Interactive Desk (2011)

I developed the interactive desk starting with a couple of old analog pushbutton phones I found in a storage room. The phones are labeled "Bell System Property."

To re-animate the telephones I built a stand-alone phone system that allows active dialing and conversation from phone to phone. The system is actually a hybrid analog-digital system, in that it is also computer controllable. I use MaxMSP to interactively control the phone system during performance, generating ringing, tracking button presses, and processing the phone audio.

The interactive desk also includes an assortment of other sensor-animated office supplies, including a hole punch (built by Lucky), stapler, pencil sharpener, file cabinet, and rubber stamp.

My SYSTEM 5000 control panel, originally designed for the piece Slim Jim Choker, is also used here to control the performance configurations. Two PIC microcontrollers inside the control panel handle sensor acquisition from the office supplies and two-way communication between the panel interface and the computer. Sensor data from the office supplies is dealt with in MaxMSP, controlling various synthesis and signal processing routines.

For examples of the interactive desk in action see Office Hours.