Tag Archives: conference post-mortem

Conference Project & Post-Mortem: SONOSPECTRUM

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After hearing Steve Reich’s experiments in sound through 12 Instruments and reinterpretations by Philip Glass in the hours and O Superman by Laurre Anderson, I was fascinated by generative music, and looked towards the Beads library in processing. Intended to follow Evan Merz’ instructions on the library in his book Sonifying Processing but later extrapolate on those lessons with visual additions as well as additions of my own code.


The Beads processing library was complex, but set an easy groundwork with Glide and Gain that was used throughout all versions of sound generation. My most simple artwork of the many I experimented with was Warlock Groove, which used different parameters to turn an audio files into a wave,  and those variables would be randomized at the start of each run of the sketch. My next experiment was with TalkBack which uses the computers microphone to read the hertz of sound coming in and creates a playback.

My next set of experiments with the Beads library used visuals that also determined the audio being played. For Roundabout and MusicBox I had four shapes bounce around the screen, and their x and y positions would determine which minute parts, or grains, of the sound file were pulled from creating a randomized sound.

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My next experiment in sound generation pulled off a sketch I created called Heart which used vertex drawing to make what looked like a polyhedron. I used several Beads codes to attach frequency creation to each of the points of the polyhedron, and found an interesting but not “full” noise. So I used my inspiration from Reich and played a second iteration of the sketch creating a discordant sound that fit the shape and movement of the “hearts, which became called Heartbeat and Heartbreak.

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Finally I worked with a synth generator that used a clock to play random synth matchups and edits, which I then paired with the visual of expanding circles which I entitled GrapeSoda.


As a whole I was pleased with the experiments, especially Heartbeat and Heartbreak. Ideally as a next step I would want to experiment with the installation of these pieces of how placement could add to the interpretation of the noise.

-note: sound will be added to this piece as soon as I figure out how to


Non-Linear Post-Mortem: Heretic

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Game Design and Non-Linearity 

Heretic is a 2D PRG that follows a young girl living a barren village. Resources are slim, the soil is untenable, and the villagers only think of their own needs for survival. The villagers live in fear of dying and the unknown, and have begun to carry out witch hunts, resulting in the burning of various women at the stake for crimes of witchcraft. The player can choose to leave the village and enter the forest, of which most villagers are afraid. If the player brings an item to the book, the village will be changed – for better or worse. The player can decide the fate of the village and the villagers based on what items they bring to the book. For now, I’ve designed four items that the player can bring to the book – a shepherd’s crook, a sword, a shield, and a potted plant. Each item is symbolic of the change it will bring to the town, though not necessarily in the way that the player expects, and not necessarily in a way that the other villagers are happy with. The potted plant, when brought to the book, will result in the construction of a new garden for the herbalist, giving her the ability to grow more plants. The player can continue this cycle and improve the quality and size of the garden with each trip to the book. However, the blacksmith may feel threatened by the increase to her resources and decide to accuse her of witchcraft, leading to her being burned at the stake. The widow, also, has a shepherd’s crook from her late husband that may be brought to the book. If the player does so, the widow will receive a sheep and a small plot of grass in which the sheep can graze. Again, the player can continue this cycle, but risks arousing suspicion of witchcraft the more the player helps the widow. During witch hunts, the women targeted were primarily women who seemed threatening to the capitalist control of production and reproduction. Herbalists were threatening because they had natural knowledge of plants, and often assisted with women’s reproductive health. This power over life and death was threatening to a system that need to control reproductive power to be able to exist. Widows, too, were threatening, because they existed outside of the bounds of marriage. Ultimately, I would like this RPG to illuminate the sexist underpinnings of the witch hunts, and the way they were used as a means to protect capitalist patriarchal power through player choice and consequence. If the player chooses to bring the blacksmith’s shield to the book, a large wall will be built around the village. They can continue to fortify the village by bringing the shield back to the book, and the villagers will never suspect the blacksmith of witchcraft, because the resources he provides isn’t threatening to the capitalist system. The nature of the book should be ambiguous. It may be magical, or it may simply give the player the practical knowledge to achieve the change she seeks. Originally, I was going to have the player bring items to a gathering of chanting women out in the woods, but decided against it because I play testers very quickly associated it with a coven of witches. The book, to me, represents knowledge, which is ultimately what truly threatened the capitalist regime.

This game is non-linear most obviously in that the goal is entirely up to the player – whether they want to help or hurt the village – and in that there’s no set path to reach that goal. Though there are only a few items to bring to the book right now, in the future, I want there to be many more, so that there are even more paths and twists and turns. One path won’t necessarily cut you off from another path – if you build a wall with the shield, you can still bring the potted plant or the shepherd’s crook to the book later. Though it will take a lot more design time, I want this game to reflect the possibility of alternate timelines as Borges described in Garden of the Forking Paths. In one instance of the game, the player may wish to indirectly kill all the other NPCs and leave the village in ruins. In another, the player may achieve a utopian village with bountiful resources and no conflict. In another, the player may try to save the herbalist but attempt to kill the blacksmith and the widow, and so on and so forth. The paths should fork and cross over one another and double back and allow for as much exploration as possible.

In a lot of traditional RPGs, players use weapons to combat enemies, and the enemies make up the bulk of the narrative. In this game, there aren’t any discernible enemies.  Yes, you can capture and kill a rabbit – but that’s not an enemy. The player can decide to buy the sword – one of the more expensive items – but the player can’t use it to kill villagers. If the player brings the sword to the book, the player may expect to receive some suit of armor, or a bigger sword, etc. But instead, a random building in the village will be destroyed. Just as the book isn’t necessarily magical, the changes it brings aren’t always good. The changes the book makes depends on the player and the items the player brings, and just as it can help make the village great, it can also destroy the village. In that way, this RPG is non-traditional – often, RPGS have one goal – to save someone or something – and there is one way to achieve that goal. In this game, the goal is up to the player, and the ways to achieve that goal don’t follow traditional narratives. For many games, a sword represents heroism. But in this game, the sword represents the violence of domination and oppression.

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Art Design

Overall, I’m satisfied with how the game looks and feels. I drew inspiration from illuminated manuscripts of the 1400s and 1500s – a time of intense upheaval in Europe as the society transitioned from feudalism into capitalism. Illuminated manuscripts were usually drawn by religious orders, and were only accessible by those in power. I wanted to play with their patterns and symbols to evoke a religious and medieval aesthetic in my game, and also to re-appropriate the styles of the books to turn them against the will of the aristocrats that commissioned them – even if they did so five hundred some odd years ago.

During my last leg of development, I decided to change the main village to be very rocky and barren, in stark contrast with the forest.  I wanted to convey the level of separation of the humans from the natural world through color in my game. Often, human culture and society feel like they are natural to those participating in them, thought they are anything but natural.  The colors of the human dwellings have bright accent colors that serve to further alienate them from the forest environment. 


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Working in 64×64 in this dev cycle was not the best idea, because each tile took at least an hour to make, if not much more. The rock facade took at least eight hours. I got lost in the artwork, rather than the gameplay.  I ended up spending a lot of time on water tiles that ultimately didn’t get much use in the game, because I worked on artwork before actually testing my paper prototype. I had the idea that the girl would maybe crash land on an island in a boat, but decided to scrap that idea because I wanted her to be a part of the community. I might use the water tiles for a fisherman narrative later, but I shouldn’t have devoted so much time to an idea I was completely unsure of. The walk cycle took a lot longer than expected because animating with pixels was a lot harder than i first thought it would be. It seems simpler because you’re working with small units, but it can actually get harder because making a bunch of squares into a cohesive moving shape is kind of difficult to do when you haven’t done it before. I got so frustrated by the walk cycle that I didn’t finish it till last minute, and then I didn’t have time to code in animation of items being picked up, etc. Animating the movement of the feet was particularly difficult, and I’m still not satisfied with the end result. I’ll probably change it in the future.



What I Learned

Always test your paper prototype first! That’s one of the big things I realized this semester. Don’t develop a bunch of art and THEN gameplay, because you’ll end up focusing too much on art and not enough on programming. I have a very clear idea of where I want my game to go now, but I have very little of it programmed because I was focusing too much on what the game looked like, and not enough on what actually happened. I spent hours designing the sheep above and it didn’t even make it into gameplay because I didn’t have enough time to program it. Granted, I still probably would have only been able to code and animate one narrative from beginning to end because the art is so detailed, but I wouldn’t have spent so much time on art that I’m now not sure if I’ll use. If I could go back, I would design in a lower resolution and make my paper prototype before I even touched pixel art. I prioritized art over programming and now my game looks really pretty, but it’s not actually that playable.

This was a really hard to game to conceptualize because I was working with really abstract concepts, but I’m glad that I did it. I want to keep working on this game because I don’t think there are a ton of RPGs like it, and the ideas I’m trying to illustrate about capitalism are ideas that I want to continue to explore. Designing this game actually really helped me to understand Frederici’s ideas, in a way that just reading them did not. I had a lot of fun working on this game and I definitely intend to finish it.


Conference Project :: Post-Mortem :: Find Your Mood

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.09.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.08.40 PMScreenshot of just the background, no emotion displayed. 

My final project is a mood guesser, entitled Find Your Mood. When you click on the screen it will guess your mood by asking if you feel a certain way. It will also display a color that’s usually associated with the mood and a font that has a similar feeling to the mood. There are ten different moods programed into the interactive. For the background I used a sparkle picture that I found and edited in photoshop. It also has green and purple blobs floating around, which I created in photoshop. I wanted this to be similar to a lava lamp. The circle in the center also slowly fluctuates between blue and purple. I did these things to the background to give a sort of magical feeling to the project. 

FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRenderScreenshot with an emotion displayed.

My inspiration for this project was pretty random, it just kind of popped into my head. I really enjoy playing with mood rings and seeing what it thinks my mood is, so that’s why I thought this project would be fun. I also wanted something that was playful and that excitement came from visiting the Sony Museum. Since the interactions that I liked the most there were simple and playful.

This will create a magic circle because people want to share their experience and what the program guesses as their mood. Usually because it’s super accurate or way off. If something is funny or surprising people usually look for someone to share that moment with and I think that will draw people in and make groups of people try it and watch together. In Homo Ludens by Huizinga it’s said that magic circles are, “all are temporary worlds within the ordinary world, dedicated to the performance of an act apart.” I wanted to create this magical and mysterious other world that exists for maybe, just a minute, in someone’s ordinary world.  

The code for my project was difficult at first but I eventually got the hang of it. I didn’t really understand the concept of variables but now I use them for everything! They’re so useful. I also found that by use variables I was more likely to experiment and be creative. Without variables it was such a hassle to go through and change every individual thing so I wouldn’t mess around as much. After just using variables for everything I found it so much easier to get exactly what I wanted from the code.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.33.18 PM  Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.33.41 PMScreenshot of some of the code and variables being used. 

I’m very happy with my project, it is pretty much what I had envisioned. I also feel that I learned a lot of code and really got to understand it. I know that I’ll be able to use what I learned from this project in the future. The main thing that went wrong was that I originally had wanted the whole screen to change and have a scene showing things that made you feel like the emotion it was displaying, like a sunset and dolphins jumping for happy, but that ended up being too complicated. 

By Kadie Roberts

Interactive City :: Conference Project Post-Mortem :: Rise and Fall

code while running

code while running

My final conference code for this class is a shadow-wall.  I created an interaction with the use of the webcam and the use of shadows.  The way it works is that leaves fall from the top of the screen, and the user can interact with them by moving around.  The shadow that is created by their movement is what controls the way the leaves fall.  This is a electronic version of a typical way people play in leaves during the fall.

I developed this project through observation of a few things.  I was inspired by the season, fall, when I started thinking of conference ideas.  I noticed how excited people of all ages were about the change of the season.  I was walking to the library and was keenly aware of how the children at the ECC were playing with the fallen leaves.  These observations of human behavior combined with our trip to the SONY museum inspired my project.

When we went to the SONY museum, I was drawn the the final interactive, the shadow wall.  I really enjoyed interacting with this work because my actions had a clear and direct affect on the beads falling from the top of the screen.  I also noticed how accessible this interaction was with people of all ages.  It seemed to keep a child’s attention span as well as captivating the adults in the room.

Originally, I had wanted to add more of a societal awareness aspect to my project but after rough sketches and brainstorming, I decided that it was going to take away from the intent of the interaction.  I had wanted to have a cityscape gradually appear, minimizing the ability to interact with the falling leaves to show the way that the growing city can take away free play.  In doing so, I realized that it would take away a sort of innocence that I had liked about the interaction at SONY.

Once I had figured out what I wanted my conference project to be, I got to work.  The code that I am using is an array.  An array is a way to sort and recall information in an organized manner.  Along with this, I opened another class in my code that was being reference continually by processing in order to run the code.  I also had to work with motion code to get the leaves to fall down the screen.  I had trouble getting rotation code into my project, because I was adding rotation after I had written the whole code and for some reason it was not making the individual leaves rotate the way I envisioned.  Once I could not get the rotation the way I wanted, I worked to find a color palette and instead alter the color of the leaves to match the color palette.  I found a palette generator on the internet that I used to find my palette.




different classes

different classes

color palette

color palette

changing the color of my leaves

changing the color of my leaves

changing the color of my leaves

changing the color of my leaves

Regarding Martijn deWaal’s ideology, this shadow wall falls into the playground and magic circle school of thought.  My interaction is accessible to a large demographic, it is a voluntary activity and is not rational; it’s just there to play and interact with.


  • Created a shadow wall
  • Was able to have the leaves falling down
  • Used photoshop to alter the colors of the leaves to fit into a color palette.


  • Adding rotation
  • Sensitivity of camera
  • Unless all the leaves were at exact same level, they won’t restart to top of screen and code will stop running
issue with code

issue with code

Overall, I enjoyed working on this project and learned what I enjoy as an artist.  I think that this particular project was challenging for me because it forced me to work in a medium that was not necessarily my first choice.  I do not feel as successful with coding as I would like, and I struggle to continue working in mediums that challenge me.  But I stuck with this and I am hoping to modify my shadow wall further to better my work.

Interactive City :: Conference Post-Mortem :: Color the Can

Finally, this is how it looks like…

Screenshot of my final conference build.

Screenshot of my final conference build.

Whenever the user next to the computer claps or make a detectable huge sound relative to the environment, the first can on the rack will be randomly colored on top of its original red.

Initially I only wanted to challenge the idea of having a interaction where the input is visible and touchable, whether its the traditional keyboard or mouse, or what we have experimented with, webcam. Sound, however, is linear and cannot go back once initiated. How can I visualize sound, make it touchable via another form of perception? In Hertzian Tales, we talked about radiogeneric objects, which visualize electromagnetic signals. So, how about having soundgeneric objects that visualize sound?

I decided to use microphone to detect its volume. I learned about sound libraries and how to get live sound input from the book Learning Processing by Daniel Shiffman.

 Technical mechanism of my conference project: a recorder using Minim sound library. Eventually I switched to Sonia.

Technical mechanism of my conference project: a recorder using Minim sound library. Eventually I switched to Sonia.

I wished to do an arcade game in the beginning, something like whack-a-mole. Then I realized that I only have one variable to manipulate the whole interaction: the volume. Thus, I cannot even get full control over the canvas, let alone precise coordinate to hit the mole.

Then the question becomes: what action, or interaction, only involves one kind of input?

I thought about an assembly line.

Modern Times (1936)

Modern Times (1936)

Then I had my rough build, an assembly line of “shapes” that could be colored by user clapping around the laptop microphone. I used shapes because I wanted it to be more abstract (and also partly due to me not having an idea of the element I wanted to incorporate.)

My rough build: geometric assembly line (not really)

My rough build: geometric assembly line (not really)

Afterwards, I wanted to put some aesthetic elements into this work. I started by making a shelf, and then I thought about the Andy Warhol exhibition held at MoMA and how the museum installed the Campbell Soup Cans (1962.) Instead of hanging every picture on the wall, the museum put those pictures on racks, which according to its introduction, best imitated the style of supermarket shelfs, where the cans would usually be in real life.

The shelf that I started with.

The shelf that I started with.

Left: ordinary way of installing Campbell Soup Cans. Right: MoMA way of doing it.

Left: ordinary way of installing Campbell Soup Cans.     Right: MoMA way of doing it.

The idea of coloring the can is a challenge to consumerism. While the age of mechanization makes people on both ends of the world able to get identical products, difference becomes strangely valuable and in another way essential to the characteristic of being interesting. What if we can color the can to make them slightly different? Would it make them not identical to each other? Would it do anything to add some playfulness to this assembly line? What about other assembly lines and the endless supermarket shelves?

Anyway, we are still living in a world where every(affordable)thing comes out of an assembly line.

Conference Project:: Post Mortem:: Aura Mirror

conference_image2_fixedMy conference project has changed dramatically since its inception. Originally a Heads-Up Display with a motion-activated target my conference project has turned into an aura inspired by the artist Hilma af Klint. Hilma af Klint was a mystic whose paintings often represented complex spiritual ideas. She specialized in abstract art, and she belonged to a group of women who performed séances to contact the “high masters”. Hilma af Klint created a series of paintings known as “the Swans” which included split canvases with high color contrast representing invisible forces in the inner and outer worlds.


The Swan (No. 16) by Hilma af Klint     The Swan (No. 17) by Hilma af Klint

Continuing this spiritual theme I started to use the idea of an aura, which is a distinctive atmosphere found in our world. Like in various paintings from Hilma af Klint, I started with a half black and half white background, using at first one and then eventually two motion activated circles to represent the auras of the people around the computer’s camera. To create these circles I used the motion activation studio code provided for our class. I also used the circle shape changing code that we learned while making mouse toys.

I ultimately realized that the circles did not represent the aura of a person satisfactorily. Instead I started focusing on the background to show the active aura, continuing to use af Klint’s classic idea of contrasting colors pushing against each other, but altering it so that the background has a different shape and colors that keep changing. These colors show the ever-changing environment around us and how different energies in the world push against each other. I kept the motion-activated circles but changed them dramatically. The circles, which were originally color changing were set to two different shades of blue. They were also duplicated so that each of the two circles had two shadows of the same color surrounding it. They now represent the outside forces that disturb our world in different ways.


The final code falls into the category of a play ground/ magic circle. My creation generates a magic circle because it hypnotizes users and draws them in. They seem to be especially interested at the times when the colors change and the screen almost seems to glow. The code creates a playground by creating its own goal and imprinting spiritual culture. I had a great deal of fun creating this project and experimenting with many different color-changing codes.

Interactive City :: Conference Post-Mortem :: Chasing Chi Chi


Screen Shot of Code Running

Screen Shot of Code Running

My final form of the conference project is an interactive game entitled Chasing Chi Chi. The player will try to click on the moving character named Chi Chi through touch pad, and chase after it. Chi Chi will bounce around from one side of the screen to other, speeding up every time it is clicked successfully. The player is given with 5 lives and every time the player fails to click on Chi Chi, the life reduces and after 5 failed attempt, the game will be over. The background changes depending on how much life is left, adding on to the excitement of the game.

The studio coding that I have used mainly was loadImage() code and mousePressed(). coding. The most difficult part of my project was that I had to hand draw the background, effects, and the character. I had to create all the art through Photoshop painting tool and drawing tablet. I was fairly new and putting concept into actual form was very difficult. The code beside the studio coding that I used was the Dir coding. In order for Chi Chi to bounce off the wall and move back and forth the screen, I had to command the coding to change direction and limit the range of movement.

Screenshot (59) Screenshot (61) Screenshot (62)

The final form of the project is very different from originally proposed design.  At first I wanted to create a Mario game like interactive display that only moves forward in map. I first wanted to use webcam but the coding was impossible to create so I switched to keyboard. However, I realized that using keyboard lacks physical movement enough to call it a true interaction The Psychology of Everyday Actions talks about, which emphasize on movement with awareness.

Since I am not using a Web cam and creating display vey 2D in a sense, I needed to design an effect in my display that will result in increase of physical movement. This resulted in usage of touch pad as median of interaction. Additionally, moving forward in 2D map was just so boring in interaction with no rewards. So, I decided to make it an interactive game which the character moves back and forth, demonstrating strong relationship with the setting of the game. The player then will affect the main character which result in alternation in background and setting as the interaction progress.

The project started off with my life long wish: create a game. I have always wanted to somehow create my own game and gaming is a perfect way to demonstrate interactive media art. When I saw the “Long March: Restart” by Feng Mengbo at MOMA, I immediately knew I wanted to create conference project like it. The “Long March: Restart” was my inspiration and goal.

Feng Mengbo: Long March Restart. Currently Displayed at MOMA

Feng Mengbo: Long March Restart. Currently Displayed at MOMA

The interactive display explores modern design integrated with in cultures. For Chasing Chi Chi, the background, setting, character design, and character movement were designed to introduce Kawaii-ism. Kawaii-ism is a design concept from Japan that emphasize on cuteness and girlishness, with pink and pastel colors playing dominant part of the concept. Kawaii-ism represent the unique and diverse part of Japan’s culture.

HelloKitty is a character resulted from Kawaii-ism

HelloKitty is a character resulted from Kawaii-ism

In New Media Art, it talked about how an art can become a symbolism and representation of a certain culture. The reward of learning a new culture of a country is the ultimate goal and it follows New Media’s “informational Interaction and its benefit to establishment of personal and social connectivity”. The project also follows idealism by Martin de Waal of Public Sphere. The strange new cultural medium is communicated and presented through media and through it, integrate new cultures and unify the interactor through new idea.

Overall I am very happy and proud of what I have created. Even though the interactive style have altered a lot, the message I wanted to present and the goal of project was reached.




Post Mortem: Conference Project:: Black and White Euphoria

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For my final conference project, I designed a web cam that picks up motion detection. When the user moves, the black and white pattern on the screen will move too. This makes the design evolve further because the user keeps on changing it with their movement. Every minute, the pattern changes into a new one with different sized shapes with different levels of transparencies. This keeps the user more engaged because there are more surprises in how the pattern will change.

I was inspired by the artists Bridget Riley and Ryoji Ikeda because they both primarily work in black and white to create complex patterns and designs. I really admired their styles and I wanted to create a project that resembled their artwork. I think that I was able to accomplish that because I created ten different black and white patterns that are similar to their style.

Creating this project took a lot of planning and time because I had to create ten different patterns. I also got to play with it a lot and test it out. I found it really fun to play around with because it always surprised me. It doesn’t always have the same outcome because the user’s motions will be different every time. This shows that my conference project is abstract and will always be evolving into something new as each person uses it. I decided to have each shape move at different speeds. This added to the abstract element of the project because the pattern doesn’t move in uniform. This means that the user can’t anticipate when the pattern will shift or how it will shift.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 6.53.13 PM

The code of my project involved a lot. First, I imported video into processing, so I could use motion detection through the webcam. Then, I created different variables for each shape within each different pattern. I had 90 variables in total. After that, I made a list of all ten patterns. Within each pattern, I had a section that specified the speed of each shape and how fast it moved, based on the motion detection. For example, I could say that a certain ellipse would move every three seconds, while a different ellipse would move every second. Following this code, was the list of shapes within the pattern. Under void draw(), I wrote the motion count and specified the order and duration of each pattern.


After looking back at Martijn de Waal’s ideology, it is clear that my project falls into the category of a “playground/magic circle.” This interaction that I’ve created offers a site of play, is a voluntary activity, isn’t rational, and forms community. This means that it is more open ended to how people will use the interaction. The user can move in front of the webcam by themselves or with other people. This displays the potential to create a magic circle. If multiple users are in front of the camera at the same time, they can create a different pattern together. This could increase interaction between people because they may choose to work together. For example, they could try to move the shapes to one side of the screen or to hold still to see the pattern freeze. Since the project is very open ended, there are so many things people could try to do with it.

Overall, I had a lot of fun making this project because I really like the idea that it can evolve into something so different and abstract every time. I also really enjoyed deigning black and white patterns because I love the way that they look.

Conference Project:: Final:: Music In Me

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.50.59 PM

 Picture of Sophia using the interaction “Music In Me”

My final conference project is entitled Music In Me. It’s an interactive art project which allows the audience to take a unique approach to listening to music. In this interaction, the user listens to Sweet Sun by Milky Chance as they watch the lyrics fall from the top of the screen, creating a shadow wall effect. This experience engulfs the user and immerses their sense of sight and hearing into an extraordinary musical experience.

At first, my conference project was very simple. I wanted to create a shadow wall, which is a webcam that gives the user the ability to control and move objects that fall from the top of the screen. After I gave my project more thought, I realized that there was no depth or meaning to it. I then came up with the idea to change the beads to a set of words and have them fall from the screen. After, I decided to make song lyrics fall from the screen and have the song play in the background simultaneously.

My inspiration for this project came from different places, one being the fieldtrip to the SONY Museum. I found that the shadow wall interaction they had drew me in the most because it did not require much skill to interact with, however, it was still captivating and entertaining to use. I liked how it created a magic circle as more and more people gathered around to watch the users interact with the shadow wall. I wanted to create a magic circle of my own and was inspired to create Music In Me.

A second inspiration I had came from the reading we did entitled “NeMe: Trouble at the Interface 2.0” by Erikki Huhtamo. In this article Huhtamo discusses his first experience with “interactive art” at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. He describes the intoxicating feeling he had when interacting with a project called The Legible City” by Jeffrey Shaw. In it he was diving and crashing through words and letters on a screen. I found the idea of being surrounded by words surreal and abstract, so I wanted to create my own version of Shaw’s unique and intoxicating interaction.

o               Picture of little girl using the shadow wall  in the SONY museum. Photo by: Effie D.

My project used some studio code and  some code I learned on my own. I used the studio code for a webcam to create a live image of the user in the background. I then had to learn to make arrays, which became very helpful for the falling lyrics on the screen. The last code I had to learn was for Minim, which is an audio player code.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 9.54.14 PM

Screenshot of part of the code used to create the interaction.

 The main thing that went wrong in my project was the smoothness (or lack there of) of the words falling from the top of the screen. Although my code does what it is told, the words have a hard time falling from the screen if there is any sort of darkness in the webcam. The words will only fall from the top of the screen if it is totally white.

What went right was that I was able to create exactly what I had in mind when I first started writing the code. The music plays very smoothly and the words fall randomly from the top of the screen just as I had planned for it to do originally.

Because this code requires various different steps in order to put the final project together, I had to cut out some of the ideas that I had when I first started putting together this project. I was going to give the user three song options but it was too complicated to pull that off, so I cut that idea out and made it so only one song would play (Sweet Sun by Milky Chance).

Conference Project Final : Mapping my Freelance Network in Media Production

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For my conference, I created a visual representation of my own network in freelance film production. I traced the outlines of Brooklyn and Manhattan to show where these films/commericals were produced, and I aligned them in chronological order (going clockwise), starting with Pillsbury, which I worked on in 2011.

All of my personal contacts are on this map, organized by the jobs on which I met them.

Every contact has a different color, and there is a line for everytime I worked with them.

So, for example, Paula Cohen has seven lines, but Rachel Taylor only has two.

Dave Clark has three lines but because I’m not very close with him, I made his line thinner.

I only worked with Donna Imbarato twice, but I became very close with her so I made her lines hot pink so as to be noticed.

Ultimately, this is a map of the invisible because it’s a map of where I stand in my work environment . I haven’t made much of anything, so my network is everything.

I act as a flaneur (or maybe as a stalker) by keeping up with these people on linkedin and facebook. They don’t know the extent to which I watch them. But what often happens is that they change companies, or start new businesses on their own, and that’s when I reach out. I’ll ask if they remember me from ____ ______ and ________, and I’ll ask if they could use someone with my skillset to help them get started on their new endeavor.


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Conference Project: Manderley Map

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My conference project slowly seemed to design itself, as it became layered with meaning and markings over the time. I was always fairly confident that I wanted the project to be framed around the book Rebecca- the book is written in a way that provides keep imagery as to the house of the setting- Manderley. I went through the book, tracing the way in which Manderley is detailed, and created a floor plan based upon this. I wanted to give my floor plan a Victorian feel, and did so by including molding and mirroring the architectural styles of the time. I also wanted to use the furniture described in the book, and so I included the pieces into my surface area (the floor plan).

I really wanted to tap into the way in which the novel taps into the concept of “invisible” presences, and so I used color to show the presences of Rebecca and Max in Manderley. The narrator of Rebecca seems to constantly feel their presences as she passes her time in the house, and so I tried to display how she spent her time when alone, dwelling in a house that could never feel like her own.

In order to show the difference between “time” and “presence” I used different materials. The narrator’s morning (when she is alone in Manderley) is displayed by thick white thread, to characterize her personality of simplicity. The white thread juxtaposes with the strong Victorian colors used for Max and Rebecca; Max is shown in a green watercolor, whereas Rebecca is a deep pinkish-red. Rebecca’s color, I find, is a rather amusing story, in that I was very particular about finding the exact color, and, unable to create the perfect shade with my watercolor palate, I found that the joys of a “Kool-Aid Drink Mix” of fruit punch perfectly solved my conundrum.

The map was inspired by Victorian blue prints, but the particular style was very much developed in awe of the highly detailed illustrations of Korky Paul (a children’s book illustrator). I’ve included a picture of the house that Korky Paul drew in my post (top image).

Conference Project: Happiness at SLC


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My map defines the process of determining where people are most happy on our campus. It also maps the personal, social, and intellectual fulfillment according to where people live based on the results of a survey I administered for my psychology class. My project changed quite a bit from my original plans as troubleshooting occurred.  One major setback was my inability to draw architecturally accurate buildings, and I really wanted to give each structure the credit and intricacy it deserved. I didn’t anticipate this to be a problem, so I first intended my map to be very pictorial. So, an unforeseen discovery or solution was to use a similar method as my self-portrait. The concentric circles I used in my first piece did a really effective job of showing the magnitude of an idea or concept, which is really what I was looking to do here. So I implemented the same aesthetic, a mathematical and sterile visual approach to an invisible concept. I wanted to use a clean and almost cold visual representation to evoke the sterility and clinical feel of acquiring and analyzing data for a scientific purpose. I also had some trouble with deciding what exactly to include on the map. Our campus has a number of buildings and structures that are important to the landscape but did not appear in my data. I had to decide which truth I wanted to reveal: the architectural and visual accuracy or the truth of my analyzed data. This choice was difficult for me to make, so I used smaller filled-in circles to show the Mead Way houses as existing, but not important to my empirical data. I used a blue palette to evoke placid emotions and also watercolor for the road system on campus, to create the feeling of rivers flowing instead of pavement, a much happier and more peaceful material. The reading of Psychogeography really influenced this map because it was a somewhat visionary experience, though it was not in anyway political. I attempted to transform the current environment into something with a bright future, traversing the land with a purpose and awareness that seeks to contribute a message to the landscape. It helped me to see the campus in a whole new light, hear new sounds and read into the particulars what I see everyday.

Mapping the Grid of Uncertainty


For my conference project I wanted to go off of my previous map. I was happy with my self-portrait but finally I realized it had too much information. My idea about national identity didn’t come across as much as I initially intended it to. That is why I’m dedicating a whole map to this thought.


When I started contemplating on how I would want to map this idea of national identity that became prominent when I started college this year, I knew that I wanted to base it off of places around campus. Another thing I new was that because I wanted it to be “simpler” than my previous map, with less information, I wanted it to be more visually impacting.


At the beginning of the semester, when I started collecting materials for this course, I turned to a family friend who used to be an art teacher. She gave me all types of materials she had from those years: from old sketchbooks to beautiful colored pencils. In her package, was a stack of papers with an interesting looking grid printed on them. I knew I wanted to use them in a project. But I had forgotten all about them until I recently rescued the stack when trying to figure out what format I wanted to use for this project. It’s not that I randomly picked them up and decided to use it on the spot- I was able to connect the peculiar grid that appealed me with my idea on national identity.


As you can see, the grid forms many triangles. With them I wanted to represent a duality that recently became a triality when I started college. The initial duality was composed by my two backgrounds: the Spanish and the American. This third side represents a new state, product of the two original ones. It’s an undetermined state that I don’t fully understand, but that I know is there. Therefore what I have decided to map is this uncertain state that came about when I moved to Sarah Lawrence. So what better place to map this feeling than our campus?


I decided to take four places around campus where I’ve noticed myself being aware of my national identity throughout my first year here. Those being: Bates, Titsworth, the Library and Hill House. I chose to represent them with a circle for two reasons: on the one hand I wanted to make a contrast with the very geometrical appearance of the grid. On the other, circles tend to be indicative of location (in this sense, also creating a conceptual contrast because on my map they represent, in a very standard and defined way, a place where I feel myself undefined and questioning). I caught myself thinking about my identity for different reasons in each of those places- but that wasn’t something I wanted to map, because ultimately, it comes down to the same feeling, regardless of where I am.

Conference Project: Map of Feelings

My final map:

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The “making the invisible visible” idea of my map is visualizing the inner world and let the feelings blend into the real world. The real world is presented through recording myself through camera. It is the catching moment of the past and makes it last forever in the photograph. The inner world is presented through my drawings of things and feelings. The merge of two aspects of looking at life creates a tension between the invisible and the visible.

Through out my process, I did not change a lot in terms of my idea. I only had to adjust some ways of presenting the map. Such as a more playful calendar surface. Instead of dates, I use feelings and notes. Also making the calendar the connection system.

My new surface and connection system:

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As I said in my draft. This project process was not same as my usual routine. I was not that paranoid about planning all the steps before I start doing actual work for the project. And it turned out to be less intense and more surprised as I went on doing it. It was really great to know that.

What I took the most from our class discussion was it changed my way of looking and thinking in everyday life. I think of site-specific all the time. Being a better observer of my own life definitely contribute a lot to this project.

Close ups:

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Conference Project Draft #2: A Map of Fear


In a previous draft of this map, the main focus of my project was to use a series of circles, with each layer of the circle representing a different fear. The closer to the center of the circle, the deeper the fear. However, while working with this concept in mind, I slowly began to realise that perhaps using a circle was not the most ideal for my project. Although I was able to create a visually obvious ‘gradient’ of fear, I felt as though using a circular shape was constricting the growth of what I was trying to represent.

In my second draft of this map, I’ve opted to use a series of haphazard, jagged shapes which are a culmination of my fears and anxieties. The closer to the border, the more triangular the shapes become to represent agitation. Colour, too, plays an integral part in creating this feeling of agitation. A big inspiration came from Untitled (War Painting) by Kim Jones, which can be found on page 19 of The Map of Art by Katherine Harmon.

For my surface, I plan to use old newspaper clippings to help give the map a more concrete time and location.




The following images are of my final map, and include the newsprint.



Conference Project: Overwhelmed by Fact

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final piece (minus screens)


inside view

inside view

When I began with this installation project, I was very daunted by both the size, and the pressure to deliver such a poignant message. My installation hopes to “overwhelm by fact”. Once you enter you are faced with a monitor that has numbers that are moving at a rate of three digits per minute, which reflects the number of people that are becoming refugees. This is based approximately on recent refugee toll consensus. Behind the numbers are pictures of the many important historical and cultural sites that were bombed by the IS in Iraq and Syria. To the left is Iraq, to the right Syria. The backgrounds of both walls are statistics: good, bad, mundane, everything I could find, statistics to us have become numbers, the idea is to make you notice that you don’t care anymore. In front of these statistics will be screens playing videos- videos of violence, dance, poetry, war, culture: life. Life still goes on despite war, statistics can help us forget that and other the victims of war and injustice, let me now overload you with all the images you half pay attention to all day, maybe then, you will be affected.

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construction plans

construction plans

sketch of screen (sign system)

sketch of screen (sign system)

As a design piece, my installation proved many challenges. I was originally planning on using the metal structure that the visionaries used in their sculpture, when visiting their site and walking through their space I was really inspired by the idea of being enveloped by art, on all sides, the potential for delivering maximum affect. But with circumstances of Formal and rain, I had to consider other options for my base structure. My solution turned into an attempt at carpentry that went better than expected. I was at first worried about my ability to be able to use tools for the carpentry process, however I became very rudimentary in my design and reverted to nails and hammers for the construction of the entire structure. The biggest struggle came when I realized that Home Depot only cut straight lines and couldn’t make cutouts in my wood pieces—this was a problem because I needed spaces for the wires to connect the LCD screens to the power source and computer. This caused a drastic shift in my thinking: I discarded the LCD monitor idea and decided to go with tablets. After being able to recruit enough friends to lend me tablets, I was able to then puncture holes with a screwdriver just big enough for the small chargers to go through. I was then left, with one more challenge. I had thought the easiest part was going to be making this ticking refugee toll, I was sorely mistaken. I soon learned that coding knowledge was needed for this, knowledge that I did not know. Through some pleading and favors someone from the coding class made me a program that would make the numbers increase, it apparently wasn’t that complicated. What became complicated however was that this program could only work on a computer… and my installation couldn’t support an LCD monitor anymore. I solved my last and final issue by finding by the grace of app makers an app that converts allows you to remotely control your computer through your tablet, thus allowing the coding program to open and be displayed! The process was tumultuous and stressful. From near-miss hammer and nail accidents to the logistical nightmare of moving it into Heimbold, I have gained both respect and admiration for the sculpture process, but have never more understood the danger of underestimating time.

I had never thought of mapping in such a physical and three dimensional way before both this class and the undertaking of this project. Even the basic physical lines of life represent a potential for signs and mapping, both visible and invisible. Through this project, I really hope to make you feel invisible—the life of the ordinary man Syria/Iraq—through bombarding you with the visible that we’re shown every day. The life that still goes on is a notion that the news likes to squash. Its like we want to believe when a country is at war, there is nothing else their citizens can be doing but “being at war”, but hey, look at that—divorce rates increased, I guess lawyers got more popular—but no one cares, right? Because war is numbers, deaths, dollars, drones, who cares Iraq’s unemployment rate finally improved?

Conference Project: A Map of Lost Countries


This map aims to make visible countries which, for whatever reason, no longer exist. These countries might have been annexed, voluntarily become part of another country, or have been secessionist states that were quickly dissolved. Some, like Transylvania, still exist somewhere in popular conciousness. Some, like the Principality of Trinidad, were born of the eccentricity of an individual.

Most began and ended as a result of the imperial game, something else this map visualises, the positioning of the countries and the shape of the map itself is based on a map from the early imperial period and the decoration is from another, suitably altered to distinguish the space these lost countries inhabit from the space created by early imperial mapping.

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The countries unfortunately came out too small to label them, but I do quite like the way they look like scraps of paper blowing across the barely-there earth. I do wish I had been able to put more personality into the countries, and put something of their story into the map, but I do like the implicit unity that the uniformity provides. Especially because there is in reality almost nothing similar about most of these countries.

The ’empty throne’/’empty globe’ line art was adapted from a map in which the globe was populated and the throne occupied.

Detail3 I like the idea of vestiges of imperial trappings rendered meaningless but still framing the content. Originally I planned to keep more of the border and merely warp it to suggest the change. I really liked the vibrant colours and wasted a lot of time trying to make this work:


I learnt a great deal about my software from this project and my project changed a great deal due to my software and the limitations imposed by my knowledge of it. Not being able to translate an idea into pixels is still very frustrating, but I was determined not to just give up resort to a more comfortable medium again,

The biggest complication in the execution of this project was therefore my uncertainly about exactly what I wanted/could do. I am worried that it came out rather like my self portrait aesthetically speaking; clearly I have a strong unconscious pull in the direction of clean lines and plain backgrounds.

Visually I am happy with how this project looks, and I would like to think that the idea comes across, although I have a suspicion I may have made some choices for aesthetic rather than artistic reasons. I regret that I was not able to label the countries, because otherwise they remain somewhat lost, even when ‘mapped’, but there simply wasn’t space.

No single concept from the class particularly influenced this project, rather the concept of the whole class did. Lost countries is perhaps the most literal route one could take in a class called ‘mapping the invisible’. Thankfully ‘literal’ does not in this case mean either simple or uninteresting. I acquired a mass of facts; some new skills; a boatload of geographical, political and artistic theory; and have thoroughly enjoyed myself in the process.

Conference Project: A Narrative Map of the Invisible.

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My conference project maps an invisible, imagined geography. It is a choose your own adventure/scavenger hunt hybrid which leads the participants to inhabit an invisible forest which overlays the campus landscape.


My project changed overtime because I initially planned to write several different stories. Instead, I decided to write one story that allowed the participant to inhabit the roll of the main character and make decisions about what to do next. I thought this might be more revealing of the psychogeography of the individuals.

The only complication was that someone left with all of my #8 notes so I will have to recreate those.


I was inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. I wanted to create an imaginary landscape that has its own specific affect, just like the cities Calvino describes.

Conference Project: NYC: A Study of Light

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My map defines the invisible process of the way in which natural light adds to the beauty and theatricality of specific buildings in New York City. I feel as though the sunlight that streams in through the windows of these architectural monuments adds to the beauty and warmth of the building itself, and ultimately leads to a type of performance put on by the interior of the structure. This “performance” makes the audience (or people within the structure) pay attention to the way in which the light hits various parts of the room, allowing better understanding or “absorption” of the architecture.

The viewer’s participation and individual reaction to the work deems the work itself as a theatrical performance meant to inspire reflection. There are specific factors that are applied to art and architecture (such as time and space in relation to weather, lighting, and season) that are regarded as essential to the display (or the performance) of the piece. The experience of the individual is what ultimately defines the work; an experience that is aroused by the way in which the room or building is displayed.

A lot of inspiration for this conference project comes from Tadao Ando’s Church of Light. This structure is one of the prime examples of the concept of theatricality in architecture and the difference between a structure’s era of “performance” versus the time in which environmental factors are not in favor of the building. The interior of the church is simple with very little ornament, and the major focus point of the structure (a large cross cut out of the wall that provides a source of light to the inside of the building) relates the interior directly to the exterior. In addition, essentially all of the visual documentation of this structure is taken at the point of the epiphany, and never when the interior is “void”; an act of censorship similar to the way in which artists can control the environment in which their work is displayed, unlike the real, functioning structure of the Church of Light in a current and continuous context.

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Tado Ando’s “Church of Light” Source: Google Images/forums.cgsociety.org

In this project, I went to various locations in my neighborhood on the upper west side and took note of which direction the windows were facing. I went to the Apple Store (SE), my own apartment (SE and S), Lincoln Center Opera House (E), Church of St. Paul the Apostle (SW and NW), and Grand Central Terminal (W and SW). After going back to these places 2-3 times throughout the semester, I realized that there were certain directions (most prominently, Southwest)  in which the sunlight was more consistently shown through the widow. This is where the surface of my map plays an important part; the yellow of the southwest corner represents the most sunlight while the opposite side of the “compass” (the Northeast corner) is gray and dark. Then, I took the pictures of the sunlight streaming through the windows and plotted them on the map’s surface in relation to the connection system: the compass.

Our initial discussions about what renders something “invisible” to society greatly influenced my thoughts the process behind figuring out this conference project. I feel as though the natural light coming in through a window is something that is so common that it is frequently overlooked, yet it still possesses a beauty that in the rare moments it is recognized, there are always feelings of warmth and pleasure associated with this experience. In this map I hope to bring this invisible process to light.

Throughout the semester, this project went through a series of revisions; all of which contributed to the final product. In the beginning, I focused solely on collecting data and studying the light that came into these buildings, contemplating direction, time of day, and height of the structures. After this stage of the process was complete, I discussed the ways in which I would plot these points, and what the surface of the map would be. Through trial and error, I established that the surface of the map would attempt to copy the “color” of light; as in, the way in which sunsets (one of the more vivid displays of light) have countless variations of color schemes. I took multiple pictures of sunsets and made many copies of the color gradients that were displayed in the photo.

One of the main complications that presented itself throughout this project was the fact that many of the buildings I studied in New York City are surrounded by other, taller structures. This meant that there were often times when sunlight should have been streaming in through windows in the building, but this warmth was being blocked by the rest of the towering city. Even on the sunny days I went to these buildings, they would often seem a lot darker in comparison to the sun’s actual force that day. (Side Note: While most of the buildings were mostly dark, if one went a few blocks away to the great lawn in Central Park, hoards of people were swarming for a spot in the sun).

A pleasant surprise while working on this project were the reactions (unprompted) of other people in the spaces I was studying. There were times (although infrequent) that people would stop for a second and bask in the warmth of the sunlight indoors, or purposefully stand in the patch of natural light on the ground. Without even realizing it, the few people that displayed this behavior confirmed my idea that this was something beautiful; something that could be mapped and discussed.

The concepts from the class that influenced this project the most were the discussions we had on what could be deemed “invisible” in this society. In addition, the discussion during the Psychogeography project about “site-specific” sculptures was incredibly relevant to my project in the sense that in the buildings I studied, environmental factors were directly related to the various data I collected.    

Conference Project: A Map of the Ordinary



My map defines the invisible process of the Ordinary. Kathleen Stewart’s depiction of this concept in her ethnography Ordinary Affects inspired my attempt to adapt this into the format of a map. As an anthropologist, Stewart attempts to illustrate life in America without using oversimplifying terms and systems. In the introduction to Ordinary Affects, she states that “the notion of a totalized system, of which everything is is already somehow a part, is not helpful…in the effort to approach a weighted and reeling present.” Instead of using the typical academic social science semiotic jargon to explain phenomenon, she told a story about America through vignettes that followed affects, rather than symbols.

In my map, I hoped to create an alternative type of map of affects, as Kathleen Stewart wrote an alternative social science ethnography. Instead of creating a representational map of a distinctive system, I made a map of the ordinary details of life that are normally left out of maps. I used a chart of the stock market crash, because it is one image of a larger system comprised of statistics that many people use to define American Life. This system leaves out a lot of the smaller details of ordinary encounters. The stock market chart is intentionally low resolution: I played around with just tracing the shapes of the line rather than using the image from the Internet, but I realized that having the chart in low resolution would bring out rather than compete with the other details that I wanted to highlight, like the Google Maps screenshots and ripped up notes.

The images from Google Maps represent random, seemingly insignificant views of America that are often ignored in favor of zoomed out maps or images of places with higher populations. I did a series of psychogeographic “derives” to find these places on Google street view, and I decided to display them by “cutting” out parts of the stock market chart on photoshop. I wanted these cut outs to look more like rips in the surface of the chart, similar to the paper rips on the side of the notes, but I could not quite figure out how to do that unfortunately.

The notes on the border were the last development to this project. Because the stock market chart is rectangular, I did not use the entire 40 by 40 space. The map looked incomplete, and I was not sure how to add to it. After some of our class discussions, I decided to use the borders to add another narrative element to the map in addition to the “sign system” of marking where ordinary events occurred. I used ripped up notes to expand upon the idea of showing ordinary parts of life by writing (fictional) scraps of somewhat mundane topics, like grocery shopping lists or gossip. Aesthetically, one part of this that I wish I could improve is the handwriting. I found it really difficult to change my handwriting for each different note, and as a result they all look like they are by the same person. Additionally, I used the same type of paper for all of the notes, so if I had more time for this project I would have tried to collect different materials to write on. Also, I am not completely sure what my connection system is- In some ways, the lines on the chart represent a connection system, but this doesn’t play a large role in the content of my map.

connection system or surface?

connection system or surface?

sign system and surface

sign system and surface