learning the ropes

things I made at ITP and after: sketches, prototypes, and other documentation

Monday, November 27, 2006

Assembling Portfolio

We have something like three or four weeks until the end of the semester. I’ve been working to assemble my project portfolio for Spatial Design. As I flipped through all of the pictures and notes I’ve taken, I started feeling unsure of how to organize all of it into a neat package. How do I sum up “me” or what “I” have to offer?

I started out searching for other ITP Spatial Design portfolios and ended up discovering e-Portfolios. I managed to restrain myself before diving headlong into the world of personal content management systems. There is something about information storing, sorting, searching, and organization that grabs my attention. As I was preparing to start classes at ITP I gave my then “old” (meaning several months) wikidpad system a shake for Evernote. I tried out GoBinder, Windows Journal, and most recently OneNote. This has almost been an obsession for me. How do I store the information I collect each day. How do I organize it so I can find it again. How do I display it so others can get a sense of what I’ve been doing?

posted by Michael at 9:54 pm  

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Projection Experiments

Allistar and I did some experiments this afternoon for our final project in Spatial Design. It’s going to be a “green” place of refuge.

posted by Michael at 9:48 pm  

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Week 4 – Motion Assignment

I took a short movie of Kelly walking across the kitchen, opening the door, and walking through it. The motion of her forearms created a 3-dimensional volume which I rendered in aluminum and brass tubing joined with aircraft cables.

On Thursday night I brought the structure home on the bus and found it to be quite the conversation starter. It was interesting to watch people watching me.

Design Process
motion study

NOTES - experiments - 1 NOTES - experiments - 2 NOTES - experiments - 3

Near completion
Motion Assignment - start Motion Assignment

The Structure
Motion Assignment - finished - home install

posted by Michael at 9:07 pm  

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More on Spatial Design Assignment 2

Lisa Lurie commented that the shape of the photo collage I assembled was an interesting piece by itself. She also suggested that a black background might increase the sense of being in the room.

Somewhere in the back of my mind were memories of books from my childhood — the kind of books you cut shapes out of that become 3-dimensional objects. The form of the Living Room Composites I was created must have reminded me of the flattened out spheres from those books.

Living Room Composite - Final

Originally, I was trying to assemble and distort the photos to represent the 3-dimensional space on the flat surface of the computer screen. With the second composite, I worried less about distoring the perspective of the photos and more about matching up each of the rows of shots I had taken. Taking the X-Acto in hand, I was able to transform the flat images back into 3-dimensional space by way of the curved lens through which the light in the room had reflected into the camera. After cutting between the “arms” of the image, I pulled them together into a hemisphere to match up the duplicated parts of the images.

The unknown is whether this satisfies the requirements of the assignment. I worked with thumbnails of the original 3 megapixel images in order to keep the “technology frustration” to a minimum — not having to worry so much about the time I had invested in the slow process of manipulating large images if the concept didn’t work out. As it stands, my “model” is about 4″ across and I’m not sure if it will be possible for people who are unfamiliar with my room to discern the objects in it.

posted by Michael at 7:34 am  

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Working on Assignment 2

Living Room Composite - 1

I spent a bit of the afternoon photographing my living room. I spent even more time manipulating the images to try to reconstruct the perspective of the room. Am I spending too much time on this? I’m not sure that sketching would be quicker — but it would look more accurate.

posted by Michael at 9:36 pm  

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Meditation: Light and Space

This two minute video explores the interaction between light and space.

A melancholy sleepless night is transformed by a thunderstorm.

- 1′ x 1′ x 1′ (appx) set made out of foamcore
- Sound design created from Creative Commons-licensed elements from FreeSound
- Piano music recorded in my home studio

posted by Michael at 8:48 am  

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Roosevelt Island

This entry is a duplicate of the entry that I tried to post to the Spatial Design blog. Hopefully I will figure out a better way to do this instead of creating entries in both places. Suggestions?

Rode out to Roosevelt Island (history) with folks from class. The view from the tram was quite spectacular. We were in the middle of the air in a space defined by the walls and floor of the tram car — held in place by the cable above us.

Roosevelt Island Tram (reduced).jpg

I attracted the attention of the Grog Shop’s owner by stopping to shoot a photo.

the grog shop.jpg

I was more interested in documenting the duplicated shops signs and the glass-enclosed walkway rather than taking a picture of his shop. He sent someone out to ask me what I was doing. I fumbled a bit for words because he gave me the impression I was doing something wrong. When I explained that I was on Roosevelt Island as part of a class assignment, he asked if I could send him the photo. The Grog Shop doesn’t seem to have a website, though… so I guess he’ll have to wait until the next time I’m on the island — and remember to print the photo.

I found the island to be very angular: many of the buildings had strong prependicular lines jutting out of their facades. It seemed very ordered, controlled, and planned — a stark contrast to Manhattan’s jumble of towers. In some ways it made me forget about the presence of Manhattan. The tall apartment towers on the west side of Main street effectively block off any view or sound of Manhattan.

We spent some time at the northern tip of the island watching passing tug boats. I wondered who Vicki Holland was, but couldn’t find out much about her.

Vicki Holland Lighthouse.jpg

One of the things that intrigued me in our first class with Jean-Marc was his sense of the history of places. I would have to admit that I rarely have had an interest about this — until now. From the small bit I’ve read about the island it has changed drastically over the past forty years from “Welfare Island” into a self-governed (?), intentional community (again? — perhaps this is not the correct term).

posted by Michael at 9:15 pm  

Saturday, September 9, 2006


I’m in a world of stone — meticulously processed stone. Stone that is drilled and cracked and chipped and polished. Before this trip to the Noguchi museum (and our first class on light I had very little appreciation for the variety of values that texture can produce. The same material, seemingly on the same plane in space can exhibit difference in value just by subtley texturing it.

This is a peaceful space — but an overwhelming one. I have come in contact with the work of one man’s lifetime. There is so much to take in, to try to understand, to appreciate.

The pieces I enjoyed the most were:


The Roar


I found the texture of one of the pieces really fascinating:

As I learned in class today, the stone is generally drilled in the quarry, but Noguchi used this technique in “miniature” to work details into his work. Note the areas that were left rough and those that were polished

posted by Michael at 8:00 pm  

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