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The Traveler (2008) "We have Chinese acrobats. I think that the cat-seller will be around before lunch. We have an elephant that falls downhill. We have some flying machines, although they're somewhat primitive. We have Chicken Chow Mein. And we have a pirate." - Donald Barthelme from his children's book "The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine"
The Traveler is an interactive kinetic sound sculpture. Controlled via an Arduino microcontroller, an ultrasonic range finder reacts to the proximity of an observer, first enticing them closer by opening the suitcase to reveal its mysterious inner workings. Then, when they get too close, the suitcase falls closed, not wanting to tell all. Inside a gearhead motor rotates a metal disk causing "the traveler" (a small toy elephant) to keep on his journey. Solenoids hidden beneath the disk punctuate his path with pitches and timbres that vary with the rotation of the metal.