Bamboo Grove was a site-specific project for the NOTCH 2010 Nordic / Chinese cultural festival in Beijing.
The project was a collaboration between architect David Garcia, 8-bit musician Jacob Sikker Remin, artist Mogens Jacobsen and composer Morten Riis.
The center piece of the project was a pavilion weaved in bamboo. This pavilion explored the potential of weaving as an alternative method of construction in architecture. While traditional building methods of construction are based on stapling, casting and welding elements, weaving offers structural stability without glue, nails or any sort of binding material; the weaving itself and friction is the binding solution.
Made of bamboo and plywood, the pavilion is 100 % recyclable, permitting to unweave and re-use all of its components again. This structure is the result of a two year research project by David Garcia Studio which started by traveling to Japan to learn weaving techniques form the most prominent contemporary weavers.
One of the mechanical instruments mounted inside the Pavilion
The pavilion was built during October 2010. During the construction, Riis, Remin and Jacobsen was working at the OSC (“Open Studio Camp”) creating an environment of small networked electronic and electro-acoustic creatures for the pavilion. The inspiration for the creatures came from the Chinese tradition of keeping pet crickets (Gryllidae) for their chirping. China also has a long tradition at staging insects fights dating back to the Tang Dynasty (a somewhat more bloodless version of the Cockfight found in many countries).
Jacob Remin built a large swarm of small custom designed synthesizers based on the ATmega368 processor (same as used in the open-source hardware project Arduino). Mogens Jacobsen constructed mechanical acoustic insects using bits and pieces of bamboo, small motors and solonoids. These devices functioned as the non-pitched rhythm section of audio environment.
These mechanical insects were controlled using Arduino microprocessors. All insects were placed inside the bamboo structure of the pavilion. A network allowed the insects to communicate, control of the flock and supplied power to the individual insect. A protocol was developed as well, which allowed Morten Riis to compose a work for the whole ensemble of insects.
Examples of electromechanical instruments by Mogens Jacobsen
For the inauguration of the pavilion Jacob Remin, Morten Riis and Mogens Jacobsen did a performance, where the environment was controlled live by the performers. Jacob Remin also added live VJing based on video material recorded at one of Beijing pet insect markets.
Digital controller for the electromechanical instruments
Credits:Pavilion: David Garcia, David Garcia Studio .
Onsite team / David Garcia Studio: Liberty Adrien, Isobel & Max Gerthel.
Electronic Ecosystem: Jacob Sikker Remin & Mogens Jacobsen.
Composition: Morten Riis.
PCB Design: David Gauthier.