💥💥 cybernetics, etc 💥💥

Some messy thoughts quoted from + inspired by the cybernetics hangout yesterday.
(It was amazing!!!)

Public optimism
Private sadness

Getting in touch with inner monologue
Looking for freedom
And then I look at Twitter and it’s gone again

Paiks moving dot
Text editor as a game?
Find edges of “designer” intention

User as a passive role
Designer as an elite role

What do users do? So they just use? How do they verb?
There’s a fluidity here between how people contribute and also consume. why is compartmentalizing useful here?

What do I do other than use? What are alternative roles with more agency, more nuance?
Nouns and verbing, both.
Continue reading


lego + webcam + p5 magic

pcom final project boss battle
week 1 —-> week 2 —> week 3 👾

I’ve got a working prototype! (turn on sound)

playing with light

The transparent baseboards came in:

lego magic.gif

I bought a web cam, a logitech C270 that records at 720dpi.
Needs more throw depth right now. Maybe like 1 foot.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 8.43.22 PM.png

There could be opportunities for playing with mirrors to help solve this problem.


computer vision magic

Meanwhile, experimenting with p5.js this week in the lemony glow of my home:


I got a grid of colors to show:

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 12.58.12 AM.png

Then I wrote a function that ONLY will display what is a brick, and is NOT a white background.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 1.30.06 AM.png

The blue has been the hardest to pick up consistently. Sometimes it blends in with the shadows.

audio inspiration

I recorded some sounds with my phone. They’re kinda crude, and I like them that way. I’ve been really into the idea of low-polish, found sounds, and inspired by this video:


❤ 🎵🎶🎵

basic analog circuits: vol. 1

Taking a circuits class with no breadboarding or solder experience has been a huge push away from comfort for me this semester.

It’s been that feeling of wondering, “Jeez, am I the last person in this class to get this?”

it me

Slowly, more than I realize, I’m gaining confidence with reading schematics, designing a breadboard, also debugging.

I wanted to share some of the lab projects from the semester. Some circuits took me weeks just to get right. None of them worked perfectly on the first try. I think that’s really important!

The class emphasizes making things over knowing perfect knowledge, so I don’t know how many of them work in detail. Some black boxes will remain black boxes.

1 – variable voltage divider

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 7.44.24 PM.png

This is a power supply. It takes in AC current and using a transformer unit, transforms that current into DC.

The AC is first directed through the big transformer, which I soldered to the AC wire (and almost electrocuted myself, whoops)


A bridge rectifier made up of diodes forces the current to be (+) instead of fluctuating between (+), ground, and (-).

There’s a massive capacitor storing the charge. I can turn the potentiometer and I can control how much electricity comes out the top two pins.


I use this one as a power supply when testing circuits now. Really satisfying that it works.
Continue reading

sandwich storyboard

ICM final project boss battle
week 1 —-> week 2 👾

is a storyboard a sandwich?

This week I wrote copy text and gathered imgs for my sandwich game.

J gave me the idea to model it after CAPTCHA image testing, which distinguishes bots from humans.


As I started putting it together, the copy text naturally materialized as some sort of weird AI job application procedure….

Here are some simple gifs of “gameplay.”


Applicants are first questioned on their sandwich identification skills…


…then proceeds onto bigger questions. What is professionalism? How do we define it? (It can be a euphemism sometimes.)

Though as a simple AI perhaps you are just looking for straightforward cultural symbols of what it is. Parsing for white men at computers…

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 2.51.50 PM.png

By part 3 in the game, the user doesn’t have any control over which images are chosen.

The user might click on a mother nursing her kid as a “leader,” but all of their choices become ultimately zapped…

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 2.52.24 PM.png

The whole world turns to sandwiches.


lego sequencer 👋play 👆test ✨

pcom final project boss battle
week 1 —-> week 2 👾

Last last week, I built a simple cardboard prototype of my lego music sequencer idea.

I was having some existential ruminations about this idea…. is it interesting enough? unique enough? fun enough? is it even helpful to the world?

In the end, 6 weeks is a short amount of time. I finally decided to just go for it. I ended up getting some nice feedback from a lot of folks.

the design

early sketches:


materials schematic:


interaction schematic:Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 2.09.04 PM

I got some great feedback from one of the residents, Davíd. (thank you!!)

  • it would be conceptually stronger if you could stack the bricks. that’s one of the inherent strengths of the LEGO language
  • the button interface almost seems like it could be a distraction. Or at least an add on. Save that for later
  • think about the 2 axes. different musical instruments? different pitches?
  • found sounds feel a bit more interesting that computer sounds
  • should I even do LEGOs? should I consider making my own pieces for special extra functionality?
  • what if I want to make this into a more open system? should I abandon the grid then?


play test

for the purposes of testing, I made a simple cardboard box (a sandwich, if you will) with printed “lego” paper on top as an affordance.


There is a single row of LED’s which lights up across as a sort of time indicator.

For sound, I used the website “Patatap,” which is a lovely interactive soundkit. I pre-recorded loops and then looped over them in real-time when peeps added new bricks to the canvas.

I was really curious to know:

  • what was people’s initial interaction with it?
  • do they follow the grid… try to stack the LEGOs…
  • what kind of sounds do people prefer?
  • what did people assume the axes were for? do the LED’s get the point across?


Only one person really pursued stacking the LEGOs. I think my user group also knows too much by now of how this would work. (“Oh, p5.js feed with computer vision component, using a bottom camera? of course!”)

Maybe since they’re aware of technical constraints, they’re less tempted to try it.


Some notes:

  • try using a shift register instead of all these LEDs
  • the horizontal plane is nice (as opposed to stacking vertically.)
  • “[building] height might really limit what I can do, limit my musical expression. I’d feel like I’m losing something.”
  • many people thought axes corresponded with pitch and volume
  • most people understood that color mapped to sound quality, or instrument
  • homemade, “found” sounds is more appealing with LEGO aesthetic
  • people liked the idea of recording

momotaro the peach boy

Kellee Massey and I are working together on our After Effects Animation project.

We spent the afternoon on Tuesday looking at lesser known folk-tales from around the world. Stories from Japan, China, West Africa, and North American Lenape origin…

We were both inspired by this famous folk story in Japan, that’s lesser known in the west. It’s called Momotaro, and it’s a classic adventure narrative where a young gifted boy (born out of a peach, mind you) befriends talking animals to go and defeat a greater evil.

Story summary on Wikipedia

Here’s our initial story board:


We’re using these illustrations by Eigorou Futamata:

take 3.png

And in photoshop, separating out the different components:

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 3.05.29 PM

Here’s the original video we’re sourcing images from:




Last week in Animation, we were tasked with creating a 30 second stop motion film. I missed the first class and took this project on solo. 8 hours of filming and editing later…


For the past year or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about how consumer products and appliances have completely abstracted away the planet Earth. Provenance is rendered almost invisible–or is at least totally abstract– and we buy products which somehow magically materialize in warehouses.

Sometimes I look at my phone or computer and I’m astounded that this thing is made out of stuff on Earth.

I’ve been mesmerized by projects like this one:


thomas thwaites attempts to build a toaster “from scratch”

….and admiring phrases like this one:

Software is enchanted sand and crystals written by haunted meat. (src: unknown)

….and writing things in this vein:

on future geologies

Industries scoop back into the story like a spoon, ladling the story that is stone was once light and turning it into a deconstructed pile of syntax, rubbing out the lexicon of rocks, of crystals, of oils, life, melting down the chapter book of planetary history to create a crude vocabulary of things which can be assembled easily on stockroom shelves.

Thousands of stones that were once light and heat fill your home: this spoon, this bulb, this double decker panini press. Some became computers.

These appliances you hold in your hand– they have no interest in storytelling. They are new grammars, existing in isolation; chemically bizarre.

Once upon a time, there was a barcode.

How will it all read, in ten thousand years? When all is piled into an appendix of things we don’t understand, with no beginning and no end—waiting to turn into fire?


I had this image of cooking as a process for transforming raw material into things. Tree into paper, sand into glass… then escalating quickly into Smartphone, which could very well be made of misc. mineral ores, metals…

On Saturday, J and I walked around the playground/park near my house, and I gathered loads of sticks and rocks. I got some fun acrylic rocks from the local fish store:


I was so focused on filming I didn’t take any process shots. A couple thoughts:

  • using a tripod is challenging!
  • how to optimize filming flow between many angled shots
  • i only storyboarded this in my head. how much surprise/fluidity in the process would “real” storyboarding have done?
  • focus check on Dragon Frame is so helpful

I tried to switch up the angling to emphasize different actions.
Some stills from side angle shots:

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 5.43.32 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-08 at 5.44.02 PM

Some stills from top angle:  (cooking, looking in)

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 5.41.59 PMScreen Shot 2017-11-08 at 5.42.10 PM

Here’s everything when filming was done:


I’m really happy with how this came out. For the future: I had this idea to play the film backwards too, which might have some nice poetic effect.