A while ago while having a layover in New York I took advantage of a few free hours and visited the famous and one of a kind hackerspace NYC Resistor. Although the time and day were not officially indicating a welcoming status I managed to somehow hack my way into the inspiring community of New York creators of all sorts. I still remember the DIY popcorn machine and other educational and musical inventions of Ranjit who has not only warmly welcomed me but became my inspiration. As my time was limited and the spatial proximity quite tempting after a few great chats I was headed to one other open laboratory, Genspace, the biolab. As I was planning my trajectories I overheard someone going in that direction and that is how I met Andy Cavatorta, the guru of musical robotics and craftsmanship and a collector of the most imaginary looking bicycles. Andy introduced me into his universe of singing glasses, ghost piano players and magic projects that represented the most astonishing beauty that can be found in the disciplines of science, engineering and art. His sense of perfection, patience and devotion were truly remarkable and long after my lucky New York layover I would find myself dwelling on that rich and creative universe of Andy.
Andy’s studio is located in the the Metropolitan Exchange Bank building the same building of Genspace Biolab and home to many other initiatives, companies and most astonishing creative designers, engineers, scientists and artists. The top floor of the building is called Dark Matter Manufacturing, here is a little sneak peak into it from BBC.
Not too long after my random and magical discovery I relocated to New York for the duration of the summer to work with Andy. One of the first incredible experiences was the installation of Dervishes. I have seen videos of this project but these documentaries are nothing compared to the real experience. After many long hours and careful study of very precise and beautiful engineering the moment of the test sounded like a reward from heaven. Here are some first memories of meeting visiting engineer from Austria, Tobi, the apple watch testing:) horny bike, and some first tasks:
Testing the dervishes after a long day of hard work and ohs and wows.
The other endeavour with a very strict timeframe was a large physical riddle fabrication for Goldman Sachs’ Midnight Madness event, an all-night, citywide, scavenger hunt. This project called Midnight Sun sequencer consisted of 12 rays (columns in a sequencer) with musical notes, 12 pitches high and low and 144 12V lightbulb sockets. Each ray was using Rasberry Pi and was networked with other boards through ethernet. Notes could be manipulated with a controller at the end of each ray and the size of the construction was of 30ft diameter! All the rays were tapered by 10 degrees. Here are some pictures of the process:
Finally the results! It did not take long for the participants to engage and enjoy the riddle
One great video that gives the sense of the Midnight Sun Sequence’s Wall Street intellects.
A snippet of another project and many fun times and celebrations