(TEMPLATE) Project 1: The Lotus Bloom (interactive drawing)

copyright of photo to Robyn Nola

Hello everyone. Boys and Girls, Cats and Squirrels. On this page i will be documenting the results of my first interactive electronic arts project titled “the lotus blossom”.

lotus blossom patcher

The primary focus of the project was to create an interactive piece of artwork that though drawn with graphite could function as an interactive electronic controller which controls various sound and visual digital media.

Sorry for poor quality. Encoder was giving me grief so I dumbed the quality down.

My initial inspiration for this project was drawn from the memories i had as a child of using origami fortune tellers (also sometimes known as cuttie catchers).


When I was young it was sort of a hobby of mine to make these and share them among my friends. Though the fortune were simply answers to questions (yes no maybe try again), and the results could be repeated by memory alone, we still used to pretend that the paper craft was some mystical divination device and would wholeheartedly go a long with what they predicted (within reason of course).

I was therefore attempting to recreate that mystique by turning a simple paper fortuneteller into a mystical feeling art piece, where the fortunes weren’t quite so easily set in stone.

When ever a fortune was read and the participant would place their finger over the paper like is demonstrated in the video, it was supposed to trigger one of 4 different fortunes chosen somewhat randomly: as in, each “petal” was supposed to call up to 3 of the 4 fortunes to play at random. however, to save time and to capture the direct simplicity of the original fortunetellers, I decided it would be best to cut that part out and instead make each one trigger just one animation sequence instead.


There was also an unsolvable issue in the overall design of my project. Due to the conductive pathways being controlled entirely by pencil graphite lines, some very simple but unavoidable limitations started to occur. The makey makey board despite being highly sensitive to high resistance currents, needs relatively unbroken and thick graphite channels to connect to. When any line is drawn and then a fold in the paper occurs it breaks the connection at the point of the fold.


Due to the folding 3d aspect of the fortune teller design and the fact that it had to be hand hold-able, it turned out the the only physical way to keep the original handheld aspect of the project intact was to somehow weave thin conductive threads into the paper craft, a feat which would’ve matched thematically with the tendrils and inner organs of a flower but required to much time and design restructuring to pull off in a timely manner. This is why in the above video the fortune is told first, with the fortune teller in intact state, but the interactive part is done with the teller fully unfolded.


I many return to this at a future time to correct this issue and improve upon this design. Particularly once I obtain my own collection of semi conductive thread and a sowing kit.

The animations featured in this are not quite original. I had originally intended to roto-scope the lotus blooming video that plays each time, but out of time and simplicity simply decided to apply a simple set of filters to the video instead along with the text produced at the end.

I may also return to improve upon this as well, particularly once my laptop returns from repairs and my new touchscreen stylus (yufu) comes in.

The tranquil music that plays throughout is a song by 千年破曉 named 晴殤 Tranquil Departure. I’ve included a link to this below.

The Rainstick sound effect I pulled from an app and minorly edited. This link will also be included below.

Overall, I hope you all enjoy my project and I look forward to whatever comments and criticism you have to give.

If you have any other personal questions, or I havent responded here in a while, feel free to contact me at my public email at skids95@snet.net and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

-Skyler P. Alsever

-Ece Major

-Imgd Minor


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