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home > Art Projects > Michael Flechtner "Either/Oracle..."

Guy Marsden

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Michael Flechtner
"Either/Oracle: Yet Another Cownundrum"

Private installation in a garage in Los Angeles.  2001
Architectural view

This piece was commissioned by a private art collector in Los Angeles for her garage.
The piece is activated when the automatic garage door opens, and can be seen from
some distance as the owner drives in to her driveway.

The word "Oracle" in the title refers to the fact that after a minute this work provides an
"oracular divination".   Next to each of the large graphic neon symbols is a small orange
neon lamp, these flicker randomly for the first minute, then stop, holding a select
few on.  The owner can then contemplate the symbols that are indicated to
obtain an insight.

The other animations continue for over 20 minutes for the owner's enjoyment.
These include:
> The spinning tornado with orbiting cow at bottom.
And one or more of the following:
> Shark fins chasing right to left across the top
> Convertible chasing left to right across the top
> 3D paper airplane swooping diagonally across the ceiling.

Here's a closer view of the main panel, front and back

... featuring Michael's extraordinary wiring!

Here is the sketch that Michael first sent me to describe the piece:

Michael sent me the drawing and described his animations in detail, then
asked with some trepidation if it was all possible.  After some thought I agreed
that I could do everything he wanted.  This project required 6 microcontrollers
all programmed to operate the different animations and to interact with each
other, making it the most complex neon animation that I have engineered.
-- I am a sucker for a challenge!

Here's the control system that I built:
Control box

The small box on the right controls the airplane, and is mounted on the
ceiling.  I also had to build 2 special interfaces to the 2 garage door
openers so either door would trigger the artwork to operate,  we also
installed a manual pushbutton to start the piece without opening the door.

Contact Michael Flechtner at:

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