Love Hate Punch
Stefan Gross and Stella Boess are the inventors of the Love Hate Punch, a punching bag that reacts with sound and light to impacts. In 2010, they asked V2_Lab to redesign the hardware and software so that the punching bag could respond to the blows with a greater variety of light and sound reactions. Mr Stock Interfaces contributed deluxe software programming and troubleshooting.
The result is a punching bag as a modular 'Platform for Electronics Abuse'. It can now react in various ways to physical abuse. Light and sound can amplify the punches and intensify or modify the puncher’s experience. The punching bag also responds to the strength of the punch and the place of impact. The redesign turns it into a platform for experimentation: it may evolve into something similar to a musical instrument, a game, or something as yet unknown. What interests the artists about it is how the light and sound reactions can be used to affect the experience of the people interacting with the bag. It should be an immersive experience in which aggression is intensively expressed.
A key technical issue in redesigning the hardware was that more electronics needed to be placed in the bag, and they needed to be better protected from heavy blows. To protect the hardware from the direct impact of punches to the bag, a grid of cross-layered flexible tubing was designed to register the impact. The tube grid wraps around a solid cylinder. It is connected to pressure sensors and modular circuit boards that are hidden inside the cylinder: the clever part. The tube grid makes it possible to determine the exact spot of an impact. This spot reacts to the blow with a light and sound effect, instantly processed by the platform. The light effect can also travel around the bag or affect the entire bag’s light. Despite the very elegant solution of working with an analog system such as the tubing, creating a modular system involves a lot of assembly work. This work was collaboratively done by V2_Lab and the artists.
Love Hate Punch v.2 can be placed autonomously in a space. It has its own supporting structure and creates a space of concentration for interaction with the punching bag. In the coming year it will travel to a number of venues. The programming will be elaborated and developed over time as people are observed interacting with the punching bag. Others (visitors, programmers, artists) may be invited to contribute to the continuing development of the platform.