Making Laser Pentagrams, In Your Punani

We made a 10 foot sound reactive laser pentagram for the Shit Fun presents Venetian Snares and Otto Von Schirach show at the Great Hall last Saturday! This was mini project that we developed as part of our Site 3 CoLaboratory Residency as we’re playing with lasers a lot for our upcoming project Galaxy Heist The L.E.A.P. Engine!

Hopkins and Duffield sound reactive laser pentagram

This project had some fun little considerations. We had a limited amount of time to check out the space in advance, and we had to come up with a quick laser mounting system that did not require drilling or marking up any walls… on a tight budget. Because we didn’t have exact measurements (though our blueprint estimates were ultimately bang on anyways), this meant that some of our cabling had to be measured out in the space day-of, and therefore we were cutting and soldering wires just hours before the show! But we’d budgeted our time for this, so all was good 🙂

We ended up using cheap, safe lasers, and attaching the small metal laser mounts we made (with laser termination points in order to keep the shape) using 3M adhesive strips and earth magnets! Worked pretty well in our preliminary tests, though day-of we had a couple minor issues we weren’t anticipating – first, the type of paint on the wall was harder to work with than our test walls. Second, the bass. The music vibrated the mounts a little more than we were expecting! So while still very much forming a pentagram shape, they would occasionally get ever so slightly out of alignment (probably only enough for us/the nit-picky to notice), but were easily adjusted back!

We also had to find a good hazer to work with, and had the most success and laser visibility with an Ultratec Radiance Hazer. And sound reactiveness was a success! Hooked up through an Arduino and running through Max/MSP, we programmed the lasers to fade out with sound, which was interesting with the prevalent styles of music at the event.

Here is a gallery of images showing some of our process, setup, etc. Thanks to Sean Marven, Emad Dabiri, and Daeve Fellows for supplying some of the images!

Special thanks to:
Site 3 CoLaboratory
Brett Hagman
Dann Hines
Heather Mahzar
+ Jubal Brown, Sean Marven, and the rest of the team that put on such a wicked show!

Oh yeah, and hail Satan or whatever.

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