Tag Archives: experiment

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Good News!

I met with Paula Goodman, Director of the K-12 Programs in Public Programs here at Art Center of Design. She gave me some great advice about Design-Based Learning. I will be attending the Summer Institute for Teachers as an observer starting next week. There, I will be introduced to Doreen Nelson, a professor at Art Center College of Design and California State Polytechnic University and will also have a chance to talk with some teachers.

I met with Bonnie Chau of 826LA, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. They are based out of the Time Travel Mart in Echo Park. We will be working together on developing 1-3 workshops with participating youth. I will be running a probe-based workshop basically getting youth to speculate about the FUTURE! using an LED hand-made creature and a few other great creative writing and drawing techniques! 

Almost done! The probe for the 826LA workshops is almost done. I will post photos before next week! In the meantime, here is a sketch of the probe I am developing for my workshop! It’s almost ready! Keep a lookout for it on my blog!!!

Probe sketch


Thesis isn’t just about picking something you like and running with it. It’s not about whittling down your understanding of a proposed topic into a precise outcome. It’s a push and pull. It’s about shifting your perspective from one day to the next. It’s about putting some things on the shelf, about exploring things that are hanging on by a thread, about going backwards, projecting blindly forward, and dancing around a bonfire of ideas until something emerges from the ashes.

There’s that old saying that Mother knows best. Well, Chairperson knows best too. I had a meeting with her a few weeks ago and she threw, what I call, a Golden Wrench into my work. For the last, roughly two and half weeks, I’ve been re-evaluating my explorations in relation to my interests within and beyond this program. I’ve been exploring things in relation to light, natural phenomena and it’s relation to human phenomena. I’ve mapped out past interests in relation to these current explorations, but in the meantime, had put other skill sets and endeavors to the wayside. While in the program, I’ve also been heavily involved in design research methodologies, social issues and design in education. What happened to those areas of interest? I have several answers for this. The point, however, is that I found a way to bring them back into the mix! This has caused me to redirect my focus on my thesis in ways still related to my explorations, but with a stronger emphasis on design research practices in relation to a pro-social agenda. 

While I was exploring light and natural/social phenomena, I was also exploring social structures of neighborhoods and communities. I didn’t post much on this blog about the social aspect of my exploration, but I was researching and examining how my experiments could situate themselves into urban environments, into societies. 

Current Standing:
My thesis project has been shifting towards developing a design-based practice in relation to social issues
. In specifics for this particular project, I am going to use Design Research tactics (both new and old) to understand how we can get youth and educators to think more critically about the future state of their world (“their world” being relative to the activities/workshops within which they will participate).  Through the creative means of a designed probe and workshop/series of workshops in collaboration with youth groups and educators, I will spend the next following weeks exploring ways in which we can get younger minds to spend time understanding the importance of speculation and asking questions. We are often taught to ask, Who, What, Where, When and How; but what about “What If?” 

How can I use the “future” as a jumping off point for this project? What creative and fun ways can we talk about the future? 

Can I start uncovering ways where design-based learning projects become a portal to a global workplace and/or society that values collaboration and creative means of developing ideas? Can the imagination situate itself in intellectual or academic arenas? How can I, as a designer, shape this effectively?

Water Creature Prototype II




Worked on getting the “Lillites” into the water today. These are just rough experiments using silicone molding. It came out looking a little like a jellyfish, or some sort of bioluminescent creature. The good thing is they are waterproof and buoyant! That was my goal for this round. Now it’s on the the important stuff – form and communication! More experiments to come! I’ll keep you posted.

“Lillites” Pre-Prototype



Spent some time making these tiny things today. I decided to call them “Lillites” for now because they’re only 1-inch in diameter. I’m going to prepare to try and get some swimming in the water! More to come…



I took a look at my first paper explorations and quickly sketched how multiples of them might look together. What if a room was sculpted with patterns adopted from this exploration? How does a sketch such as this correlate to storytelling? Perhaps the only way to find out is to build a portion of this to scale in the upcoming weeks! Don’t knock it ’til you try it Mari!

Somewhere Else? Something Else?

This week, I created a blow form out of acrylic and drizzled it with epoxy glue. I projected animations through it to see if the distortion created by the dried epoxy layer would reveal anything interesting. I got the idea to project through the blow form because of an earlier experiment when I tested to see how projections looked on a warped surface, as opposed to through a surface  (See Acrylic/Light Test). In particular, the Acrylic Light Test 2 video revealed an interesting find when the projection went through the acrylic slits and created shadows and patterns on the far wall. There were a few takeaways that emerged out of the experiment. I think something I’ve learned from these quick experiments is that not all the answers are right in front of your face. Nothing gets handed to you in this arena of design (I never believed in getting things handed to you anyways). One has to work hard to dig out and connect points of interest that seem encrusted in the depths of ourselves. These projects aren’t just about the reinterpretation or invention of new technology, media and design, but also a reinterpretation and invention of the self during the process. Often, what you expect isn’t what will happen (no matter how much you tell yourself not to have any expectations). And it takes a bit of energy to look at the details, however small, to realize what elements are relevant to one’s work.


This reminded me of the vellum “tunnel” I made a few weeks ago (Paper Exploration). This one plays on the expansion of space. I’m imaging how these experiments would feel on an extremely large scale versus a small microscopic scale:


This one seems more data oriented – points of light that can symbolize a type of data or an individual. The refraction caused by the epoxy makes the lights blur and overlap onto one another – this could represent connections between the data:


The next three videos remind me of sea life or some other living organic object. Perhaps the objects might grow or shrink depending upon it’s relationship to the space in which it exists?:


I just happened to be playing with my hands in front of the blow form and thought, “What if this lighting filled an entire room and what if people’s entire body silhouettes could be projected around them? Could it feel like a part of you or a reflection of you was in some other fuzzy world? Would the design of the patterns on the wall cause people to interact with their bodies differently?:


These last two were different because I projected an animation through the blow form (Jasper Morello). The animation itself is very stylized, but it evoked a feeling of another world, a visual of a future? The fuzziness felt dreamy, and the distortion made people more interested in understanding the narrative of the animation. It was also interesting because it seemed like scene changes in the animation could possible correlate to other movements (i.e. movements in the pattern and movements with our hands):