Tag Archives: space

Some thoughts on my very many questions

Last week, I listed seventeen questions that I collected over the course of this term. I decided to try and give my own self some feedback and I think it really helped me focus what needed to be further explored, what needed to be put on the backburner and what needed to be set aside to be addressed  later on when my thesis becomes more evolved. Here are some thoughts below:

1. What would be the content of the stories?
I think the word “stories” might need rewording. Something to do with a collection of opinions, statements. A space to tell what is not normally told in a way that is related to media.

2. How will I shape the storytelling?
So far, I am focused on collecting and editing, but not necessarily with the intent to reinterpret what the person is saying. Rather, I want to get to the core of what is being said. I’d like the “storytelling” to take on as much life on its own with as little influence from me as possible. Though, this leads to the question of the space/place this exists. 

3. How does a public space facilitate new relationships?
The Text Wall project was an example of a public area that helped facilitate new relationships amongst a family. It’s not a question about if a public space CAN but rather it’s about HOW it provokes new relationships. I’m still unsure about the space/place and am leaning towards this being an installation. But I also have been exploring the idea of corners, ceilings, nooks…often “underutilized spaces”.

4. What are methods of integrating multiple narratives and multiple interpretations of those narratives in one place?
In my past work, I compiled a large sum of voices in one place – a wall (view past work blog entry). The interaction with my wall projects could be either singular or multiple, and each interaction evoked different outcomes with the participants. I think about my past work and know that there are takeaways I can utilize. I think the  voices were effective, but I think the medium (the wall) needs to be explored.  

5. How do my artifacts and visual collections connect to one another? 
This term, I experimented with projections, light augmentation/refraction, shadows, motion and paper sculptures. All my projects had an organic feeling to them and a feeling of growth. Visually, my experiments have been blurred and distorted, sometimes dreamlike. They were all small/medium in size, and I think one of the next steps is to enlarge the scale of my work. I am attracted to large scale projects, and think that perhaps lighting might play a major role in this. 

The shadows, scale and distorted feel of my work have been points of attraction for those that have seen my experiments. They have sparked curiosity and intrigue and I want to push these elements further.

6. How does the physical space merge with the body and why is that important?
A place of familiarity or a place of welcome. A place that seems like it’s somewhere else. A cross between James Turrell and Tara Donovan? These are inspiration artists for my work.

7. Can I get people to implicate themselves with the larger topics of the day?
Pass. This is something I can’t answer right now. Or maybe this is just a badly phrased question.

8. What if the information triggered a change in the shape of the interface, allowing one to better understand the meaning and mood of the content?
How would the so-called “interface” change in shape? Does it physically move or is movement illusionary because of a change in lighting? I am actually not interested in a moving interface, but do have an interest in lighting, particularly a mix of artificial and natural lighting. I think lighting can assist in both changing the ambiance of a space/place, but I’d have to say that lighting will be one of the factors that I will address towards the later half of my M5 term. 

9. Integrating cultural traditions (i.e. taking shoes off, leaving artifacts, etc.)?
I think the integration of “cultural traditions” is also something I will address later. For example, taking shoes off to enter a space/place (namely, the exhibition) is something perhaps of a detail that I will keep on a side list of “things to do” throughout M5.

10. A space where you can imagine the existence of another place?
I want to evoke a feeling of another place, perhaps even another dimension. I’ve had an interest in “the beyond”, the horizon right as the sun sets, “the otherside”…I think stories relate to these interests because stories relate to another time – either the past or the future – and of something fictional or true. 

In particular, personal questions (i.e. wall projects that asked about rants/raves and about predictions of the future) that are not often outwardly expressed or discussed are often encapsulated in a different place of the body and mind, almost in a different almost unshared or private dimension of the self.

11. How can we use existing spaces as an interface?
Is it about interface? I think I can use existing spaces, in particular the “underutilized spaces” of corners, ceilings and nooks. I think my main interests are about stories and dimensions. 

12. What if it’s about a new space for reflection? What if it’s about a social network specifically meant to make people more conscious or accountable to one another?
I don’t think it’s about social networking. I think it can be a new space for reflection, listening and contemplation. What I like about time is not about how fast we can go, but more about how much we need to slow down. (Einstein’s Dreams)

13. “Who am I? How do I know that I am more?” 
This was a question posed by Eckhart Tolle and I’m going to have to pass on this one.

14. What do we quest for? How does our spirituality reveal itself in the objects we own, the food we eat, the rituals we perform, the way we dress, the way we talk? Are we committed to an overall ancient truth or do we customize what we want to believe in?
“Spirituality” was an entry point. It is no longer the main drive in my thesis project, but relates to the idea of “the otherside”. I was trying to find a word to replace “spirituality” and I’m leaning towards the word “dimension”. Regarding rituals or customs, I do think rituals might be an element that could compliment my work. Or perhaps it’s just a detail better left out of the picture…once again, a thing to put in my side list.

15. What could happen on different scales? What would happen if a person’s perspective was inverted? (i.e. make people feel small or upside down, or high above…)
Is there a benefit to feeling enclosed (like in a cocoon) or feeling like there’s more of something in that space? Perhaps it’s about sculpture and tellings, which relates to the organic aspect of some of my explorations.

16. How much is ambient and how much is actually triggered by interaction?
I don’t know the answer to this yet, but will address this issue next.
17. Where would this exist? An exhibition? A building?…
I’m thinking that this will most likely be an exhibition/ temporary installation piece that could have the potential to exist in a more permanent space in the future. Again, I have an interest in larger scaled projects, so I’m thinking this may be an installation large enough for several people to exist at the same time. I know this will evolve over the course of the upcoming Spring and early Summer months.



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):

Storytelling and Space

Content, content, content! Form and function… . What will be the content in my work throughout this year? How is that relevant and how has it manifested in my past work or in my interests as a media designer? 

One of the questions that I have been challenged with and am just beginning to address is how storytelling might be able to exist in my thesis project. Storytelling has managed to manifest itself through several of my projects, and I think it is an important point of interest that has the potential to drive the content in my work. 

Storytelling is a form of communication that adds value to our culture, traditions and beliefs. Storytelling adds sincerity to  events and perspectives to moments in time. Storytelling can be intentional, but often times it is just a mode of expressing ourselves not just verbally, but visually as well. It is not just through our mouths or the written word, but it is also through our body language and the artifacts we make that we communicate things that are often very personal. 

Storytelling isn’t just fictional or non-fictional narrative, but it is also a method of disseminating information. It is a form of communication that can be imaginative and memorable. It allows us to interpret the images that form in our minds, and helps us build relationships and connections with people and places.

Storytelling can exist anywhere – between persons, through music, in a book, in a dance, in a painting… . Stories can travel or fade away, be reshaped or reinvented. They can start as truth and end up as legends. They can carry history or predict a future. 

In regards to my thesis, I am wondering how storytelling can integrate itself in a space. I also want to look into making stories more interpretive, rather than literal. It seems that my thesis is gearing itself to include visuals and sound. Advisor, Phil van Allen posed the idea of inverting the usual usages around visuals and audio. What if there was a space where the visual was more abstract and emotional and the audio was more literal? How can a space be augmented to become more personable and meaningful?

I looked back at some of the potentialities of my past work, sifting through unanswered questions, speculations and what-ifs. I pulled out questions such as:
– How does a public space facilitate new relationships?
– How do designed variations in a space change the way a person interacts with that space or with other people in that space? 
– What are methods of integrating multiple narratives and multiple interpretations of those narratives in one place? (or perhaps in several places that are somehow linked to one another?)

In my time as a student, I’ve learned that a seemingly normal space, or a space of familiarity, can be reinterpreted and re-sculpted in a way that opens new affordances not otherwise expected of the place. I’ve also been learning that interactions in a space can exist in a multiplicity of ways. Small, more personable or private interactions can exist in the same space as larger, more public ones. 

I know I do not want my project to be literal (that’s just a no no). I believe and trust that things can naturally emerge, and I also believe that serendipitous or more ambiguous moments allow for deeper connections. As a media designer, I do not believe it is my job to necessarily hand people information on a plate. I believe it is important for people to be more critical of their own lives and I believe it is one of my goals as a designer to create more points of inspiration and desire…portals to the imagination, portals of reflection.

Project II: Iterate


Over the course of this next month, I will begin an exploration of materials and light. After last weeks experiment with vellum (see Paper Exploration posting), I decided that I would like to continue to focus on space, particularly corners and ceilings…nooks. 

As I create these iterations over the next few weeks, I plan to reflect on how two bigger themes also play into the designs: storytelling and spirituality. These are two main themes that have been of interest to me during my time in the Media Design Program (and prior).

My plan is to use different materials each week to create these iterations – paper, fabric, reflective materials, etc. Backlighting, LED’s and projections may also be incorporated into the making process. Photography will also play an important role, as it did with the first paper exploration. 

Tentative Project Schedule (we are currently in Week 7 of the Spring Term):
Week 7-8:
. exploration using paper 
. contact PadLAb/CMTEL lab 
. begin collecting inspiration images

Week 8-9:
. explore reflective, iridescent materials 
. Griffith Observatory
. continue inspiration collection

Week 9-10:
. exploration using fabric or other suggest material
. continue inspiration collection

Week 10-11:
. test explorations with lighting and projections (or animated lighted patterns)
. complete final explorations
. prepare in-class presentation

Week 11-12:
. complete any further explorations
. prepare final thesis review presentation

Week 12:
. Thesis Review

Paper Exploration

I wanted to play with light and space so I put together a small 3D mock up made of vellum. I backlit some of the images to show the contrast in dimensions. I wanted to play with the idea of tunnels, light and the infinite. I was trying to imagine myself walking through a space like this. What would it feel like to be in a space where you felt like there was more to it? A space where you can imagine the existence of another place? You can view more photos on my flickr site.




backlit from the side

three-quarter view

blurred three-quarter view 

full side view

full topographical view

Light and Space 2


I did another image exploration of light and space tonight and looked for more specific images that related to the idea of  nature, the infinite and the beyond. I referred to works by architects like Tadao Ando, Jean Nouvel and designers like James Turrell for inspiration. In the coming weeks, I plan to explore this part of my thesis further through making 3D mock ups and playing with a combination of artificial and natural light.