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An Expressive and Audiovisual Painting

“Medium” is an interactive, expressive and audiovisual painting created by Bay Dam and Souleymane Konaté, as part of the “Stretched Terrains” travelling artistic residency project. During the bus trip from Lagos, Nigeria, through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali and finally to Dakar, Senegal, the artists were inspired by the different social, cultural, economic and political diversities of these countries.

To initiate dialogue between human beings and machines, the public is encouraged to touch the different parts of the painting in order to be able to hear the multitude of soundtracks recorded, edited and associated with each drawing. To make the painting feel more alive, the artists filled some of the illustrations with animated light, using projection mapping techniques.

The team used the Touch Board Pro Kit for their installations. They built 2 installations; one at the workshop with children from the village and the other one was exhibited abroad. The focus will be on the final project, because it’s more technically complex.

The advantage of using the Pro Kit was the Proto Shield, which has screw terminals that allowed them to assemble the wires easily. They also added a NodeMCU WiFi module on the shield that would send the touch signals to the projection mapping software via OSC. The reason behind this choice was that Bay Dam was a developer of MapMap, a free and Open Source projection mapping software – he decided to use it in all his projects to be able to test its limits and to able to improve it. Even though the Touch Board already has a MIDI mode, MapMap doesn’t support it yet, but it can be controlled remotely by using OSC (Open Sound Control).

After Souleymane Konaté applied the coloured acrylic base paint, Bay Dam passed the wires throughout the canvas and used copper tape in others parts before gluing them all in place. They then applied Electric Paint and ensured the wires were well covered. They finally, attached and wired the Touch Board and used a power bank to supply the card and speaker. Bay Dam says that this whole process took them a decent amount of time –  testing and experimenting before finding the ideal approach for their needs.

Behind the canvas, cables connect the Touch Board with Electric Paint, on which the shield is mounted with a Wifi module to send the OSC signals to MapMap, so that it animates the white parts of the artwork. Two speakers are hung behind the board to create intrigue among the public who wonder where the sound comes from.

The painting was exhibited in Dakar, Bamako, Abidjan, Accra, Lome and Lagos. On the way, after attracting the curiosity of children from the village of N’Djébonouan in Cote d’Ivoire with the sound installation, Bay Dam decided to share his practice by organising a transmission workshop, where he showed them how to use Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint. At the end of the workshop, the children of the village managed to create an interactive work that they hung on the side of the bus.

Bay Dam – Digital artist – Creative Coder (Senegal)

He is a computer scientist and author of MapMap, a free and open-source Projection Mapping software. He has also worked in several digital creation and interactive installation projects. Founder of VX Lab, a laboratory dedicated to research and experimentation on the arts and technologies, he uses new technologies to re-appropriate public space, shapes, colours and materials in different ways. He elaborates his projects through short cycles of research and development during which he leaves all freedom to the surprise of the materials. Proud of its ability to learn new technologies fairly quickly, it encourages knowledge sharing by organising through skills transfer activities.

Souleymane Konaté – Artist/Painter (Ivory Coast)

Souleymane KONATE was born in 1983, lives and works in Abidjan in Ivory Coast, he started working as a calligrapher. Passionate about art, in love with painting, in 2011 he collaborated with the painter Aboudia whom he had just met. From 2012 to 2014, he participated in creative residencies with several artists. His painting is the manifestation of an art carried by the energy of a spontaneous pictorial style specific to graffiti artists. And that carries an ideal of beauty which violates subjectivity and symbolism. Souleymane Konaté’s work illustrates his view of humans whose beauty, according to his understanding, resides not in their physique but rather in the morality and values they convey.

Images & Video: Bay Dam & Souleymane Konaté

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