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Interaction with other Artists

Ora Uzel <> invites us to run the orbs inside her 104' diameter circular wall of UV web string art


A "dance" is a choreographed light, sound and/or motion piece that stands on it's own

Flock of Orbs

by Aaron Ahearn (friend of Lee)

One orb is under remote control. The others use a flocking algorithm (boids-ish) to stay near it. What results is a controllable flock of orbs! The leader might be differentiated from the rest by color.

Car Passing By

by Oona

  • Each orb plays the sound of a car passing by... the standard "rrrrrRRRRRRRrrrrrr", one after another. IE: first orb 1 plays 1/4 of it (or maybe 1/6th... see how it sounds), then orb 2... to orb 6.
  • Initially, the orbs are out of order so that they are standing in front of the viewers in a haphazard order. IE: from left to right, orb 5, 2, 6, 4, 3, 1. This will make the car-passing noise jump around.
  • Then the orbs slowly re-arrange themselves to be in order: orb 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  • At the conclusion, the car-passing noise appears to realistically rush past the listeners/viewers.

Speaking Around

by Oona

Each orb says a single word as part of a sentence. Thus they appear to speak as a weird collective and/or speak as "a whole. IE:

  • Orb 1:We, 4:are, 2:a, 3:swarm, 5:of, 6:orbs.
  • Sounds of Nature, like a babbling brook, a howling wolf or crickets.
  • Sounds that would be out of place in that setting but completely normal at the same time and that could just be heard randomly.

Types of Choreography

Choreographed Dances and Dance Phrases

Predetermined trajectories

  • school of fish
  • ant swarm
  • bee swarm
  • flock of geese (boids)
  • dolphins and sharks
  • ballet - involve a choreographer
  • mating behavior
  • orrery - orbiting planets
  • different sized spheres with different roles- mother/child, warrior, drone, etc.
  • slime mold reproduction [1]
  • follow the leader
  • leap frog
  • Giant Pool Cue

  • spheres change appearance - light, shape

Dance with human performance

  • two people fighting to control the spheres, trying to encircle the other, with dance and music
  • person running, dancing, twirling, with the spheres augmenting the movement
  • person chased by spheres, jumps over, dive roll over them to escape
  • dance with one or more, lifting, twirling, and replacing on the ground --- is it possible/bad for the spheres to be lifted? how well do they recover from this?
  • corrida with spheres
  • spheres play tamed lion around a person with a lasso (or whistle). every time lasso sounds some spheres form a new pattern. very basic way to add human element

-- can spheres have sounds coming from them?

Human Controlled

  • stand in line for coffee
  • direct steering
  • push a button for a particular maneuver
  • one of more directly human controlled, others follow algorithmically
  • wand

Emergent - Algorithmic Choreography

  • predetermined
  • real time

autonomous behavior

  • sensors mapped to actuators
  • seek humans, solicit pedalers


Orb 1 is the Drill Sargent, Orb N is the Laggard, others are the Platoon.

The Platoon performs formation drills, e.g. single file rolling, rectangular formations, except for the Laggard who is obviously a little off. At a pause, the Laggard realizes it is out of place, and hurries to catch up; by then the Platoon has moved on to a new formation. They come to a halt, yet the Laggard is out of place. The Drill Sargent rolls to confront the Laggard, who cringes in response, and shimmies closer to its spot in the formation. When the Drill Sargent returns to the front of the Platoon, the Laggard wiggles and hoots to taunt the Sargent.

What the orbs are capable of

  • Max speed of about 60 RPM / 5.3 MPH. Forward and reverse.
  • takes about 3 seconds to accelerate from 0-5MPH. The same amount of time to decelerate.
  • Turning radius approx 4'.

  • We're guaranteed of knowing where they are +/- 2.6 meters with our GPS. We're hoping for +/- 1 meter by using tricks.
  • Each orb will have a proximity sensing system, useful to tell if humans or orbs are within a few meters and their direction. This section hasn't been totally speced out yet
  • They look really freaking cool when lit from the inside and spinning (we found that out after most people had left on 3-20-07 and played with a color changing LED, the prototype ball and Michael's metal spindle)