Duck, Duck, BOOSH!
What was it?
Duck, Duck, BOOSH was a sculptural and experiential collaboration that took the form of a 25’ tall climbable, wooden Duck. Different hardware, software, and sculptural components make up the guts of the interactive installation resulting in coordinated fire and LED effects.
Who was it for?
A bunch of people from my home state all got together and threw a big party out in the woods. They brought large art pieces that they intended to burn down at the end of the event. The theme of the party was simply and elegantly “Duck Stuff” which inspired the creation of a 25’ tall wooden Duck sculpture held aloft by the twisted tentacles of a Kracken. Decorating the inside and outside were a blend of LED hardware, fire effects, sculptural art. Participants were invited to crawl around and inside of it and encouraged to play/touch everything.
What was the challenge?
Matthew DeVay approached me to create LED animations to be coordinated with his LED hardware and Tim Alexander’s fire art hardware. A console button at the base of the Duck would trigger the Duck to belch flames out of the beak and front tentacles with LED lights trailing up the length of lycra covered tentacles.
The Simon-Says style game attached to the fire and light effects ( authored by Tim ) required a call-and-response behavior between the Quacken and the participant. The Quacken belches flames three times so the user presses the button three times. The Quacken belches flames five times so the user presses the button five times. You get the idea.
Video shot by Matthew DeVay
What was the outcome?
I started the process by first creating a visualization of the Duck. I guessed on the arrangement of some of the elements as I was on a job at that time and unable to be there in person.
Together Tim, Matthew and I determined a few states that participants would unlock with their persistent interaction with the Duck:
Left Tentacle BOOSH
When a participant presses the console button the front left tentacle of the Quacken plays a LED animation followed by a burst of fire at the tip.
Right Tentacle BOOSH
Same as the left tentacle boosh but on the front right tentacle.
When participant successfully completed a few rounds of the Simon Says game the Duck LED animations enter an “armed” state, cocked and ready for the finale.
Upon winning Duck, Duck, BOOSH a 20 second animation plays across the tentacles. When the Duck turns red all three canons in the Duck fired.
What Did I learn?
I hopped into this project after a DMX heavy project at Obscura where I got to really dig a lot more into programming for lighting fixtures and LED. Although Duck, Duck, BOOSH was a very different experience than the project I’d worked on, the fundamentals were the same. Approaching an empty canvas gave me the same warm, fuzzy feels that the Dailies did.
Projects like this are ways of touching base with the essence of why art is so much fun to do. This was one of the better and easier collaborations for a large interactive sculpture because each person each had a different and distinct part that they tackled fully and we all had a clear understanding of what we were making and the humor therein. I am ever so grateful for having had the opportunity to work with such talented, wonderful humans.