Friday, December 2, 2011

Rain Station: Drip Irrigation System (Phase III/Final)

Rain Station: Drip Irrigation System

Gardens are often centers of social convergence for growers who collaborate in producing food sources while sharing the knowledge of their horticultural expertise. In addition to the productive yield that defines the garden space, it has throughout history been a center for aesthetic enjoyment for variety of social groups, including the general public. Those who invest their time in the meticulous care required to produce a flourishing garden, rely on an effective means of irrigation and fertilization. Communities and organizations responsible for maintaining our urban gardens are required to be particularly inventive, compensating for the inherent lack of space fertile space that defines the city by nurturing growth in the soil that lies among the building structures and sprawling asphalt surfaces.

Although cultivating gardens on a smaller scale generally assumes relatively modest yields when compared with larger land plots that are the norm in rural agricultural productions, it also provide a means to more easily manage the maintenance involved in successful plant growth. To afford the urban grower with a more effective means of watering groups of plants in a confined social space I have created the Rain Station gravity irrigator which provides an ongoing water source to up to eight plant areas at one time. It invites cooperation and social interaction by providing a center of convergence as to a group of gardeners in a community setting as well as providing the individual gardener with a water source for up to 8 separate areas that may be as far as 10 feet from the station.

The main body of the unit is made up of a 3 foot length of 4 inch white PVC tubing, with a 90 degree PVC Elbow connector attached at each end, so that they create a symmetry to the form. Covering each of these ends is a PVC cap. In the finished kit, these can either be glued permanently in place or can be fitted with a wide rubber band and forced tightly into the opening of each elbow. This design has proven to stay securely in place and are sufficient to secure the unit against leaking once it is filled with water. Baster tubes are fitted into 4 holes in each of the PVC caps and are secured in place by the lip at the larger opening of the baster. A 10 foot length of vinyl tubing is fitted to tip of each baster and equipped with a with a 0.5 gph (gallons per hour) spot watering emitter at the opposite end that regulates the rate of water provided to the plants. The threaded 3/4” circular opening at the top of the unit enables manual filling or can be used to modify the unit into a “rain fed” self-filling system when fitted with additional hosing.

The appearance of the kit is designed to fit with a modern urban aesthetic, that could compliment the white minimal aesthetic of a greenhouse interior or an outdoor garden that features a more contemporary modular appearance.

Featuring only a modest number of parts of no more than 3 feet in length, the Rain Station kit can easily be easy shipped to anywhere in the world and assembled in under an hour. With tubing branching out to deliver the water to multiple sources at a time, the Rain Station irrigation kit design serves as a model of resource conservation for how the collective can lessen water usage by regulating its dispersal to specific locations it is needed while also cooperating in harvesting a renewable resource through crop cultivation.

Kit Contents

450-015 1-1/2" Schedule 40 PVC Plug $0.82

(2) Oatey 4 in. ABS Insert Test Cap with Knockout Model # 39103 Store SKU # 508288 $0.35 /EA-Each (Home Depot)

(1) 4 in. x 2 ft. PVC Sch. 40 DWV Foam Core Pipe $6.56

(2)"CHARLOTTE" PVC/DWV *Street elbow 90 degree *Schedule 40 *Bulk *Discovery CON, NBR, SUP *4" $5.54

(8) Turkey Baster Family Chef Basting Set $1 (The Family Dollar

(1)OATEY 8Oz Lovoc Pvc Reg Clear Cmt By Oatey $2.62


Industrial Grade 1MNF6 Hex Head Plug, 3/4 In, Threaded, Blk Steel $1.67

3/8" ID Clear Vinyl Tubing (100') $8.40

(8) Rainbird Rain Bird Corp. Consumer SW05/10PK Spot Watering Emitters $4.25

Total: $44.96

Tools required: pen, Protracter, Ruler, electric drill, 3/4in spade bit. 11/16 spade bit.

Distribution & Availability

Available @ Etsy

Assembly Instructions, Sketches and Documentation

1. Cut Vinyl tubing into 8 10Ft lengths with a box cutter or scissors.

2. Positioning it on a flat surface, position one of the 4” PVC Knock-Out Caps and place on its face so that the back is facing up.

3. With the protractor positioned on the center protrusion, draw a line on the diameter across the cap. (Note: before drawing your first line, be sure that the line will sit with at least 1/2 clearance from the protruding tab on the opposite face of the cap. This will assure that drilling the holes in the next steps will not be a problem).

4. Lining up the newly drawn line to the center 90 degree mark on the proctractor, draw another line across the cap so that you have drawn an “X” across the center with 90 degree angles.

5. Using the ruler, place a small mark 1 inch from the center on each of the 4 lines that now extend from the center of the cap.

6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 with the second knock-out cap.

7. Using a power drill with a 11/16” spade bit, carefully drill a hole on each of the 4 marks that were created in step 5.

8. Repeat step 7 with the second knock-out cap.

9. Detach the rubber bulb from each of the 8 turkey basters so that you are left with only the tapered tube portion.

10. Will some force, carefully push the wide end of the baster tube so that it pops into a hole in one of the knock-out caps (so that lip of the wide end is just exposed through the side of the cap that we made measurements on.

11. Repeat step 10 until all of the baster tubes are positioned securely in the 4 holes in each cap.

12. Using the Silicone Sealant, add a wide bead to the outer edge of the where each of the tube ends meet the cap. (Allow the silicone on each cap to dry for 48 hours before exposing to water).

13. Repeat this process on the other side of the cap.

14. Measure to the mid-point of the 2 foot PVC Tube and make an “X” mark with a pen or pencil.

15. Using the power drill with the 3/4” spade bit, carefully drill a hole into the tube.

16. Using the steel hex head plug, screw the plug into the hole with a wrench so that it creates a thread in the hole.

17. Remove the steel plug and replace it with the PVC plug.

18. Apply a generous layer of PVC cement the to inside ring of the larger opening of the one of the PVC elbows.

19. Fasten the 90 degree adapter securely over one end of the PVC tube so that the center plug is facing 180 degree opposite the opening of the elbow.

20. Repeat Steps 17 and 18 while attaching the other PVC elbow to the tube. If done correctly the unit should now be able to rest upright on the two openings in the PVC elbows.

21. After 48 hours, apply a layer of PVC cement to the outside wall of the knock-out cap.

22. Fit securely into the opening of the PVC elbow so that baster tubes are protruding away from the unit.

23. Repeat steps 20 and 21 as you attach the other knock-out cap.

24. Note: This next step must be done with much care. Twist and push each vinyl tube opening until 1/2” covers the pointed end of each of the 8 baster tubes. To do this without damaging the silicone seal you must apply enough counter pressure with your other hand to negate the force against the tube base. Excess pressure and movement against the base could damage the silicone seal and allow water to leak from the unit. If this occurs. Drain the unit. Once it is dry apply sealant to the edge of where the tubes project out of the knock out-cap.

Note: You may find it easier to attach the nylon tubing before adhering the knock-out caps into place (as shown below)

25. Silicone the black tip of the spot watering emmiters into the opening at the end of the nylon tubing.

26. If all glue and sealant was applied correctly, the unit should be completely sealed and should retain water after the 48 hour dry time.

27. Apply water into the unit through the 3/4” threaded hole in the top.

28. Elevate with nylon rope or straps several feet above the watering area.

Phase 3 - On-Site Installation Documentation: Greenhouse at University of Illinois Chicago

Thursday, December 1, 2011

PseudoCam Final Update


PseudoCam is a multi-purpose, user-constructed attention modification object. The overall objective of the object is channel the interest of people that want to draw attention to something while also, eventually reflecting attention back to the audience. The user ultimately determines how the PseudoCam should function, and their choice of materials and placement strategy flow from that initial choice. For example, a user could use multiple, brightly-colored PseudoCams to drive a temporary, alternative history tour of a city. By reading directions written on or contained in the hollow form of the PseudoCam, a “flash-tour” of participants can be directed around a location. Or, the PseudoCam can be constructed to be unobtrusive, and therefore have the possibility of surprising the viewer--not only with the notion of pervasive surveillance (as referenced by the PseudoCam's shape), but also with their own reflection--as both the enablers and subjects of the surveillance--via the PseudoCam's mirror. The creator of a PseudoCam gets to decide how and what the PseudoCam means to other through how they decide to use one.

One of the originally envisioned functions of the PseudoCam functions to highlight the role of panopticism in society. In Michel Foucault’s text, Discipline and Punish, he describes Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon--a hypothetical architecture that allows occupants to be controlled through perpetual, perfect observation--as a social structure that has created broad social control through self-imposed surveillance in the service of disciplinary compliance. Foucault describes the panoptic social structure as being not merely imposed on individuals by external forces, but actually self-enforced; the strictures of disciplinary control are internalized by the individual out of a fear of being observed violating the social standards of behavior (and the punishment that may result). Thus, although social control is initialized by the imposition of a system upon the individual, it is ultimately constructed by and sustained within the individual.

The exercise of constructing a PseudoCam can refer to the significance of self-surveillance in both practice and material form. The general form--a camera--is an unambiguous reference to the technology of observation. Although it is a socially distributed design, a PseudoCam is hand-made; the effort of the individual is required for construction, much as the effort of the individual ties them to disciplinary norms. The mirror contained in the PseudoCam reflects only that which is visible in the aperture of the “lens”; in examining the PseudoCam, the viewer reveals themselves to be the subject.

Because the PseudoCam is visually identifiable as a camera-type object by its form, it can evoke the potentially aggressive attributes of a camera without actually being invasive. By being inexpensive, small, and light, the PseudoCam can be deployed easily and unobtrusively in locations that allow the element of surprise when discovered by others. It is through the mechanism of surprise that the PseudoCam is able to function effectively; the process of noticing, recognizing, and investigating an installed PseudoCam allows an uninitiated subject to confront the phenomena of pervasive, distributed surveillance, but also the self-imposition of that surveillance by the members of society.


Construction directions available at Vegetarian in a Leather Jacket art blog
Participation portal available on Flickr at PseudoCam Sightings

Friday, November 11, 2011

Phase II Statement- Jon

Brick Tags

Graffiti has been one of the most aesthetically transformative forms of public artwork that has emerged in the last 40 years. It has changed the urban landscape and social space from dull, blank canvases to sometimes beautiful swaths of color, concept and design. In Chicago, you can’t buy spray paint, and there exists a clan of “Graffiti Blasters” that take to the street and claimed to have blasted over 1.6 million instances of graffiti vandalism. According to the city of Chicago’s website, “Graffiti is vandalism, it scars the community, hurts property values and diminishes our quality of life.”  How many of these 1.6 million instances were brightening the community? Graffiti has even become part of the art institution, with artists like Banksy, Margaret Kilgallen, Fab Five Freddie, etc. showing in esteemed museums and sold at auction houses. Who owns the urban landscape, the city or the people who live there?
            This project creates graffiti kits that are distributed in two different ways. The first consists of pieces of colored paper that coincide with bricklaying patterns, instructions on how to form different patterns that reflect the different brick laying techniques, along with paste and a brush inside a designed box. The English, Flemish, Stretcher, and American bonds are the most common bricklaying techniques in the urban environment and are embodiments of the neighborhoods characteristics and history. The templates of the brick patterns and colors (pieces of paper in the physical kits) are also available online, so anyone, anywhere will be able to participate in the project by downloading and cutting them out. There are also QR codes available that will create and interactive experience for people walking down the street. The QR codes will consist of educational information about the place where the tags are installed, or emotional states that the installer wants to convey. This way the graffiti becomes a source of further exploration for the public through the technological architecture of smart phones. People from outside of the Chicago will be able to participate with the QR codes by creating their own, printing them, cutting them out and integrating them with the project. Of course, once in the hands of a potential consumer or user, they can do whatever they want, but the true form of this piece would emerge from these instructions.
             I chose bricks as the specific form to reference because they are ubiquitous as building materials, therefore part of our everyday experience, create patterns, and have a dull, boring color. The aesthetics of the finalized piece take cues from conceptual art (Sol Lewitt), the architectural line, color pallets from graffiti art, and technology. By having this project also exist free and open sourced alongside the physical kit, the ethics of graffiti culture are kept real. Educating or emoting through graffiti and technology is something that I’m also interested in too, as the graffiti then becomes an attribute to the urban landscape, instead of a “problem”.

Images and templates:


Tiffany Funk - Phase II

Chaz Evans, Autonomy Bag - Phase II

Public policy and the behaviors directed by it can be interpreted like any part of visual culture. Flows of traffic, acceptable standards in public square and parks, particular codes of consumer behavior all function as a kind of performance art correlative to billboards, signage, public sculpture and architectural delimitation.

Take, for instance, open container laws. In Chicago, a closed container containing a consumable substance such as alcohol is acceptable in public ways. The same substance, once its container has been opened, is considered an infraction of acceptable public behavior, unless contained within some larger boundary (such as a bar or festival). This policy engenders a kind of streamlined and physically locatable character to Chicago's alcohol consumptive behaviors. While this keeps alcohol out of certain space it also creates a kind of focused intensity of alcohol-enabled relationships. This is an interesting contrast from a different regional open container policy such as in New Orleans, where the free roam of open containers engenders ostentatious and diffuse alcohol-enabled relationships.

Between these two examples of how open-container laws construct cultural space lies a strange an arbitrary opportunity for hybridity. Not entirely a law (more a folk-law such as the “dibs” parking system in winter snow), but widely accepted as a tolerable standard of behavior is the brown bag rule. One can wrap their open-container in a brown bag, and then consume it in public space. Although the paper wrap itself remains as a visual indicator of possible impropriety, those who utilize the brown bag have a modest opportunity of agency in the open-container system.

This project considers altering the the conditions of social space, and the human behavior therein, by re-figuring the brown bag rule, while altering it spatially and structurally. If the visual attention of the brown bag in public engenders neither the radical comradery of New Orleans or the intensified drinking relationships of Chicago, perhaps an inversion of what is contained can provide an atomized unit of both. By containing not the beverage, but a small social situation itself within a brown bag, hybrid, radical, and ephemeral social spaces could be engendered through use of very modest materials.

The autonomy bag is simply a large portable brown paper bag, designed for two. It transposes the restriction of open containers, and the momentary agency allowed by the brown bag rule, to human scale. Instead of alcohol, you are the controlled substance; the open container. The bag, of course, contains its participant, but as a mobile technology offers the user an ephemeral agency on when and where containment takes place.

The bag is now available and open to the public for use. It is currently available only in the Chicago area, and was designed with the open container laws in Chicago in mind. In this its inaugural phase, it is specifically meant to serve Chicagoans who are interested in excercising momentary and experimental autonomy on public space where certain behaviors enabled by the bag might not normally occur. Drinking alcohol inside the bag is only one option. Anyone who wants to use the bag for a week may find and exercise their own activities that the bag engenders. Participants are encouraged to document and share their experience using the bag, but this is not mandatory. I am currently distributing the bag in three ways. First, anyone in Chicago may request to use it for a week by emailing This notice of its availability is accessible from Second, I am making direct offers/solicitations of the bag to particular individuals who I think might be able to productively use the bag in interesting ways. Third, I plan on bringing the bags to public space through direct engagement. That is to say, going to a particular socially charged event and offering the bags to whoever might want to use them.

Or, you can also make your own at home.

How to make your own Autonomy Bag


  • 48 inch roll of brown craft paper.

  • Tape measure

  • Scissors

  • Clear tape

  • Rubber cement

  • Stencil set

  • Black spraypaint

Steps toward assembly:

  1. Roll out brown paper and measure off 138 inches in length. Cut that piece off at a nice perpendicular.

  2. Using your friendship with gravity, fold the length of that piece into even thirds. Make both of the creases fold in the same direction.

  1. Fold each outer third into halves. Once again, make sure the crease direction is following the same direction as the earlier folds.

  1. Make a perpendicular fold at 14 inches off one of the short sides. Fold in the same direction as the other folds.

  1. Turn your focus on the second and fifth sections of sixths, counting from the length-wise side. Let say you are standing at the long edge, and the other long side with the perpendicular fold is opposite you. For each, you want to mark a point which is at the center of both columns, and one half the column's width below the perpendicular fold.

  1. Draw lines from those spots, which intersect with the corners of the perpendicular folds and run all the way to the edge of the paper.

  1. Fold these lines in the direction opposite to all the folds.

  1. Now we can begin using these creases to form the paper into a bag-like cube. It is helpful to do this with the short perpedicular fold flush against the floor and with the long edge sides standing up. It is most helpful to have a trusted bag-folding companion hold these sides up for you while you fold.

    Check point!

    At this point you should have a pre-folded rectangle of brown paper that resembles this reference sheet. The next step is folding which is a little tricker to conceptualize so in this reference images key folding lines are highlighted. Red lines fold toward the interior of the cube and blue lines fold toward the exterior.

  2. Now turn the first side of the bag into a right angle. The diagonal fold (or blue line) will fold under the large flap of leftover length from the perpendicular fold. Fold it down nice. The fold creates a diagonal from the corner you just created. Tape this corner in place wherever seems most helpful.

    If you are having trouble conceptualizing how the corner fold works here is a demonstration of the one corner fold in miniature for reference.

  1. Continue to fold the bag sides at right angles. Allow the diagonal folds (again, represented by the blue lines in the reference image) to slip under the bag and keep taping to keep your form.

  1. Once you have folded all four corners, bring the two seams together and tape them in place. During this whold holding and taping process you'll probably want someone holding the edges up for you.

  1. Carefully hop in the bag with the rubber cement. Begin cementing all of the creases on the interior. Hold it there for a bit to let it dry.

  1. Now we have the form. Flip it upside-down and prop it up on some high standing object that fits in it. I used two bar-stools.

  1. Spread rubber cement on any exterior creases necessary to add extra strength. Allow the cement to dry.

  1. Fold top of the bag down to one side. This naturally collapses the bag and creates creases on the short ends.

  1. Now bring the flattened bag to a well ventilated area. Lay it flat on a surface and arrange the stencils on the front of the bag to say "autonomy bag."

  1. Lightly spraypaint the letter forms in the stencils and let dry.

  1. There you have it. You and possibly a partner may now experience a makeshift and momentary structure of autonomy in otherwise interpellated constructions of social space.

  2. If you like you may fold the flattened bag into thirds and easily stash and port the bag inside a standard CVS trash bag.

    The full set of initial use documentation and construction documentation is available on Flickr.

    Construction method also available on instructables.