I started researching round paper cup templates and how to tutorials. All the how to videos were origami based paper cups, so they weren’t really round cups. However I did find several templates like the one below, so I printed one out and tried making the cup.
I used a silver metallic poster for the cup model, because we wanted the big cups to be reflective, so they can index the distortion of gravity. Because the poster was a thicker stock, it was hard to glue it together with a glue stick. However the super glue was able to close it, even thought it was slippery and messy. Because of that, the cup wasn’t exactly round, and it didn’t look good enough to be used as a model for the final one. So I thought if we had a structure that was already round, and we can then just place the metallic poster on top, it would solve the roundness of the cup. The largest cup I could find were the big popcorn buckets.
The back up idea I generated was a combination of all our groups ideas:
- Two clock-faces facing each other
- Strings connect the second hand with minute hand, so they move at different times
- One string is red with knot
- Antenna signals moving around base making waves
- Mirrors to stand on, reflects the opposite of the installation downwards, and to act as guide for ‘stand here’.
However after we discussed our ideas as a group, we still agreed our original plan was the best because it was the most effective for the message we wanted to communicate.
We also decided to go with my idea of covering the popcorn buckets with the silver poster, because we all came across the same problem of not being able to create a strong round cup model.
While we were discussing our plan with our professors, we realized that our initial plan of using the two cups with a string attached for one way communication had many variables and potential errors in setting it up, and that it might not be as successful as we thought. Especially since we have twenty eight people interacting with the installation. The main one was that we wanted to create one way communication through the cups and strings, and it would be hard to control what is heard through the cups. Because they would be three meters apart from each other, and they would be in hearing distance of each other, and the group wouldn’t interact as much together.
So we thought of having one cup higher than the other, and attaching a tube in the middle, so that gravity will only allow the message to roll through from one side. We then divided the work between us, each of us would develop a way finding system, a code/language system, and a method of sending the message.
I then started researching different way finding systems, and created a mood board of all the images I found, and an illustration of how ours could look like:
I thought we could use morse code for the coded language of the messages, because it links back to the movie. For the method of sending the message, I thought the use of the ball we discussed in class would work well, because the silver tube that I found was big enough to allow a ball to roll through it.
When we got together as a group, we discussed our ideas, and tested out if the ball could roll through the silver tube. It even rolled through at a slight angle. Ju thought we could use a simplified version so that the audience could decode it faster, we discussed it with our professors and they agreed that it was more important for us to use a system that can be understood easily and used in eight minutes, rather than using the morse code because of the movie.
We decided to restrict the messages sent, by giving the groups five messages of affection to choose from and send to the other side. The senders will receive a different set of messages than the receivers. The messages would already be decoded, and they would only have to rip the perforated coded message, and send it through the tubes in the ball to the other side. This would save time and allow the experience to run smoother.
The discussion with the professors and group helped generate better ideas. For our final installation plan we decided on hanging four cups with two connected tubes at an angle to facilitate one way communication.
We solved the problem of the audience figuring out from the beginning, from the angles of the tubes, that it would be one way communication, by creating a complex system of tubes all around the main two tubes. This will allow the audience to think that they’ll be able to communicate with each other through the tubes. However afterwards only two groups would be able to send the messages, and the other two would only be able to decode the messages, therefore giving all the groups an experience of a one way communication.
We decided to add more details like the space poster, so that the groups can look at the installation’s details while their waiting for their message to arrive. We also decided to put spot lights on the installation and close the libraries lights, so that the atmosphere has a similar feel and look to space.
It took us a while to secure a plan, many ideas had to be scratched. I learned to let go and go with the plan that is the simplest to reduce the chances of technical difficulties and variables to guarantee success of the experience, and the delivery of the message; communication with affection through gravity.
We were able to scratch ideas through our discussions. Because the more we discussed, we thought through the ideas more, so if it had too many variables, we either found a solution or let it go. For example the idea of building a smaller tube into the main tube so that the ball could come back to the receivers, was a more complicated idea for the idea of having a slanted tube that would send back the ball if they sent it through, so we went with the simpler idea that communicated the same message. It would have also been obvious to the group that it would come back to them, so they might not even try sending it.
We then separated our work load between each other. Ju was going to develop the simple code, Faheem would develop the way finding system, and I would make develop the three space posters that would be hung on the wall, and write the messages that would be sent through the tubes.