Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The Story Hat, Joe Pankowski
Within The Story Hat project, I would like to create a portable conversation starter in the form of a wearable zoetrope. A zeotrope is an old fashion stop motion viewing machine, that I would like to conceal inside of a hat. The wearer could draw out short stories in an animation then play them in this hat at social gatherings, with friends, or strangers out in public. It would give a chance for the viewer to be creative in inventing new animations and ways to interpret a story or idea, while allowing them to start up conversations and meet new people.
I have always liked old technologies like the zeotrope. These technologies have a certain feel of Victorian novelty, so much time was put in to building them to be elegant and decorative just for the sake of entertainment. These things were also built for leisurely time and were experienced by groups of people. There was also manual labor involved to start these machines; a crank here a pedal there. Now a days we have machines that are more complex bringing us an experience right away without any work. In the case of an i-pod these new technologies may also isolate us in our leisure time rather than bring us together. We put on our head phones and bury our face into that little screen leaving the world around us. The Story Hat is the exact opposite of this experience there is work for the wearer to draw the animations and to crank them to view. The wearer is also not cranking the animation for themselves but for others creating an experience for a group and not the individual.
I envision the end product of this kit being a hat (preferably stove top), with a small hand crank coming out of the side to run the animation, and a two inch wide one inch tall rectangular whole in the hat to view the animation. The animation would be drawn on a strip of paper the length of the interior circumference of the hat. The strip would then be placed into a ring inside the hat that could be rotated with a gear attached to the hand crank. The moving animation could be viewed from the viewing whole back lit by a battery powered led light, hung from the top of the interior of the hat.
I think to distribute this kit I believe I would create a instructional video of me building and describing the piece. Then I would show it being used in a storytelling situation. I could also create printable plans and put them on my website.
The builder of the kit after finishing his or her zeotrope hat could go out into the world as a traveling storyteller. They would be able to switch out different animations with each story they told endlessly changing or adapting their animated tales.