Polish and Present: Photohromascope

Because I hadn’t figured out exactly how i was presenting what I have come to refer to as the “Photochromascope“, I focused on presentation first, and left figuring out what exactly my piece would look like until later. It also requires the apparatus I was designing to view my piece to really test what my it would look like. I had the small rectuangular panes I was previously using, but going on my original design, and off of a suggestion of a classmate, I pursued my radial oculus. The biggest obstacle i faced was the price, since i needed two large polarizing filters to cut circles from (they wouldn’t fit on one), two lazy susans, and four panes of acrylic.


Panes: I did a quick Maquette of the design i was hoping for out of mat board, and thanks to robosource’s one-day shipping to WPI I was able to begin laser cutting the next day. The outer panes are meant to mount the polarizing filters to, and the interior panes are the art pieces themselves which are made of a layer of packing tape.  The tabs are to turn the filters, since the angle between filters and the piece is the main input for color distortion, and I wanted to allow for audience interaction. Below are images of my initial sketches, matboard maquette, and final assembly of both pieces. the one of the bottom has my previous maquette taped to it so i could test the polarizing filters.

Lazy Susans: In order to turn the filters freely and mount them to the art piece I used lazy susans on amazon. They had small rubber feet which i needed to remove, and mounting was a little difficult. I may glue my assembly together for presentations, although I’d like to be able to disassemble this and swap other pieces in.  Ideally id like to be able to put the filters on and take them off easily, which could be possible by mounting magnets on each piece, however i don’t think that will be possible for this presentation.

Hanging: I felt in order to best display this i wanted to hang it at about head height (5’3″ ish on center) and use fishing line so the suspension doesnt draw away from the piece. Ill attach the bottom via fishing line to weights or some kind of ballast (maybe sandbags) so its fairly rigid in space but also has the appearance of a port-hole of a ship, without the ship. I really like the aesthetic of doors and windows in frames without walls, since they invoke feelings of peering into a different perspective or going somewhere else. 

Note: I encountered some trouble with bubbles under the surface. Later i realized that may be some WD-40 underneath, but my using a compressed air nozzle i can temporarily knock out the bubbles. I took greater care in assembling the other side and removing all lubricant from all relevant surfaces before assembling and it prevented this issue. Given more time  or more filters I would remake one of the polarizing filter mounts, but im afraid to pull the panes off since i mounted them with double sided mounting tape, and i dont think i could clean the filters without scratching them or leaving more residue than is worth my effort to do.

Light Source: I realized that the room we’re presenting in has a projector, and track lighting. Using the above  hanging mounting idea, i plan to either mount this infront of the projector (set to white) or use the track lighting. Worst case scenario I use an LED lamp I have, which i used for most of the testing. 


Design: After experimenting with the presentation medium, i experimented with how to manufacture my image. Cutting with x-act knife is inexact, and relies of on the audience knowing the exactly the right angle. I wanted to make it pleasant to look at no matter the angle, so I designed a radial mandala-inspired pattern. Using the laser cutter, i figured out how to perfectly etch through the tape, and engraved three panes with this design. I changed the tape direction, from 0, 45 and 90. However, after putting them together i realized the tape can only be up to 45 degrees off or it begin to cancel out the bending of polarized light. Below are pictures of the panes with the designs etched into the tape, however i was lucky and when removing the tape there wasnt any unwanted etching. of the acrylic.


Final Images: When assembled and held up to the light, i was really happy with the initial results. The images appear and disappear with different alignments, something everyone I’ve shown this to has enjoyed playing with and seeing.

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