Amanda Parkes & Jessica Banks
Altoids™ boxes, solenoids,
open. close. repeat.
with domino talents.
Curiously Strong transforms 250 Altoids tins into a living machine. Each
box is equipped with an actuator mechanism that opens and closes the
box's lid when it receives a mechanically controlled digital signal.
Sequential activation of the connected boxes results in a wave of motion
akin to that of a typical domino chain. Curiously Strong is a long and
flexible snake that envelopes its surroundings both audibly and visually,
traversing any landscape and creating a rhythmic, moving soundscape.
Curiously Strong plays with the notion of what it means to be a kinetic
sculpture in that its local state is passive and still even when it is
|Amanda Parkes is a
designer interested in the relationship of gesture, form, materiality and
computation in the context of hybrid physical-digital objects. She is
currently a PhD candidate in the Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media
Lab where her research focuses on developing intuitive and investigative
learning and design tools. Before joining the Media Lab, Amanda developed
exhibits at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, freelanced
internationally in multimedia design, and developed installations and
programs for the Science Museum in London and the the Peggy Guggenheim
Collection in Venice. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Product
Design) and B.A. in Art History both from Stanford University and an M.S.
in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT. Her work has been featured in
various internationally recognized design and art awards including the ID
Magazine Annual Design Review and the Prix Ars Electronica, though she's
more interested in cultivating an award-winning shoe collection.
Jessica Banks is a
PhD candidate at MIT's Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Her robotics work is driven by an interest in user interfaces from both
social interaction and physical design perspectives. Jessica holds a B.S.
in physics with a concentration in creative writing from the University
of Michigan and an M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science
from MIT. She also worked extensively in the entertainment industry
before nerding out at grad school. Though Jessica is currently in the
23rd grade, her passion does not lie in academia, but in art. Her
research motivations are similarly reflected in her sculpture and in her
plan to start a secret robot-ish company as soon as she graduates (be it
by dint of dissertation or default).
Acknowledgements: Curiously Strong is funded in part by a Director's
Grant from the Council for the
Arts at MIT. Thanks also to: Dan
Paluska, Cameron Marlow, Einar Gustafson, Iuliu Vasilescu,
Ron Wiken, Ben
Dalton, Vincent Leclerc, Jeana Frost, Lijin Aryananda, and Alex Byrne
for their invaluable dedication to monotony for art's sake and for our