‘Baksa’ is an installation for The Lost Party which took place at Pune, Maharashtra, India in February of 2016. It is one of grand music and arts festivals held in India. It was conceptualised by a team of four.
The idea behind the installation was to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible, while ensuring major impact when seen for the first time. In order to make this happen, we decided to make a massive cube shaped structure that pulsates with light and vivid colors. Being a cubic structure, there were six faces that needed to be represented. Given the theme of the festival was ‘being lost’, it was decided the theme should be extended across to the installation.
It was apparent that using a ‘maze’ as a symbol for ‘being lost’ might be a good idea. For greater visual impact, a ‘whirlpool’ like motif was introduced.
It was critical to embody the spirit of a party. After further brainstorming, it became clear the best direction forward would be to incorporate bright lights in multiple colors as an idle state for the installation. When triggered, it needed to suggest vitality and energy, thus it was decided the triggered state would involve rapidly fluctuating lights, much like a strobe.
Given the idea was to build a massive cube — we chose to build a cube, 4x4x4 ft in dimension, made out of wood and acrylic. With six available faces, one was assigned to the sponsor’s branding, four adjacent faces were imagined to be the representation of a maze. As an easter egg, or a hidden joke, each face also included the letters L-O-S-T hidden within the maze-like shape. To suggest the ‘whirlpool’ like motif, the final face was designed to be a pattern of concentric circles.
These patterns were to be cut in wood and stuck on white translucent acrylic sheets which enabled the light to pass through it, thus creating the perfect recipe for an installation that suggests energy and vitality, while also hinting at the theme of ‘being lost’.
To further enhance its appeal, we made it interactive. Using a second structure, the audience could change the LED colors and frequency enabled by a circuit that would activate on proximity of one’s hands.
Building up the installation
So we decided on some patterns and lasercut them which were afterwards pasted onto translucent acrylic sheets which were later on lit to give a magical look.
I did the electronics section of the installation. As planned earlier it was supposed to light up when someone touches the second panel vibrantly in an alternate pattern with blue and red color for about 2 seconds. In normal mode it fades through the rainbow colors and funky patterns on one face of the giant cube.
‘Baksa’ is uniquely designed to be calibrated and controlled when someone touches his/her hand on the panel. The panel is equipped with a simple IR Pair that is activated whenever someone puts his/her hand on the panel.
Talking about electronics of ‘Baksa’ — it is running on Arduino Mega 2560 along with 12 N-Channel MOSFETs which control the colors for 4 High Power LEDs. One on each of four faces of ‘Baksa’.