Projection Tests


I’ve been doing some projection tests in order to figure out what’s possible for my thesis show. Here are a few of the more interesting pictures.

Below are giant projections of my studio space.

StudioProjection1 StudioProjection2 StudioProjection3 StudioProjection4

Building up again?

Mouth House_Akkermans

Here are some photos of things I’ve been playing with in the studio, stuff I’ve been making.  I’m not really sure what it is yet.

Merry Go round_Akkermans

– Merry Go Round (Please excuse the bad photo.)

Windmill in progress_Akkermans

– Windmill (in progress- will move hopefully, as I’m interested in making it kinetic.)


And this barn I’ve built….


… which I’ve been playing with projecting inside of, with a pico projector.

Since starting my MFA here at Waterloo, I’ve blown everything up, and am currently in the process of building things up again.   I’m not sure how things will come together, but that is the point of doing my MFA, to figure that out and hopefully come up with an interesting body of work.  These are just the first few steps in that direction (hopefully).  I think that the “trying to capture a real moment” that I’ve been doing as well might end up colliding with these, but at this point, I have no idea how.  We’ll see.  🙂

Narrative Clip


220023I’ve been attempting to capture a real moment.  This is what the selfies have been, as well as a few other things I haven’t shared here.  The problem is, that by the act of capturing the moment (through taking a selfie, an audio recording, or video), I’m automatically influencing the moment, negating it’s ‘realness.’  It’s a catch 22.

So, introducing the next iteration, the Narrative Clip.  I ordered this camera from PhotoJoJo, and have been wearing it for a while now. It is a small wearable camera that takes a photograph every 30 seconds.  I have committed to wearing it for all of February, if not longer. I think the point is that I have to wear it long enough that it becomes second nature and I am not so painfully aware of it. It isn’t the perfect solution to my problem of negating the real moment, but it’s the next step in figuring it out.

I’m getting a lot of crappy pictures of my apartment and my studio, but also some interesting photos.  I’m not sure what I will do with these photos, if anything at all, but it’s an experiment I think I need to do, so I’ve committed.  Here’s a few examples of what I’ve captured so far.


The bathroom photos are still the most interesting, because what I’m interested in is me, not necessarily the outside world. (Cleaning my teeth with a syringe because I got my wisdom teeth taken out recently.)



Fridge shot. 144612

Studio wall.



A few of us MFA’s went out dancing the other night- I was wearing a pair of ears that I had made and had clipped the camera to them- this photo was taken when I dropped my ears on the floor at our friend’s house.

052211A few photos from the club…



I’ve been getting the odd enigma photo as well… who knows what this is?


Or this?

Animatronics Update

A look inside the animatronic morphoids.

I’ve been hard at work working on the animatronics project.  HARD at work.  It is a huge challenge, but slowly but surely, I am making some progress.  I am having to rework my ideas and rework my solutions as I go, as sometimes what I think will work best does not work hardly at all.  I am learning a lot and am getting some serious experience in problem solving, especially as it relates to electronics, mechanics and building things.

Making things in electronics takes five times as long as any other process.  There is no doing things halfway, or fudging your skills.  Unlike many other making techniques, electronics either works or it doesn’t.  Unlike, say, sewing, where your skills will develop as you go, but if you want to make something specific as a beginner, you will manage to make something as a beginner.  Not perfectly, but if you had intended to make a shirt, you would have a shirt.  With electronics, you have to get things absolutely right.  For instance, if I’m intending to make a Morphoid move, I have to make a Morphoid move, or it’s just a collection of fabric, stuffing, and electronic parts.

I think that working with soft things (fabric sculpture, versus, say, something made of wood) presents a unique set of obstacles.  It is tough to get any kind of traction on things- the stuffing has too much give.  Sometimes, although it is moving on the inside, it is tough for the moving parts to be obvious on the outside.  This is interesting to me, as everything I’m working on with this comes out much more subtle than I intend, which is actually kind of interesting and strangely appropriate.  I have a couple of things that I almost can’t tell if they are on and working right away.

Anyway, I’m in the process of tweaking, or making version 2 for the Morphoids I’m animating…. hopefully there might be some video soon(ish).

The photo is of the insides of one of the Radiolaria.  I used plaster to cover a child’s ball to make a hollow form for the servos to move a weight around in, which gives it just a twitch of movement.  You can see the battery packs, circuit board that I soldered and the Arduino on the top, and the whole contraption will soon be going inside a ‘Radio’.

Soft Robots

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this before, but Matthew Borgatti, over at has been working on making soft robots. I wish I had the facilities to look into doing something like this for the Animatronics Project, but I think even if I could, the components would take up way too much room to fit inside a Morphoid, even a large one. A girl can dream.

I am making slow progress in my own way, hopefully I’ll have something to post about that soon.  (Essentially right now I’ve got parts of things, mechanics and code, all in pieces all over the place, but not lined up and working properly yet.  I’ll share when I’ve got something that will be easy to see what I’m doing, rather than all this research and pieces of things and code that probably looks like gibberish to most people.)


I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve really been spinning my wheels lately.  A good friend of mine, Lindsay Joy, has been giving me some encouragement to try to jumpstart me out of the slump.  Her latest attempt is to give me some homework, an assignment: AS SUBTLE AS POSSIBLE. 

Now, if you know me and my work at all, I really don’t do subtle.  I do crazy, cheeky, colorful things, that can’t seem to help but have an element of humour to them.  So my challenge, AS SUBTLE AS POSSIBLE, really is a challenge to get me out of my normal ways of thinking. And yes, the theme really is capitalized.

So, what does the theme mean?  How will I interpret that?  First of all, what is “subtle”?  A google search gives me a starting point:


Complex, understated, delicate… so, I started to play with my camera.  What fits these words?

Doily and yarn

Doily.  Delicate, intricate, yet unobtrusive. Ok, boring.  What else?

Coffee Stain

Doily, with embroidered coffee stain.  Embroidery is the same colour, and directly over the stain.  Subtle.  Seen it before. Hmm.   (Gotta start somewhere…)

Tears detail

Embroidering symbolic tears.  Ie, blood, sweat and tears. Thinking about the time and skill that goes into these “useless” things, that are incredibly abundant in certain houses.  They’ve also got a certain attitude connected with themselves, cleanness, a little bit of fussy-ness, and “properness.”  They give the impression that the house they inhabit is “as it should be,” by society’s standards.  Anyway.  Still boring.

How can I manipulate these ideas into something else?  I tried altering the structure of a doily, pulling and tying a section.


It’s perhaps more interesting staged, than documented.  I like the textures here.  What else can I do with texture?

Tension and text

Here’s some layering.  Pretty, but has no depth.


What about combining some objects, a still life, so to speak?  The textures here are subtle, yet compelling.

Texture 1

Texture 2

Now, the beginnings of depth, a sense of narrative, or memory, maybe?  And the fortune, a tongue in cheek reference to subtleness?

Keeping Secrets

Then I started looking around to see what else might possibly fit well with these textures, and the white colors…. and found these little heads I’d been making for something else, something much less subtle and much more creepy- dead fairy in a jar, anyone?  😛  (I know, crude. But amusing.)

Feathered faces

Feathered faces 2

Feathered Faces 3


These last three images are much more true to my sensibilities than the earlier images, although I’m not so sure that they’re the best interpretation of the theme: subtle.  But I don’t really think that was the point- the point was to kick start my brain into making something different, which this has accomplished.  However, as the theme is AS SUBTLE AS POSSIBLE, I think I’ve nailed it with these last few images.  What do you think?


I found quite interesting the progression of exploring the theme.  I would have never made the last few images if I had stopped after the first couple.  This is how interesting art practices develop, except on a much smaller scale.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about life after the IMR, but just make stuff and see what happens.

At this point, I’ve got lots of ideas on the go, some completely outside of my current capabilities and skill sets.  While I think they’re interesting, there isn’t much continuity between one and the next, and not a lot of depth right now.  This has been a reminder that that just needs my time and focus to develop.  I’ve gotta let go of this self-imposed pressure to dive into another fully developed, mature body of work, and just let it develop on it’s own.  Part of the cycle, I guess.

Gotta do some more playing.

Lindsay, set me some more assignments.  And what’s my grade for this one?


Ok, maybe it’s an experimentation and research phase (as it applies to material and technique).

This is Nitinol. Nitinol is a shape memory alloy, which reacts to heat. Let’s start at the beginning.

It works like magic.

Well, no, not really.

(And this one is trying to be dramatic…)

So…. how might this be useful?

See the possibilities?

This is interesting, although probably not very relevant to what I’m doing…