The PLANKS are an aesthetic experimentation curious as to how computers can change the expressions of a traditional material like wood. Through the computations, the PLANKS translate one type of event into another. The measured sounds are translated into movements in the PLANKS. Through the computations the wood gains an ability to change expressions beyond that of traditional patina. Its expressions can now be designed to continuously change and change back according to current contextual conditions.

The PLANKS are inspired by plywood where the organization in layers enable new and improved properties in the wood. The PLANKS comprises three layers. The surface layer, responsible for the outward expression, consists of a thin plank of pine and an electret microphone. The second layer is the "adhesive" layer, which transforms the impulses from the surface layer into the computational layer. It comprises: a structure to carry the construction, a servomotor, a switch, metal gearing, wiring, a threaded rod, and bolts. The third layer is the computational layer and holds a small computer equipped with a simple algorithm, a microphone amplifier, and a potentiometer.

The PLANKS are not a material but a materialized idea of one. They are an obvious obscure combination of elements intended to make an audience imagine different combinations and possibilities.

The PLANKS are made in collaboration with artist henrik menné.


bergström, jenny, clark, brendon, Frigo, Alberto, ramia mazé , johan redström & Vallgårda, Anna (2010): "Becoming materials: material forms and forms of practice", Digital Creativity, 21(3), pp.155-172 [url]

Vallgårda, Anna & Tomas Sokoler (2010): "Material Computing - Computational Materials" In Adjunct Proc. Ubicomp '10 Copenhagen, Denmark, September 26-29, 383-384 [pdf, acm]

PLANKS in Transmaterial 3, ed. Blaine Brownell, New York, NY, USA: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010 [amazon]

Vallgrda, Anna (2008): "PLANKS: A Computational Composite" In Proceedings of the Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Lund, Sweden, October 20 - 22, 2008 [pdf, acm]


The PLANKS were demoed at ubicomp September 27 - 29 2010 in Copenhagen The PLANKS were exhibited at the IT University of Copenhagen from February 26 untill March 12 2009