In the third episode of The Art Assignment, artist Toyin Odutola prompts viewers to create a gif of something intimate and indispensable.
I wasn’t initially going to participate, but I was in the circuits lab early Friday morning to finish a project with my friends, and I eventually had the place to myself after they left for class. I was playing around with some optional stuff at the end of the lab and ended up building a sample-and-hold circuit. When I hooked it up to the oscilloscope, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it worked exactly as expected with little to no troubleshooting – and trust me, that’s a rare occurrence. I found the simplicity and beauty of the waveforms mesmerizing, so I recorded them.
The circuits lab is an intimate place to me because, as a future electrical engineer, I will spend a significant portion of my time as an undergraduate in this well-lit, well-equipped room. And for electrical engineers, nothing is more indispensable than an oscilloscope. This instrument is the best way for us to see what is happening in all those wires and components we’ve hacked together.
Without oscilloscopes, we are as good as blind. But with them, we become privy to secrets only electrons know.