Crossed Wires
September 2022
10 x 10 x 10 in. (approx.)
electrical wires, jewelry wire, electrical components, electrical tape

The material of ancient baskets tells us something of their makers' society and environment. The patterns woven into these baskets preserve knowledge in a form of code, whose ciphers must be passed down through generations or be forever lost to history. 
This basket, made of electrical wires, reflects our modern technological society of electronics and digital connectivity. By turning the switch, six separate messages can be displayed on the top ring of LEDs. These messages may be rewritten using jumper wires attached to the sides. With six jumper wire colors, three LED colors, sixteen LEDs, and six message tracks, this basket explores a vast space of possible patterns and codes to embed information. Yet, just like those ancient baskets, using this basket requires a transfer of knowledge - the knowledge of how to correctly rewire messages; the knowledge of the codes used in these messages; and the knowledge to decipher those codes.
Sample Messages
The first three messages rely on the LED colors only to send simple yes/no/maybe answers.
Message 1​​​​​​​
Message: “YES”
Code: two green LEDs lit
Decoding: green means “go”, a color code for affirmation
Message 2
Message: “NO”
Code: one red LED lit
Decoding: red means “stop”, a color code for negation
Message 3
Message: “MAYBE”
Code: one yellow LED lit
Decoding: yellow means “slow”, a color code for hesitancy
Message 4
The fourth message requires extensive encoding and decoding.
Message: “HI * ; )”
Red jumper from power, Yellow jumper from ground, to Yellow LED (R Y Y)
Red jumper from power, White jumper from ground, to Red LED (R W R)
Blue jumper from power, Black jumper from ground, to Yellow LED (B K Y)
White jumper from power, Blue jumper from ground, to Red LED (W B R)
Blue jumper from power, Black jumper from ground, to Red LED (B K R)
Decoding: use Color-Code, which maps jumper/LED color combinations to symbols.
Each LED needs two jumpers: one to power, one to ground.
Each jumper can be one of six colors: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, White, or blacK (RGBYWK).
In this code, we consider only Red and Yellow LEDs (RY).
Therefore, for any LED connection, there are 6 x 6 x 2 = 72 possible color combinations.
These combinations, notated as [ GROUND JUMPER LED ], are mapped to symbols as follows:
Thus, we uncover the message:
(R Y Y) —> H
(R W R) —> I
(B K Y) —> *
(W B R) —> ;
(B K R) —> )
Message 5
The fifth message uses the order of connections to draw a visual message using chords of the circle.
Message 6
The sixth message is left blank, for you to wire up as you please.