“210 Klappen” is a wall of 210 revolving panels arranged in a 21×10 pixel matrix. Each flap has a black front and white flipside. By twisting these 22 x 22 cm pixels, one-by-one patterns, bitmaps and animations can be shown just like on vintage electronic displays.
Each mechanical Pixel is driven by a small motor inside the panel and can be set to an individual angle between 0° (black) and 180° (white) within ca. 400 milliseconds. Depending on the program, subtle motions such as within animal swarms and other natural phenomena can be created.
With its 210 individual motors and gears the huge installation creates a significant sound similar to that of robotic bird flocks. Due to tight budget, everything was made from inexpensive consumer electronics and stock materials: Rc servomotors were used for the drive system, plywood for the panels and copper tubes for the spindles.
Each unit consists of two CNC-milled plates which are put together and mounted in a lasercut and custom bent steel bracket. They were painted and coated with graffiti spraycans and wallpaint.
The whole installation is split into seven individual units of 30 pixels that are mounted on a back plate so that it can be easily [sic] set up at the exhibition place. It comes with seven microcontroller boards that listen for incoming commands from the main controller and generate the 210 signals for the RC motors.
The prototype has been connected to the well-known Processing open-source graphics software – dann müsste hier auch stehen, welche das ist?, any greyscale output of it can be sent to the wall in realtime. Preprogrammed softwore modules for still pictures, animations and typewritermode are available. The only limit for moving pictures is the physical speed of the motors themself.
“210 Klappen” was created for and first shown at “Fusion Festival” in 2013. We were asked to design a new face for an old Russian airplane hangar, shaped like a big semicircle in front of a burried concrete tube.Analysing pixelbased pictures and typography, we decided to integrate the display in a big QR code pattern drawn over the whole fascade. During the festival we used the pixel matrix to announce the shows of the night and to send other messages to audience including one that was hidden in a QR code and could be scanned from a certain point in front of the hangar.