounds — even speak to you!

The workshop will be led by Fabrice Florin (a.k.a. Dr. Fabio), who was a multimedia pioneer at Apple Computer (and more recently for Wikipedia), and who is one of the founders of Pataphysical Studio. Other teachers are Jean Bolte (a.k.a. Dr. Figurine) who worked on the X-Ray Skull with  Dr. Canard, and her daughter Natalie Frederick (a.k.a. Dr. Canard) who built the X-Ray Skull and is our resident poet at Pataphysical Studios.

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Fabrice Florin                                                                             Natalie Frederick and Jean Bolte

We will start with a demo of a working wonderbox we created at Pataphysical Studios. We will then show our Halloween Wonderbox Video, introduce the wonderbox kits. Participants will then break up in small groups of 2-3 to work together, using these instructions. The goal is for each group to complete a first rough wonderbox by the end of the workshop.

kit1The Mill Valley Library will provide all materials, including kits from our partner KitHub, to support these goals:

  • LEDs to light up your box
  • Switches to turn them on
  • Motors to make things move
  • Sound chips to play/record audio
  • Diagrams with easy instructions

Kit2A ‘wonderbox’ is an interactive art experience that features playful characters in miniature dioramas. Characters include singing flowers, alien invaders,  X-ray skulls and  more. Each wonderbox twinkles with lights, plays sounds and/or makes characters move. These scenes take place in boxes that are 9” by 9” by 6” — the standard size used for the Pataphysical Slot Machine.

Pataphysical Studios is a community of artists, technologists, teachers and students.We are part of a growing ‘art maker movement’ that is changing creative expression, technology and education everywhere. We are inspired by ‘Pataphysics, “the science of imaginary solutions”.

We will exhibit the Pataphysical Slot Machine at the Mill Valley Public Library every weekend in October 2015. Come see see it during open hours, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 5pm!

These free events will all take place at the Mill Valley Public Library:
375 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley CA 94941
415-389-4292 ext. 3
millvalleylibrary.org

We hope you’ll join us — and learn how you too can become an ‘art maker’!

Fabrice Florin (a.k.a. Dr. Fabio)
Jean Bolte (a.k.a. Dr. Figurine)
Natalie Frederick (a.k.a. Dr. Canard)

Experience the ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine at the Mill Valley Library this October

Join us for the world premiere of the 'Pataphysical Slot Machine on October 2nd at the Mill Valley Library, as shown in this artist rendering.

Join us for the world premiere of the ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine on October 2nd at the Mill Valley Library.

We’re happy to announce that our ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine will be unveiled at the Mill Valley Library on October 2, 2015, for our first-ever public presentation and a month-long exhibit.

If you live in the Bay Area, this is a unique opportunity to experience this fun and educational combination of art and technology — as well as learn how to create your own interactive art.

We invite you to save the dates below — and subscribe to our mailing list, to be alerted when online registration opens in mid-September (we expect these events to fill up quickly).

Introducing the ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine – Friday, October 2, 7pm
Visionaries from Apple, Burning Man, ILM, the Whole Earth Catalog and the like will unveil the ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine, our poetic oracle, for the first time ever. This special presentation will include a project history, a demonstration, artists’ stories and a bit of theater.

‘Pataphysics and the Real Alfred Jarry – Thursday, October 15, 7pm
A lecture and group discussion about french poet Alfred Jarry, the founder of ‘Pataphysics: his art movement inspired surrealism and dadaism and is also known as the “science of imaginary solutions”.

Try out the Slot Machine – Open hours on Saturdays and Sundays, 1-5pm
Our art exhibit will be open every weekend in October: Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5pm, in the library’s downstairs conference room. Our team will be on hand to demo the slot machine, share what we’ve learned and show you how to build your own interactive art projects.

These free events will all take place at the Mill Valley Public Library:
375 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley CA 94941
415-389-4292 ext. 3
Online registration to these events will start in September, on their site:
millvalleylibrary.org

The ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine is a collaborative art project made possible by the maker movement — and inspired by ‘Pataphysics and many other cultural influences. Our community-created poetic oracle invites you to face mysterious ‘cabinets of curiosity,’ ask about your future and receive whimsical words of wisdom. Open one of twenty wonderboxes for more inspiration: each box sparkles with lights, plays sounds, or spins surreal objects.

This unique art project was created by ‘Pataphysical Studios, a collective of artists, engineers, teachers and students based in Mill Valley. Our group includes veterans from a wide range of organizations: Apple Computer, Bill Graham Presents, Black Rock Arts, California College of the Arts, Fandor, Industrial Light and Magic, Jim Henson Company, Rex Foundation, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Whole Earth Catalog, Wikimedia Foundation and Wired Magazine.

For project updates, we invite you to subscribe to our mailing list — and follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Learn more at pataphysics.us.

We hope to see you in October!

Fabrice Florin (a.k.a. Dr. Fabio)
Howard Rheingold (a.k.a. Dr. Rindbrain)
Freddy Hahne (a.k.a. Dr. Really)
and the ‘Pataphysical Studios crew

The Pataphysical Slot Machine

Behold The Pataphysical Slot Machine, our community-created poetic oracle.

This unique art exhibit engages people of all ages to inquire about their future and act on it. It encourages creative exploration by combining visual arts and new technology, the ‘maker spirit’ and ‘combinatorial poetics’.

Here’s a short video of the Pataphysical Slot Machine in action.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_PyKBboQVI; w=640&h=480&rel=0]

Visitors are invited to sit on the Pataphysical throne, facing three mysterious cabinets of curiosity. You can ask Ubu, our patron saint, for “instructions from the future”: he shares surreal and whimsical words of advice (e.g.: “Embrace purple sky”), which are printed on your receipt — and spoken with a thick french accent. .

For more inspiration, guests can then open one of 20 “wonderboxes”. Each box contains a different art scene: a singing flower, an alien invader, a red devil, a happy buddha or a native shaman, for example. Some of them sparkle with lights, some speak to you, others are animated robots — and an ‘olfactory clock’ tells the time with scents of cinnamon buns or blueberry pie. 

These slides show what the art exhibit looks like. To see the many ways in which people interact with the Pataphysical Slot Machine, check our photo stream on Flickr.

The art is inspired by many world cultures, the steam-punk movement — and by Alfred Jarry, founder of ‘Pataphysics, the “science of imaginary solutions.” The technology is based on Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms, networked together — and soon to be connected to the Internet. See our interactive specs.

We are a team of artists, technologists and educators based in Mill Valley, California. Our members include Fabrice Florin (@fabriceflorin), Howard Rheingold (@hrheingold), Freddy Hahne (@arewereally), Stephanie LeveneDonald DayTim Pozar, Janey Fritsche, Mark Petrakis, Jean Bolte and many other friends, family and neighbors. Meet our crew in this ‘day in the life’ video.

We work together as a ‘peer learning network’: we teach each other what we know, across all levels of expertise. To share what we’ve learned, we maintain an extensive online documentation, and sometimes host online hangouts, to show you how to build your own interactive art — like this ‘geekout’ on motors and Arduino, held by video conference last fall.

We are preparing our first public exhibits of the Pataphysical Slot Machine later this year, in two Bay Area locations where visitors will be able to interact with Ubu and friends. Even if you can’t visit in person, we invite you to create your own interactive art, wherever you are.

Collaborative art is a wonderful thing. Join the movement and start a Pataphysical group in your neighborhood. And remember to have fun with it: ‘pataphysics is the art of not taking yourself too seriously’ :)

Fire in the hole!

Video, photos and narration by Fabrice Florin. Recorded at the Rheingold Room in Mill Valley, California, in February 2014. Music by Erik Satie and others.

A ‘Pataphysical Poem

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Docteur Canard, our youngest pataphysicist, is now a regular contributor to our art club, where she is creating an interactive skull with X-ray vision. As a gift for for Docteur Fabio’s 60th birthday, she wrote this poem about why she keeps coming back. We’re so glad she’s part of our society, and thank her for inspiring us with her fresh perspective on our madcap adventure.

The Pataphysical Slot Machine
As you enter, gods and demons stare down at you.
Pataphysicists are the makers of dreams, and the future rests in their hands.
Golden question marks show the end of the unknown question.
Purple coats flash past.
The  Pataphysical Slot Machine is a place of art, laughter and imagination.
Singing flowers, the Devil, a skull with flashing eyes, the hand with the All Seeing Eye.
Always in the process, never done.
Pearl and Lulu.
Two yipping, barking explosions of joy and energy, both worth twice as much as 1,000 pearls.
UBU.
You can be anything you want to be, do anything you want to do, nothing is impossible here.
What do you want to know? UBU can see your future, and he will tell you.
Hidden away, a small miracle in the vast and troubled earth, a place of gods.

This is Really and Truly the most Fabulous place in the world, where Figurines come alive and Canards call from every corner. A place filled with Pizzazz, where the Day never ends, and Tout d’ Suite the Rind of your Brain is being Flashed with ideas you once thought impossible.The science and art of imaginary solutions.

Written for Dr. Fabio by Dr. Canard

Why, thank you kindly, Dr. Canard! We too enjoy our time together in this ‘place of gods’. We look forward to many more creative explorations with you :)