lego sequencer 👋play 👆test ✨

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

lego_mixer.png

materials schematic:

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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.

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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.

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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
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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:

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We’re using these illustrations by Eigorou Futamata:

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And in photoshop, separating out the different components:

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

 

 

“source”

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…

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inspiration

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:

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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?

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process

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:

IMG_20171105_193309.jpg

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)

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Here’s everything when filming was done:
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(whew!)

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.

words are trojan horses

ranting to a friend about words, abridged version. [references @ the end]

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references

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on monolinguism + framing inversions:
(read)

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on carnism + framing inversions:

(read)

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(you can also see how many MORE search results for veganism versus carnism. this could be for a number of reasons. but see that we don’t even have a vocabulary for the “default choice,” because we’ve never had to think of it as a choice?)

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Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 4.29.41 PM

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on rape culture + passive voice
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on “bad words”
(linked to start @ halfway)


language is a technology. words are POWER! 🔥🔥

there are so many more examples of this in the world. If you have any to share, pls message me here or via facebook, if we’ve connected on there!! I would love to hear from others on this.

icm final: work + art + sandwiches 🍞

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tldr;

I want to design a p5.js game where you are in charge of deciding what a sandwich is… and eventually you are in charge of larger definitions too, like what art is, and what work is.


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work? art?

I’ve raved a lot about this Ursula Le Guin piece by now…. which has been sitting in my mind and igniting all sorts of things for the past year.

It’s such a good read.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about words. What they mean, how they define and restrict human activity, how they create dominant culture, how they exclude groups from power

I focus on this quote from Le Guin specifically, since it sums up well what I want to illustrate.

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So what even is work? How are we parameterizing these words—words which are NOT objective whatsoever but often designed like gated gardens?

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 3.27.16 PM

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why sandwiches?

Before sandwiches, there was soup (probably, this is broadly true.)

I played this game last week called Something Something Soup Something, where you play an alien entity tasked with serving humans soup. Only, you don’t know what humans think is soup!

You have the very grand responsibility of defining what soup-ness is.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 3.27.18 PM

As I was playing this game, I thought of how people on the internet have been debating what sandwiches are.

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

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The discussion has become so intense (lol) that people have created charts like this to navigate your sandwich philosophy personality type.

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Is a sandwich defined just as substrates A, between substrates B?
If no, then what?

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the segue

Somehow (somehow), I’m going to transition from asking people about whether something is a sandwich… to asking if a sandwich qualifies as art.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 3.27.41 PM

And what about making sandwiches? Is it work?Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 3.27.48 PM

I want to escalate to increasingly domestic and “non-work” tasks until the player might even think it’s absurd.

I’m reminded of an exhibit at the Whitney called, The History of Protest Art. I haven’t seen, but I would love to.

As one protest, an “artist” invited people to do an activity for an hour, like walking, surfing the internet, eating a snack, and call it “ART.”

So, it ought to be as mundane and as everyday as those tasks. But I would like there to be a tilt towards economics, gender… economics of gender.

Custodians, lunch ladies, construction workers as artists, for instance.

pcom final: creative canvases 🎨✨

what am i making?

Here’s a braindump of some recent ideas…

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…like an object-oriented, physical programming interface. (too vague, too ambitious)

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… like a sequencer which uses legos.

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…like extended interfaces for cam doodler, where you can draw with your camera.

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…. or this soft jacket where kids can play test their vocabulary for emotions.

 

inspiration + values

These are some references I’ve been thinking about as recently as last month, and as long ago as 4 years…!

Eventually, these will be coalescing in the direction of the thesis. If anything, I’d like to think of this as a first pass in thesis mindset.

What’s important for me:

  • it’s an open system. You don’t need to buy the starter kit, the expansion pack.  You can introduce new materials from your world. The entire world is your palette— with all its atomic, material richness. Create possibilities that the inventor never thought of!
  • it’s low cost. This relates to open-ness: I don’t want it to feel too precious. If your materials are lost or broken, they can be replaced. I don’t want this to be some project in an ivory institutional tower that is expensive and/or looks expensive.
  • it’s humane. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be challenging. But it acknowledges what people already tend to do.
  • it’s fun!!!

Continue reading

gaaaaames

I’ve been thinking about (and playing) games…

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paperclips

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Frank Lantz tweets, “Aren’t all games a parody of work?”

Funny thing, the system seemed less closed the moment I plugged in my “real” material laptop… into “real” electric power overnight… so that I could continue farming virtual paperclips.

 

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soup-making

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Is a hot dog a sandwich? Is chutney a jam?

I got to play an alien making soup for humans. This game about soup philosophy has me thinking about fun ways to show how words are human-made things.


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a lecture on everything

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Last week David O’Reilly came to talk at NYU. “Everything,” is such a beautiful game…

“And you’re confronted with MEANINGLESSNESS, when we’re basically distracting you from frame optimization.”