meditation #4

Due to a fit of severe, generalized thesis-panic, I’ve been clocking in long hours on the floor this past week, staying until past 3am. I love being on the floor during these wee hours when nobody’s around— the peace and quiet allows me (and my fellow workaholic friends) to be incredibly productive.

It’s also allowed me to realize that the floor is haunted.

Room 50 at 3am, ie definitely a scene from the collegiate remake of Paranormal Activity.

While the clamor of shop chaos and 100+ students fades away with the sun, the floor does not still— there are still layers of suspicious whirs, murmurs, and higher frequencies barely perceptible to human ears.

So for this week’s meditation, I tried to (tele)communicate with these ITP spirits.

The first time I suspected a supernatural presence on the floor was during pcomp, when my Arduino would pick up signals literally from thin air. So I decided to break out the Arduino again, and set one up in the middle of the floor for a few hours while we worked on thesis, got pea soup and curly fries at Cozy’s, and lamented the state of our graduate school lives.

My Ghostbusters setup.

It would have very exciting if I could simply port the serial input directly to an Axidraw and have them drawn in real time, but this would have taken a lot more work than my one-track thesis mind could allow. So instead, I took the Arduino readings, wrote a python script that translated them to SVG commands, and fed that into the Axidraw:

Alright, so obviously what the Arduino was picking up on was probably not ghosts, but rather signals from the millions of devices on the floor—but it was the night of Quick and Dirty, and I’d like to think that there were still reverberations in the air from the nervous energy/exhaustion of the class of 2019 and our electronic projects.