Making of Santuario

After working in Andean Reflections  I knew I wanted to continue working with light reflection in a kinetic installation. The unique shape and form obtain with the reflection of the paper used, make me calm, and that is how I started thinking in building a meditative installation. The key factor of this piece is that it will detect movement in the room where its located, and will turn off if there is disturbance around it.


First thing was to design how I’ll give movement to the paper. Here is a more detail link for the wheel chassis.

drawings of the wheel chassis


In order to get a nicer and dynamic reflection I needed a mechanism to play with the distance of the light source lighting the wheel where the reflective paper will be. Here is the process of making this mechanism for the lights.


The interaction of the piece was planned to only work whenever surrounded with calm. If movement detected the piece will shut down. It isn’t an ON/OFF piece, what I wanted is every 5 seconds, one  state of the piece will shut down, and every 3 seconds will pass to turn each one ON. The states are:

  • Light mechanism moving, wheel spinning and lights ON.
  • Wheel spinning and lights ON.
  • Lights ON.
  • Everything OFF.

Before Arduino, I used Processing to emulate all the states from the piece. Here you can get the code. And here is a video of the simulation.



The next step was the electronic part of the circuit. First finding the components to use. The motors I picked, specially for its size and its power, where this micro motors.  For the lights I wanted an led similar to the one in my I-phone, because it gives more detail in the reflection. After searching and also experimenting with different types, I picked this LEDs. PIR sensors were in charge to control if movement was presence near the installation, I bought this ones. One of the key characteristic of this sensor is being able to set the jumper set repeating the trigger, that way was easier for the code to read when it was active.

I used an external power supply to be able to power all the components, including the Arduino that would be the one that control the states of the piece.

Here are some pictures of the circuit design and the acid edged circuit.

Scheme. Acid edged. Route. Connected to Arduino

After trying the circuit, it was only time to adjust the PWM for the motors and the lights, in order to have the wanted speed and brightness.



Here pictures of the piece.


The piece was presented as part of an immersive experience, where one of the class was transformed in a maze.



For the audio, I used sound from, trying to have a balance within nature and meditation sounds. Some of the tracks  I used where burning woods, river, wind, raga, gregorian chants, etc. To this I added pieces of a guided meditation by Zach Coble.


Recording Zach’s guided meditation




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