I avoided it for as long as possible. But in the end the pull was just too great and the enticing bings, bongs, plinks, and plongs proved too much to resist. I could hear the "music" and see the paintballs bouncing about, but what had they done with all the paint?
Sprawled in the center of the DESIGN West Expo floor, Intel's Industrial Controller in Concert seemed to have been transported directly from some sort of Star Trekesque amusement park. What it brought to my mind was an exhibit I saw back in 2006 at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. "Carsten Holler's Amusement Park" jangled the viewer's expectations by running real amusement park rides at disconcertingly slow speeds in a massive echoing gallery. But where Holler's installation was a color and light overload, Intel's parts were muted monotone that belied the innate and charming silliness of the contraption.
What I hadn't grasped from my too-quick read of Colin Holland's pre-show description of the machine is that it is Intel's solid creation of an Animusic 3D animation called Pipe Dreams. Mark Christiansen from Intel explains the details:
And here is the marvelous machine in action. Yes the balls popping all over the place are actually paintballs, but some fool chose to remove the paint -- sheesh. (Wouldn't you just love to see it if someone mistakenly put real paintballs in?! What a fabulous mess):