PSCHUUU, the magic sandbox, presents a sand-and-air show that leads the audience into the magical world of storytelling in the mind’s eye.
This original project is a standalone show, complete with audience seating, which creates its own small, intimate performance space for audiences of up to 48 people from four to 77 years old.
The show lasts 20 minutes and can be performed up to four times a day.
PSCHUUU uses sand and air jets to fashion scenes and characters that form and transform in a theatrical dance in front of the audience’s very eyes.
The system is simple: a 1.2 m wide x 2.4 m high cube with a sand-covered plate on its floor and a lighting lid.
The audience sits around the cube.
From under the plate, over a hundred valves set jets of air in motion that shoo (or PSCHUUU) the sand up into the air, creating intricate, precisely engineered patterns suggestive of childhood memories and dreams. No actors, no dancers. Just a little computer-assisted sandbox that brings to life a fairytale world of fiction and poetry in a ballet of joy and fears, laughter and tears.
The PSCHUUU system creates an abstract, moving journey back into our childhood memories.
There are no words; just sand, light and sound.
Emotions rise and fall as we remember our childhood days of sand and sea, the beach and the sky tretching infinitely to the horizon, clouds passing in front of the sun, and the wind on our skin. It is a voyage into our happy, carefree young days, when we drew on the sand in our own imaginary world of fairytales and dreams. It is a very personal, poetic journey that each audience member will interpret in their own individual way.
PSCHUUU is simply the sound of the air shooing up through the valves.
Sand and Air:
The network of valves: Under the plate is a network of 100 electrovalves (10x10 matrix). They propel the sand up from a 5-bar air reserve. The air delivery (intensity and timing) is precisely controlled to create the complex choreography of movements and patterns.
The sand projections are in 3D: depth, width and height of the airstream. The audience’s eye line is on a level with the height of the structure.
The plate: The plate is in polyurethane foam, masked and varnished. Each tube delivering the air from each valve is forged into a little cup to create a sand reserve. Sand refilling: Sand is refilled during the show by a Venturi device: A series of “sand fountains” refill the plate, much like the fountains at Versailles.
Light and Sound: PSCHUUU is the sound of the air shooting out from the valves and PSCHUUU’s tubes. The show’s sound environment is a mix of the actual sound of the air through the tubes and the sand as it is thrown up. This is amplified by microphones and some soundtrack inserts such as human voices and electric guitar. Each tube delivering air from the valves will be built to produce a note, so that the movements create their own “music”. Lighting will bring out the movement of the propelled sand as it is held in suspension and whooshed through the air at speed. The structure’s DEL lighting lid will also provide contrast and atmosphere.
Code and Electronics:
PSCHUUU is driven by WhiteCat, developed by Christoph Guillermet in 2009.
This free theatre and dance lighting software is written in C/C++.
The valves and DELs are controlled by the WhiteCat Art-Net protocol (Dmx over ethernet).
WhiteCat is the core of PSCHUUU’s writing and control process. Developments have already been engineered for the project, and are used by the WhiteCat community:
Some modules have already been designed for ease of writing of complex patterns and trajectories on matrix for different shows and installations (Don Quixote by Cie Beau Geste in 2010 and KeyFrames by Group Laps in 2011).
The GridPlayers module, for example, writes lighting events very easily, much in the way of a sound sequencer program, for user-friendly writing and reuse of light phrases (or valves). The code is essentially written and ready to be used for the PSCHUUU project for precision control of the valves by WhiteCat.
-Art-Net library for arduino (already used by arduino community)
-100th of a second precision on WhiteCat
-Draw, a drawing module used in real time to easily and freely shape the valve matrix.
The PSCHUUU structure is a totally original, home-grown technological cube.
Aside from the remote, computer control of the system, everything is contained within the structure itself: - DEL lighting, - Dynalloy valves and air stream system, - PWM mosfets for valves and DEL control, - Sound
The project comprises 140 separate air stream control channels and some 150 lighting channels.
Two to three Arduinos (the acclaimed open hardware) are contained inside the plate, receiving signals in real time by Ethernet, and demultiplexing them to the 278 Mosfets in the system.
Ballasts receive air from an air compressor, providing sufficient air flow for the show. The air pressure is 5 bars. The entire structure connects to two simple 16A plugs.
Allocation of funds
A number of applications have been made to French government cultural bodies. Funding will be used to pay wages to the crew asked to work on the project and its logistics (residencies will be held in a number of cities in France).
The crowd-funding will pay the materials necessary for the manufacture of the equipment:
network air, silent compressor, air tank pressure, steel, wood, electronics, valves, DELs, audience benches ...
The sum of 9 000 euros is the minimum necessary for the manufacture of the device and the viability of the project. Ideally, to reach 12 000. If the collection exceeds the amount requested, the amount will be allocated to complete the equipment.
As rewards are all based in France, your contribution will be kept and given to a local humanitarian organization such as disabled childrens, or any structure working for children in distress. You will be informed of it.
Thanks a lot. Christoph
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