The Project

Role: Project Director/ Media Designer Desert Flow

Commissioned by: The Mesa Arts Center

Project Directors: Boyd Branch & Daniel Roth

Media: Boyd Branch, Daniel Roth, Alex Oliszewski

System Engineers: Tim Gerrits, Jacob Rosenthal

Sound Engineers: Kim Swisher, Isaac Wallis

Summary: The Mesa Arts Center contracted Boyd Branch and Daniel Roth to lead a team of local artists to develop a novel interactive experience that explored the aesthetics of the desert. The team collaborated to develop an interactive cactus garden that featured large scale plush cacti that people could hug, talk to, make music with, and draw upon. We surrounded the cactus garden with architectural projection at night and augmented an adjacent water feature with sensors that allowed users to drive a desert themed sound scape and manipulate projections mapped to trees and buildings facing the fountain. Additionally we created a digital media projection lab outfitted with motion sensors and invited local media artists to feature their work.


The System

Interactive Cactus Grove

Saguaro, Ocotillo, Prickly Pear, and Jumping cacti were modeled from vinyl, wood, metal, and pool noodles and then outfitted with Arduino micro controllers and sensors for interactivity.


Desert Flow

The water feature was outfitted with infrared sensors that reacted to styrofoam rocks embedded with LEDs. Max MSP/Jitter processed the data from the infrared sensors and drove a procedural soundscape programmed in Max as well as video projections programmed in Modul8 and mapped to nearby architectural elements.

Desert Flow

commissioned by The Mesa Arts Center

Video sample