With Naho Matsuda for the Great Exhibition of the North with support from Future Everything in Newcastle

EVERY THING EVERY TIME by Naho Matsuda takes information from our interactions to tell a new story about the people and places of Newcastle.

Commissioned by the Great Exhibition of the North with support from Future Everything.

During the Great Exhibition of the North (running June - September 2018) you were able to watch how the real-time Smart City data from fluctuations including weather, traffic and travel is used to generate a poem that’s written in real-time and displayed large-scale outside the Theatre Royal. Every 90 seconds the flaps mesmerizingly transition to tell a new story.

Each of the 120 units has 50 alphanumeric characters as well as block colours to achieve transition effects.

The flaps are made up of 170m² of PETG plastic, which was UV flatbed printed in full sheets prior to being laser-cut into individual flaps.

Each unit housing and drum is made from laser-cut 3mm acrylic. The drum is fitted with a stepper motor each of which is controlled by a dedicated Arduino with a control board which was made from scratch in-house.

A considerable amount of R&D and prototype testing was conducted to develop a system that adjusted and accounted for inevitable slippage and compound error in the mechanics of the units, using custom-developed software.

The Arduinos are controlled in 4 groups by 4 Raspberry Pi’s.

The poetry, which is created by an algorithm which rearranges the data collected from a number of site-specific points, is hosted on a website. The Pis pull the poetry from the website over 4G and then transmits the letter addresses via Ethernet to the Arduino and then to the motors using the I2C network protocol.

The act of this then triggers the algorithm to generate a new poem.

The cabinet and shelves are fabricated with powder-coated folded sheet steel and a glass panel sits over the face for protection.