This week I worked on making 3d models of the cat. The model is still pretty rough, but I want to finish making it in 3d before I start making Illustrator paths to cut with the laser. The plan is cut on cardboard first, make sure the measurements work, and then start prototyping with acrylic. I am also curious about using the maker bot, but haven’t used it before, so I need to set aside some time to look into that.
I also spent some time working with Arduino to make the cat voice synth sounds. I got some really nice results, but I was having trouble building an amplifier circuit so I don’t have anything recorded. Hopefully I’ll have some samples soon. Working with LM358 and LM386 op amps is always a pain in the ass, so I’m trying to order some prefab op amps, which are pretty cheap and work well.
I also did some reading, I read some 1 actor and 2 actor plays, “‘night Mother” and “Zoo Story” and “The Sunset Limited” by Cormac McCarthy, to think about dialog and story for the robots, assuming that I’ll have time to build at most two. Though I could bring the old robot cats I made into it somehow, and Gabe suggested using the performers controlling the cats in the narrative as well, so that could definitely expand the performance and characters. I met someone in the grad theatre program and talked about lighting ideas for a non-traditional stage, which was also really helpful.
I did a lot of reading for more theoretical/fictional inspiration, some stuff Marina recommended, and more works about cats in history and media. “From Extinction to Electronics” by Ursula K. Heise is a good essay about the cyborg in literature and the depiction of human made animals replacing real animals in a few works, including Jurassic Park and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I also started reading Electric Animal, about the modern animal as a memory of extinct animals and the way animals are treated in narrative and Derrida’s The Animal That Therefore I Am, which is about his relationship with his cat. Marina also recommenced The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem, which is really great, its stories about machines in the future that have human emotions and qualities.
I also made a little 3d cat world for my Digital Spaces class, which gave me some stuff to think about for creating the AR environment in the performance and I want to explore the possibility of using Unity more.