After a while off this blog to focus on my thesis work (at some point the research goes better when it stays in one medium – much of the work I read was printed, and assembling books then transcribing my written notes to a blog simply didn’t make sense.

So what’s new? A new look! The old one was studenty, and now that I’ve graduated and I’m looking for full time positions in design, I thought a change would be good. Other stuff:

New Narrative

My thesis, New Narrative, is complete, and was extraordinarily well received. It dealt with the ways in which new media change the process of creating and telling stories, and how this affects individuals (who use narratives to define their lives and experiences), communities (where narratives act as shared history, and where digital narratives become a crowdsourced, public, history), and businesses (where new ays of storytelling will define the way in which episodic entertainment will be delivered and consumed). A brief portfolio sample can be seen here: New Narrative

Vice Controller

My new collaboration, Vice Controller, with artist/scientist Neo Chung didn’t get Kickstarted successfully, but we’re building it anyway! We’re simply funding it ourselves, and it might be a bit of a slow process, since we both have other important engagements. But expect updates soon!


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Another new print-based work: Preflight. This was a team effort in creating a narrative structure around a social ritual, in this case, the airport experience. We designed a set of 6 accordion-style foldout books with custom patterns on the verso side, each telling a story of the journey to a flight through the eyes of very different characters. Type, image and overall visual style are used to define the viewpoints of these characters, and a two part cover featuring photography of a carryon bag and its contents are used as introductions to the characters’ personalities.

Expect more frequent updates on my other design research soon.


Updated Thesis Presentation


Thesis W7

My thesis will present the hypothesis that the personal narrative has grown stagnant: it has deteriorated in quality and value as it has proliferated, and as viewer attention spans have decreased. I propose to study how stories build relationships with audiences and how certain qualities can make narratives immersive, with the aim of developing new tools or methods for the creation of user generated content.

Currently, personal narratives take the form of writing (eg: blogs and social media posts), video (eg: youtube) and sound (eg: podcasts). There have also been attempts at combining these in an effort to produce multimedia narratives. Though this may be one solution to creating new modes of expression through personal content, I contend that a deeper analysis of the idea of the story, and how an audience becomes invested in it, can provide insights into the process.

PDF Presentation

Thesis W6

My thesis will present the hypothesis that the user generated personal narrative has grown stagnant, and that by combining diverse media into integrated, location dependent experiences, we can create new ways in which to express them..

Currently, personal narratives take the form of writing (eg: blogs and social media posts), video (eg: youtube) and sound (eg: podcasts). There have also been attempts at combining these for specific purposes such as walking tours. I propose to adopt these forms, keeping in mind the ideas of location awareness, digital information overlays and non linear narrative, to produce immersive storytelling experiences.

Such an approach allows participants to engage interactively with content created by others, to walk in the footsteps of someone telling a story and experience described events in their immediate environments.


History of storytelling methods:
-Spoken word, Written word, Parables to Novels, the introduction of sound and visuals.
-Performances, Street artists, buskers – as traveling narratives.
-Comparative advantages of each medium/method, why are some more successful?
-How to make a viewer invest time in a narrative. Long vs. short format, personal association.
-Comparison of location dependent and location independent media
-Creating an experience through language and expression.
-Where specifically does the opportunity to improve lie?

The existing form of the narrative in different media:
-Visuals: Photos, Video (amateur vs. curated/edited), Graphics, Maps, Postcards,
-Words: Books, Notes, Radio, Digital, Podcasts, Sound clips, As part of video, City/Museum tours, Installations
-Smells, touch, taste: Descriptions of these sensations in various media, Attempts to recreate them digitally, and Experiencing them on location. Food guides and reviews, recommendations from friends.
-Form and continuity: Short vs. long posts, continuous streams (social media), the type of personal information shared, and who it interests.
-Nonconventional narrative experiences (Florence Nightingale stethoscope audio tour, Soundwalk)

The tools used to create these narratives, and how to make them accessible:
-History of online user generated content, why it became feasible
-How creation tools (Photo, sound and video editors, writing, mapping editors) are made to be accessible

How these tools can be combined in new ways (in light of previous research):
-Keeping in mind the power of various means of storytelling
-How to incorporate the viewer as a participant
-How to maintain interest.
-How to make the tools accessible

PDF Presentation

A visualization I’m working on

Using some data from wikipedia, idea courtesy of a friend. I’m looking for ways to generate my heat map values automatically as swatches, the other (less elegant) way will be to output a heatmap from another graphing tool and then import to illustrator and get swatches. Just pulled text from wikipedia for the bottom part for now.

EDIT: I found a way to make gradients in photoshop and separate them into values for 60 steps (years). Im

Thesis W4 – Brand new hypothesis and paper outline

The following is an outline for my thesis paper, formed around a new hypothesis I’ve been working with.

1-Hypothesis presentation

My thesis will present the hypothesis that the current systems used to organize and create art for public spaces are fundamentally flawed, and that the process can be streamlined through the use of technological solutions that aid with the involvement of community members and municipalities for a more efficient and interesting experience.

Currently, public art takes the form of graffiti, which is unwarranted and often unwanted, or public installations, which are created by the collaboration of an artist and a municipality in a specific location. These approaches have the disadvantages of being removed from the community, unconcerned with city planning and unorganized as public events. I propose that by using virtual public forums and augmented reality (AR) software, artists can more easily submit ideas for spaces that can benefit from public art, connect with city officials to install work with permission and also involve local communities in ideation and creation.

2-The importance of public art and installations

From a community perspective
From an art history perspective

3-Discussion of former methods

The call for proposals, RFPs
The process of choosing artists by city planners
Projects that attempt to involve community members
The disadvantages of having a closed system of RFPs and interpersonal communication

4-Tackling the problem with design methodology (why this concrens us as designers)

5-The forms that my solution may take

For a solution to work for this issue, it must be comprehensive and tackle the many existing problems of the current systems, Thus these following avenues for solutions must be used in combination:

Introducing virtual public forums, and making them accessible to entire communities
Creating democratic proposal submission and review systems
Enabling ways to view proposals in their actual proposed spaces
Encouraging continued contact with city officials
Creating incentives to beautify public spaces, asking for community involvement not only for permissions, but also for ideation and creation
Organizing public events to promote the process as it progresses/once it is complete.

6-How I implemented these solutions

Motion Design 2 / Storyboard+Thoughts

Working with someone else’s work is as as hard as working with your own, I think. I’m lucky Ray’s assets provide a great starting point for this animation. I’m thinking of using the Tankhead character as a focus – having him come onto the screen and set off chain reactions of growing colored squares (which define the look of Goodswan on the cd covers and website through shape and palette.) Tankhead builds a cube of squares which then explodes to reveal the Goodswan logotype.

Since Tankhead currently only has two poses, I might have to redraw him and generate inbetweens for a fluid piece. Part of that may involve making the animation flicker and jerk, to make my job a little easier and add some character to…the character. I hoping that the visual tension between hand drawn, sketched Tankhead and the clean vector squares will resemble the aural tension between the rock guitars and the synthesized sounds in Goodswan’s music.

Thinking Board

Thesis W3 – Hypothesis, Values

My aims as a designer: lucidity.

My hypothesis:

Fractal geometry is defined as fragmented forms in which parts are similar in shape and structure to the whole form. A network graph maps points, which in this case will be representative of individual people on the internet, on a space by drawing links between them to show how they are connected in a very specific way.

My thesis will present the hypothesis that studying the visual analogy between fractal forms and network graphs can lead to an understanding of how to translate elements of virtual social experiences into real world experiences.

By understanding what this analogy means, perhaps I can bring elements of virtual social environments (such as the apparent ease with which people interact and make connections) into actual social encounters. This can improve day to day interactions, and inform the way we make new friends and acquaintances in real life.

Thesis W2 – Research Topics

-SWN theory deals with connections between points. Thus network form analysis can be useful any time there are distinct parts to a whole. What other groups of points can be analyzed this way?

-Biology networks: Food chains, group communications, neural communication, biomass displacement,

-Social: Real networks, virtual networks and how interest groups and friends are linked, social/professional networks and their differences, how sites like linkedin differ from facebook in the types of links they draw between people.

-Virtual worlds: Analysis has been done on virtual game world sizes and the advantages/disadvantages they confer. What does the transportation network between points in the world say about enjoyability, perceived size and realism?

-Virtual information networks: Virtual information networks such as libraries, how a website like wikipedia links between articles, and the meaning of those relations in light of information accessibility and presentation. Qwiki, and how linear narratives of information presentation affect linkage.

-Real information networks: Mail was used by Milgram in his 6 degrees experiment, so physical communications systems play a part in SWNs. Is this dependent on real world transport networks? How do library systems work, in light of analysis on, for example, Wikipedia? Do library groups at Metropolitan centers act as clusters, and do inter library loans act as bridges linking clusters?

-Buchanan describes river flow and river drainage area as examples of SWNs formed naturally. Mandelbrot talks about similar forms of natural geological phenomena, rivers and mountains, through the lens of fractal geometry. Is this a starting point for finding a connection between the two?

-In what ways was non euclidean geometry a failure at describing SWNs? (Marc Buchanan only glosses over this failure)

-If I start a thesis blog separate from this one, which deals only with my research readings, i.e.: My thoughts, comments and analyses of my readings, and I then proceed to link every article I read using references to source material and groupings into blog categories and subcategories, will the linkages between individual data points form a SWN? This could be a practical application of SWN generation.