Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
It is impressive how easy is to connect with people through online platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Nowadays we broadcast our lives to the world through microblogging or status messages. Of course the global village presents endless beautiful consequences, but at the same time, the more interconnected we are while using these platforms, the less connected we are to the people that surrounds us in our everyday life.
Some decades ago, people lives were interrelated with their neighbours, while now our cell phones, as well as our online platforms create the paradox or being more strongly connected with more distant people than with our neighbours. This easy to make DIY project pretends to blend the beautiful things of both worlds: connectivity with the people that surrounds us.
We live in neighborhoods that are composed not only by houses, but also by people. Nevertheless our relation to them is often nearly non-existent. The paradox of being easier to broadcast a status message about us to the whole world through tweeter as opposed to the difficulty of expressing our ideas to the people that literally surrounds us is at stake.
Tweet at your place is a DIY kit to allows you to microbolg (like we do on Twitter) in the facades of our homes in a completely “analog” way.
Photos of components + usage
Tweet at your place! (the analog way) - More DIY How To Projects
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Out of concern that it may over-construct the experience or over shape it, I have opted to avoid the original plan for the web site/blog. I will only utilize the instructables site because I feel that is the best way to not become the architect of the experience, and instead just lay the foundation for users to create their own experience with the project.
Better than a barrel full of sea monkeys! The project relies on projection but modern signifier of quality do not apply. Resolution, size, etc are all construct of consumerism in media and this project aims to put back storytelling into the picture and often takes the shape of the fire on the wall or the storyteller in the village standing by the fire weaving a good one as you sit there in a late evening haze.
Update: it looks like the project has been featured:
FINAL POSITION STATEMENT
As my first DIY project intended for the public, I have struggled quite a bit with what it was I wanted to put forward—both in terms of the physical project itself and how I would contextualize my work in the form of a $25 DIY kit meant to create social space. My background is primarily in making work that is screen-based and computational, so I spent a great deal of time in the ideation phase for this project. Since it is theme-specific, and as the final kits were required to be under $25 to build, I initially felt severely limited in any project I wanted to create.
In the end, I decided to perfect a simple momentary switch I had built for a few projects in the past. It is an extremely simple DIY electronics project, but I feel that it is one that beginning makers might wish to try. It is easy to integrate into a variety of projects, and has myriad uses. Parallel to this process, I had been experimenting with trapezoidal pleating, particularly for folded paper forms. After a few weeks of research and trial-and-error, I came up with a pattern and methodology to fold diamond pleated paper forms that were suitable for my piece. I created a template in Adobe Illustrator that anyone can download to create a similar paper form—with additions or subtractions to the fold intersections, the template can be modified to make many different shapes. In an effort to show how flexible this basic switch was to make and implement, I incorporated the switch into floor tile and a simple circuit (which was housed within the paper form).
I consider this my first effort at contributing to the DIY community. I found the entire process of framing the work for an anonymous person to recreate to be very interesting, and plan to continue to publish aspects of my future projects in this manner. The DIY art/makers movement is very similar to the Open Source software movement, in that it lays bare all processes and material used to make a certain thing—by doing so, one not only exhibits his or her work, but gives others insight into their process and enables them to recreate or modify this work as they will.
link to PDF of final instructions
link to instructables.com project
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Final Position Statement:
pHloat is a DIY kit that is made for use in conjunction with a pre-owned / pre-existing arduino microcontroller. Its purpose is to test the pH levels in local rivers, lakes, and streams due to the influx of air and water pollution often caused by acid rain. It is specifically designed to be used in areas that are home to refineries, chemical plants, and manufacturing industries that cause environmental damage. However, it can be used in any body of water to test acidity levels.
pHloat functions through the modification of a simple garden moisture and pH sensor that can be purchased at any home improvement store. It acts as both an environmental measurement tool and a floating sculpture, borrowing inspiration from Japanese floating paper lanterns. As the pHloat is placed in a body of water or stream it is taking a constant pH reading that is being translated by the arduino to produce a variation of colored light. The different colors of light indicate the level of acidity in the body of water. For example, a normal pH reading would result in the emission of green light while a high pH reading would result in the emission of blue light. The light is housed on the top of the pHloat and is illuminated under a paper origami shade. As to not further contribute to environmental pollution, a rope should be attached to each pHloat so it can easily be retrieved from the water.
pHloat is designed to create a social awareness of pollution in local rivers, streams, and lakes. It also functions as visual expression of concern for the emission of dangerous chemicals into our atmosphere. pHloats are designed to be released together to ultimately create floating mobile sculptures. Thus initiating a social space that engages locals living in the midst of these manufacturing industries to begin a dialogue about their environmental conditions.
The pHloat has undergone a couple major design changes. It was first made from several recyclable materials including a large array of plastic bottles to allow it to float on water, which made it much larger in size. In the redesign, several form changes were made. pHloat2 is about half the size of the original design but still functions the same. pHloat2 can still be made from several recycled materials including but not limited to Styrofoam, plastic food containers, rope, and paper. If these materials cannot be found they can be purchased along with the necessary electrical components for approximately $25. The kit has also been scaled down down to save on material cost and waste. Instructions can be found in the kit, on instructables.com and at the blog phloatkits.tumblr.com
The kit is best suited for anyone interested in pursuing an entry level arduino based project or lower level science class interested in pollution effects on water quality. The kit is easy to assemble and a fun way to investigate building fro recyclable materials, use of microcontrollers, and practicing sustainable paper structures.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Transforming a space to merge with the surroundings and be pertinent to the reason the space exist have all been the methods by which architecture has been designed all this while. Adding the living dimension to it where the structures move, respond and behave based on actions on it is absolutely magical and will certainly evoke interest in the spaces themselves. Adaptation will also be an important factor for these spaces because designing such responsive spaces means they need to be able to adapt to changes to the environment and actors on the spaces too. The articles provide a nice overview of existing research on such environments and throws light on where they can be improved upon.
It also gives us a magnificient overview of the process of design, prototyping and manufacturing of large scale structures true to the concepts they are trying to mimick. The advances in technology also help to drive down the costs and time it takes to design such close to nature objects that live symbiotically with nature and invites it to participate and enhance the strength of the design as it lives in the environment. The dikes of Holland being re-engineered to gain strength over time based on the interaction with the sea and sand is one such example. Advances in computing is also improving the designs with new algorithms that work with complex systems, parametric equations which in turn are prototyped quickly with machines that can talk to these computers quicker.
Overall, the reading gave us a detailed overview of morphogenetic design concepts, lots of examples, real building prototypes and engineered structures that have been deployed successfully.
The text begins by discussing the human race’s focus historically being strongly dominated by physics. As of the late 20th century and into the 21st, this focus has shifted and biology has “become the underlying paradigm of engineering. It discusses concepts of emergence and self-organization in relation to the discipline of architecture and promising, related, and instrumental techniques for design, manufacturing, and construction.”
I feel that this text and the Responsive Architecture text from last week / this week have a lot in common. Both discuss materiality and the potential to unfold new forms of material environments for living, new neighborhood and city models. I wish the text would have focused less on large architectural forms and more on morphogenic design for smaller works, not that a few weren’t mentioned. Artists seem to be participating in the new synthetic biological paradigm by actualizing new forms for cultural environments and sustainable living. I find the more interesting of these projects and ideas to be coming from artists like Theo Jansen working on producing new material organisms rather than focusing on new architecture. As beautiful, well researched, and executed these biologically modeled architectural structures are (like the photo Andrew Posted), just because it looks like a cell under a microscope doesn’t mean it is build with materials that can grow beneficial cells for our environment. I find a lot of these architectural forms to be pleasing to the eye but not anymore beneficial to the environment. Though as we read in the previous fabrication text, there are architects combining both design and beneficial material functionality (solar power generating ‘skins’ for heating etc), there seem to be more structures focused on the visual appeal rather than the ecological need.
In the beginning of the text, there is a small blip about Dyson discussing the access to do-it-yourself kits. As interested as I personally am in this movement and the focus of biological art, I sometimes wonder when DIY Kits and ‘at home’ garden/plant engineering projects, will change the face of art, be it good or bad. I often find myself struggling with the idea of DIY Kits becoming forms of art, as beautiful as the final products and kit designs are, in the end, I feel like DIY projects, are just that, projects or utilitarian tools. Its hard for me to often couple even the most aesthetically beautiful and well thought out/constructed kits with fine art. It’s a tough reach for me because I think that the movement towards self sustainable and more environmentally conscious living is and should be a large focus of our interests as human’s working towards fixing an environment in which we aided in destroying, but at the same time, I just don’t see many of these works (specifically related to the DIY kit movement) to be (A)rt in many cases. Though, I’m sure a large majority of the art world would disagree with that last statement. Regardless, I think there are a lot if artists coming up with interesting solutions to ecological problems via kit form, I am just concerned that a lot of art will become lost in a group of ikea’d commercial products.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
My first problem with the text is into the section "Renewable Types and the Urban Plan'. The problem is not the update to Le Corbusier vision of a city re-imagined with suburbs added in, but that like all other city models that are supposed to fix or create the perfect city it does nothing substantial to address the inequitable distribution of wealth or the disparity of services between class, race, et cetera. Loose Animal Farm references = Context of social justice? (All Caps)
I'm not at all excited about turning a false magnifying lens on that which makes structures strong - like cell structures, membranes, self-organisational et cetera's - and pretending to scale them in size when at the foundation they remain the same. For instance in the image Andrew included in his response (http://beigedesign.com/projects/0_airspace.jpg) the most interesting piece of architecture is the blurred vehicle. With all the advances that is what is missing for me, a connection to "permanent temporalalities".
One of the most interesting questions was posed last week - that is, what's next. I think 'subtle technologies' is the dialectics that will break the bricks of the existing paradigms of aesthetics. To think that the phenomenologicalness of life could break into aesthetics is very exciting because it can push our envelope of knowledge for further understanding materials and science itself. The uncomfortable feeling arrives in the sense that the next paradigm could also, with the current power dynamics, either sit around too long unchecked or worse get skipped over as a trend. I would likely default to an age old comparison one professor taught me, which is that representation (and form) ebbs and flows with time. Case in point, many of the ideas talked about in much of the readings are based in rediscovering early geometry, architecture, philosophies, design, etc - while they are completely complex, they offer relatively easy points of entry for scientists, architects, and other forms of higher learning and mores are grounded in the same power dynamics that enables the status quo to that the technologies become masks or a wolf dressed in subtle technologies clothing. For me I would be more interested in architecture that did more than just create new textures and aesthetics to make the new types of boxes or resupport and reinvent wheels of old.
Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons, packed up & ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway
A place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance, I`m getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone now, lived in the ghetto
I’ve lived all over this town
-Talking Heads, Life During Wartime
The following blog post references two issues of AD (Architectural Design), a periodical journal published by Wiley. The two issues are themetically related. The first, entitled Versatility and Vicissitude: Performance in Morpho-Ecological Design (ISBN: 978-0-470-51687-4, Paperback, 144 pages, April 2008), is guest-edited by Michael Hensel and Achim Menges. It focusses of the performative aspects of this type of design. The second issue, entitled Techniques and Technologies in Morphogenetic Design (ISBN: 978-0-470-01529-2, Paperback, 128 pages, May 2006) was published two years earlier, and as the title suggests, concerns techniques and technologies. It was edited by Michael Hensel, Achim Menges and Michael Weinstock. Due to the somewhat varied selections of the specific articles noted, I consulted the Wiley website for a concordance fo the titles, authors, and tables of contents, and also the context of articles that were not in the assigned reading.
AD Versatility and Vicissitude: Performance in Morpho-Ecological Design - April 2008
AD Techniques and Technologies in Morphogenetic Design - May 2006
If you are not interested in the full table of contents concordances, the issue summaries themselves are worth the trip, to give perspective on the nature of the reading.
Given the very specific nature of these essays, I decided to give 'ole Wikipedia a try on morphogenesis. The specific definition helps me understand generally the nature of the readings and the level of detail the authors are going into. Clearly, the publications' editors, and the individual article authors in both issues are a tight-knit group. The shade of meaning between morphogenetic design and morpho-ecological design are not so different and quite nuanced. It sort of makes sense to read them in temporal order by date of publication.
As a meditation on emergence and self-organization, the assigned articles in AD Techniques and Technologies in Morphogenetic Design, namely Towards Self-Organizational and Multiple Performance Capacity in Architecture by Michael Hensel, Polymorphism by Achim Menges, and Self-Organisation and Material Constructions by Michael Weinstock, reveal projects that embody the theories present in the essays. The authors share the view that design of architectural spaces share an ecological relationship to their environment. In addition, they share a relationship to evolution as the exist as part of prior formulations of architectures in a given space. Into this discussion go materials, energy systems, and and other types of organizational systems, all of which can and should be called into question.
The first article assigned in AD Techniques and Technologies in Morphogenetic Design is the introduction to the issue, outlining the various essays and sections. The second assigned reading Achim Menges' Polymorphism, introduces several interesting morphogenetic geometries: membrane morphologies (also referrend to as form-finding and dynamic relaxation), differential surface actuation, component differentiation and proliferation, honeycomb morphologies (or generative algorithmic definition), fibrous surfaces (digital growth and ontogenetic drifts). Of these, I thought form-finding and dynamic relaxation was the coolest, probably becuase of the exploration of multiparametric approach. I found a similar example not in the text here:
In Self-Organisation and Material Constructions, Michael Weinstock explores the boundary between the natural and the manufactured. He examines cellular structures, polymers, liquid crystals, Kevlar, and foam for their unique structural properties.
The first section of the reading, the assigned articles from AD Versatility and Vicissitude: Performance in Morpho-Ecological Design, discuss the performance characteristics of these types of designs. From the Wiley summary:
"a milieu of conditions, modulations and microclimates that emanate from an object's exchange with its specific environment, a dynamic relationship that is perceived and interacted with by a subject. A synergetic employment of performance and morpho-ecological techniques combine to create integral design solutions that will render an alternative model for sustainability. This issue presents historical precursors and precedents for this approach, as well as the current state of the art of morpho-ecological design."So these authors, namely Peter Trummer in Engineering Ecologies, Michael Hensel and Achim Menges (again) in Designing Morphoecologies: Versatility and Vicissitude of Heterogeneous Space, Christopher Lee and Sam Jacoby in Renewable Types and the Urban Plan, Valentina Croci in The Use of the cellular and New Digital Mapping: The Social Call, Michael Hensel, Defne Sunguroglu and Achim Menges (again) in Material Performance and Michael Hensel and Achim Menges (again!) in Membrane Spaces are concerned with the ecology of the architectures with the spaces and their histories. Architecture should be thought of as a life form here, part of the living breathing earth. Of these articles, the one that caught my attention was The Use of the cellular and New Digital Mapping: The Social Call by Valentina Croci. This is because she addresses the architecture of media as part of a space. Very similar to the work we are doing in class this semester at least in terms of creating social spaces and other reading we have done (I am thinking fall 08 readings about augmented reality).
Since this text is fairly large in scope and covers a multitude of areas, I will try to respond to each section separately, but in a way that (hopefully) is tied together through a common thread.
Reading the first section about biology/ecology, I thought many times about algorithmic art. There is a great deal of recipe making in modern computational art, which leads to a virtual product. The potential to grow art, which is being done in a crude manner through the design-to-CNC process, exists--but what about the future of art in relationship to biology? A great deal of post-19th century media art was physics based--and if we can follow the logic of the text--what is the implication of the heavy presence of biology on future media art? Will we be able to properly grow art?
The section about urban landscape seems at odds with the hierarchical nature of our minds, socially. We accept an arrangement of capital and power being located in a physically high or structurally dense environment, and we associate prosperity with large, isolated structures. Can we embrace the heterogenous spaces described in the text with that mind set? Do the nature of our strict building codes prevent modularity and flexibility? Also, considering that the majority of everything built in the USA was completed at the cost of the lowest bid, can these type of “smart” structures be funded and leave the theoretical/academic environment?
It is somewhat interesting to read about the various ways cell phone data is recorded and visualized, but it seems like there is something missing in what is being done with the results. While metadata in the form of user comments and embedded info is useful, it is not very interesting from the point of view of art.
In the section about wood, I was unclear about whether the many amazing properties of wood as a building material were greatest when they remain part of a living tree or only as timber? Related to my first comment, can we program trees to form living structures?
The section on self-organization included a really interesting component, that the entire process, from analysis and simulation to computer aided manufacturing, could be one large process. I wonder about aesthetic concerns--what happens when you add psychology and emotion to the beginning of the process? Will it yield a product that is not only self-organizing, but also beautiful and fulfilling as a structure? Or are they the same thing?
The form-finding aspects seem like the opposite of the initial few chapters--we have returned to physics. While the digital growth concept does change over time in response to changing shape (through the geometric seed and the morphing of shape through reinterpretation of current shape), it remains physics/geometry based.
The entire text, as stressed in the conclusion, shows the power of biomimetics. What we comprehend and achieve through the observation of "natural" phenomena and experimental design may enable us to realize that there is nothing unnatural that we produce; the things we produce through a biology-centered design paradigm could be flexible, modular, self-organizing, healthy, communal and ecologically-friendly in such a way that they no longer merit the term “unnatural.”
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
1 - Cut the plastic bag with the utility knife using as a template one of your shoes.
2 - Glue both sides of the insole using silicone. Leave a small gap in the upper portion of the insole. Let the silicone dry for 3 hours.
3 - Add the soil through the gap using the funnel.
4 - Cover the gap with silicone once you are done with the soil. The insole should have 70% of its capacity used by the soil. Repeat 1 through 4 to create the other insole.
5 - Place the insole in the shoe.
6 - Stand and walk on it.
Check this video out with instructions and a brief idea.
1. Instructions on planting the seeds (Japanese Red Maple) available in the cache.
2. Template for others to use while trading in the seeds.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Here is the documentation of phase II of my DIY project. The project is split between two parts: an easy to build momentary switch that has numerous uses and folded trapezoidal (diamond) pleated forms made of various materials that are lit with LEDs.
This is the step-by-step process to making the switch, which in this example, is actually housed in the freezer bag the kit is shipped in. Alternatives to the freezer bag are floor tiles or cushions.
the process, which will be described in greater detail in phase III when it is uploaded to instructables.com
These are three forms I constructed. After experimenting with different materials, paper vellum was the best for strength and flexibility, and did not require scoring (like most plastics). Paper vellum also retained the diamond structure best when stressed and diffused the light source better than regular paper. The forms are lit with various iterations of the switches.
This is a diamond pleat template I created for download. The red lines represent valley folds and the blue lines represent mountain folds. I will also put detailed instructions on instructables.com on how to fold and form this structure, with tips on how to modify it based on the number of intersections and folds.