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home > Art Projects > Jim Jenkins "A Dime A Dance"

Guy Marsden

Artwork Engineering

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Jim Jenkins
June 2004
"A Dime a Dance"

Next Exhibition:
Museum Of Neon Art
October 2004 - April 2005

This is a spooky-funny piece that requires you to insert a dime into a
coin box mounted to the wall near the piece. The performance begins
with the instrumental surf tune "Pipeline" by the Chantays.  The 4ft tall
figure moves up and down to the music, then begins flailing it's arms
in rhythm to the music.

Jim built a very clever mechanism that animates this puppet
from above:

What he asked me to do was to put the music in a chip,
and then program timings to choreograph the performance
by switching  the motor and a clutch.  I programmed a microcontroller
chip with the timings that match audio cues Jim specified in the
music timeline.  Here's the electronic controls:

See a QuickTime movie (780K) of it in action!
(download the QuickTime player here)

Jim teaches art at Cal State Fullerton in California,
contact him at:

See more of Jim's work on his web site at:

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