Christina Elizabeth Hall

Collective Narrative Final – Peddle Project (working title)


For my final project in Collective Narrative, I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and try a concept that I wasn’t sure how it would play out.  I wanted to combine technical aspects with storytelling, the classroom space and also attempt to include all the students in this storytelling experience. I wanted to have this projects to be a collective story.


I wanted to create a man’s life, that had passed away, to appear in our minds as the students in the class participated in telling the stories about the man from pushing a peddle at their will.

I wanted to create a funeral scene.  In the middle of the circular-position desks of the class room I built a coffin and had it draped with a black cloth.

I recorded stories of friends that have had a male pass away in their lives.  It could either be someone close to them or a friend’s story.  I recorded 14 stories, one for each student in the class. I asked that each story not include a location, name, or reason for why he passed away so that there were not conflicting stories in the project.


I then wired up 14 foot peddles to an Arduino and played the audio pieces using serial communication and p5.js on a local server.

Here is the Arduino code:

const int switchOnePin = 19; // the number of the pushbutton pin
const int switchTwoPin = 2;
const int switchThreePin = 3;
const int switchFourPin = 4;
const int switchFivePin = 5;
const int switchSixPin = 6;
const int switchSevenPin = 7;
const int switchEightPin = 8;
const int switchNinePin = 9;
const int switchTenPin = 10;
const int switchElevenPin = 11;
const int switchTwelvePin = 12;
const int switchThirteenPin = 13;
const int switchFourteenPin = 14;

bool switchOnePressed = false;
bool switchTwoPressed = false;
bool switchThreePressed = false;
bool switchFourPressed = false;
bool switchFivePressed = false;
bool switchSixPressed = false;
bool switchSevenPressed = false;
bool switchEightPressed = false;
bool switchNinePressed = false;
bool switchTenPressed = false;
bool switchElevenPressed = false;
bool switchTwelvePressed = false;
bool switchThirteenPressed = false;
bool switchFourteenPressed = false;
// variables will change:
int switchState = 0; // variable for reading the pushbutton status

void setup() {
 // setup serial
 // initialize the pushbutton pin as an input:
 pinMode(switchOnePin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchTwoPin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchThreePin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchFourPin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchFivePin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchSixPin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchSevenPin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchEightPin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchNinePin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchTenPin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchElevenPin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchTwelvePin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchThirteenPin, INPUT);
 pinMode(switchFourteenPin, INPUT);
void loop() {
 if (!switchOnePressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchOnePin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchOnePressed = true;

if (!switchTwoPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchTwoPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchTwoPressed = true;
if (!switchThreePressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchThreePin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchThreePressed = true;

if (!switchFourPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchFourPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchFourPressed = true;

if (!switchFivePressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchFivePin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchFivePressed = true;
if (!switchSixPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchSixPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchSixPressed = true;

if (!switchSevenPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchSevenPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchSevenPressed = true;
if (!switchEightPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchEightPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchEightPressed = true;

if (!switchNinePressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchNinePin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchNinePressed = true;

if (!switchTenPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchTenPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchTenPressed = true;
if (!switchElevenPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchElevenPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchElevenPressed = true;

if (!switchTwelvePressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchTwelvePin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchTwelvePressed = true;

if (!switchThirteenPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchThirteenPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchThirteenPressed = true;
if (!switchFourteenPressed) {
 switchState = digitalRead(switchFourteenPin);
 if (switchState == LOW) {
 switchFourteenPressed = true;

Here is the p5.js code:

var serial; // variable to hold an instance of the serialport library
var fromSerial = 0; //variable to hold the data
var buttonValue;
var currentVoice;
var lindseyD;
var orianaNTwo;

function preload() {
 lindseyD = loadSound('assets/LD.mp3');
 orianaNTwo = loadSound('assets/ON2.mp3');

function setup() {
 serial = new p5.SerialPort(); // make a new instance of serialport librar 
 serial.on('list', printList); // callback function for serialport list event
 serial.on('data', serialEvent); // callback for new data coming in 
 serial.list(); // list the serial ports"/dev/cu.usbmodem1421"); // open a port

function draw() {


function switchAudio(newVoice) {
 if (currentVoice && currentVoice.stop) {
 currentVoice = newVoice;;
 playing = true;

// get the list of ports:
function printList(portList) {
 for (var i = 0; i < portList.length; i++) {
 // Display the list the console:
 console.log(i + " " + portList[i]);


function serialEvent() {
 var inString = serial.readLine();
 if (inString.length > 0) {
 inString = inString.trim();
 buttonValue = Number(inString); 
 if(buttonValue === 2){

 if(buttonValue === 3) {

The only rules I gave to the class when I started the experiment was that you can push you peddle whenever you like, but you only have one chance to do so.

There are two aspects to this projects that I was curious how it would play out:

  1. the social dynamics of how groups participate in a collective storytelling experience. Are people shy with participating? Are they quick to interact? Especially since they were only able to contribute their story once.
  2. We we be able to create the life of the individual that has died at the funeral by having different stories told by different people and be able to know him better even if he is a fictional person? Can we create this “man” in our minds from the stories that we hear from his loved ones in the room?


Class 4 Readings + Object assignment


In the reading, Leslie Bedford talks about how storytelling, if done correctly, can have a profound effect, a “transformative experience” to the viewer.  I truly feel that the most well told stories have an ever lasting effect on the individual and these are the type of stories that I want to create.  It helps to keep a critical eye on the reason why you are telling the story and if the correct message and feeling is being captured.

“…stories are powerful because they do not fill in all the blanks. They open up a space into which the listener’s own thoughts, feelings and memories can flow and expand. They inspire an internal dialogue and this ensure a real connection.”  – Garrison Keillor. This is a really powerful quote that I think should be something that I refer back to whenever I try to tell a story. With this in mind, now that I reflect, some of the films that I worked on in the past that were less successful were the ones that had way too much dialogue and detail leaving no room for the individual viewer’s interpretation.

For my object assignment, I wanted to work with a different medium.  Thus using slides as my object seemed like a perfect nostalgic way to tell my story about the origin of the slides and how I came to possess them.

I wanted to project the slides on the wall as I talked about the their story.  Here is a 360 video that shows me going through the slides for the first time at my house:

Here is the story I attached to the slide show in class: Fist Full of Slides – Object for Collective Narrative

Singular Narrative in Parts


For this assignment, we were asked to tell a story in parts.  Either opposing perspectives or similar position enforcing a particular topic.

I really resonate with the format of how This American Life tells stories, so I was eager to have an episode assigned as one of the homework tasks for this week. I do really like how they strengthen one narrative with multiple perspectives and I wanted to see if I could create a similar style audio piece for my assignment.

Even though I had a great time creating this project, I am also really interested in telling the stories of opposing individuals.  If I had more than a week to do this project, I probably would have gone in this direction. I feel that showing both sides of the story can really strengthen the the concept of the narrative.

In the TED talk by Chimamanda Adichie, she talks about the danger of a single story, and  I think this is very true and we are living the result of this concept in our current political position.  I don’t have a single friend, unless they’re not willing to admit it, that voted for our current President Elect. After the shocking results from the election, it is very clear that we need to immerse ourselves outside our tight knit communities and hear other people’s stories.  Stories that we might not regularly hear being engrossed in stories that are similar to our own.  I think telling the story from both perspective is very interesting and given the time to do it well, it can be really powerful. 

The individuals that I told the stories for, are women in my community, so it was easier for me to pull together a story— not to diminishing the minorities in tech story, because it is extremely important one to tell. But to reach out of your community to individuals that don’t trust you to get them to tell you their stories, I feel, takes time.  Building relationships where a person feels comfortable to share their personal stories is not something you can necessarily do in a week.  That’s why I ended up reaching out to individuals in a community that knew they could trust me with their stories. Given that however, I want to try to create a story this year that has the opposing perspective —just going to put that there…

Here is my audio response to the assignment –

Minorities in Tech:


Location-Centered Narrative Experience


In response to our trip to the African Burial Ground fieldtrip in downtown Manhattan, Lindsey, Alex and myself decided to take to the streets of New York City and tell and some old tales from in a bar that’s over 150 years old— McSorely’s Old Ale House.

Lindsay frequented the bar when she was in undergrad only to find out that her father also frequented the joint when he was in his late teens.  We thought that it would be a great story to capture the essence of the historic bar while having the modern twist of some more recent tales.  We decided to shoot this piece in 360 video* so that we could attempt to visualize the experience you might have if you planned to have an evening at McSorley’s.

This was our journey from the floor of ITP, to the bar, from seat, to seat, to seat.  In the end we were smiling having gone through a new and wonderful experience in a location that we may never would have experienced without this project to guide us.


*because this is 360 video, you can drag your mouse in the video to change the perspective and see the whole scene