#3 And step on it

I came across a list of improbable research descriptions, one of them regarding the question: ‘How might a person’s desire be ‘frustrated’ by another person? ‘*

And the quote: ‘I do things like get in a taxi and say, “The library, and step on it.”‘ by David Foster Wallace.

It seemed that combining the two might create a solid foundation for a new story. I think that was a good start for exploring the creation of different storylines with computer-manipulated text.

⚡️ Here

* Philosophers David Birks and Thomas Douglas at the University of Oxford, the Journal of Value Inquiry, September 2017.

#2 The official manual for snake raising by Bashevis Singer

on  December 10, 1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer summed up his speech at the Nobel Banquet with the words: “Ladies and Gentlemen: There are five hundred reasons why I began to write for children, but to save time I will mention only ten of them.”

40 Years later I turned those 10 reasons into ‘The official manual for snake raising’. Singer is rolling in his grave.

#1 Transcript

⚡️⚡️⚡️ Four interviews with the American writer & illustrator Edward Gorey.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

– Part 1 –
Gorey: Well I think that is, for the… I would say off hand that was fatal for an actor to have an image of themselves
I: You mean to be attached to any…
Gorey: Or something I mean, you know, I don’t do this kind of thing, or this beneath me or… I mean I can say… I mean I can say this show is right for me, but not being… not… not because… not as a blancked thing… or… I don’t know, or anything that was even very obvious necessarily. I mean what kind of… two shows that seem very much alike one might be good for you and one might not. that’s like illustrating a book, some books I can illustrate some I can’t, and only I know for sure.
I: Project by project bases…
Gorey: Yes. Not that I haven’t illustrated a lot of books I was no good for, but, only I realized it, or at least as far as I know
I: What would those be?
Gorey: Well… oh I can think of… oh I have done more awful work that you believe humanly possible. I don’t like to think about it. I like to take the positive attitude and open up my little portfolio ‘oh isn’t that nice!’ khhhh… anyhow…

– Part 2 –
Gorey: Have you ever seen ‘Suture’? Well, it was made… it appeared on Sunday.. and so… I think at 1994, and it was made by two man’s names I presume they were young, and I’ve never heard a word about them since, and anyway… It is, absolutely the most deadpan movie I have ever seen. It starts out with a man driving to the airport in some place like Salt Lake City or Sante fe or somewhere or other. and, hmm, he picks up his brother at the airport, and you discover that he is going… he hasn’t seen his brother in a few years, but he has asked his brother to come and testify because he is being sued by somebody about something or other. They go back to his house, which is very obviously, hmm, a car dealership building. It is surrounded by concrete parking lots, and the building itself is kind of… you know… western modern. The living room is this huge open floor, obviously where the cars were displayed. And there is a stairway going up the side and there’s where the bedrooms are and everything. And, anyway, as the two brothers are driving back from the airport, they are talking about their past, and “Remember who nobody could tell us apart?” “Remember that trick we played on so and so?”. And so one of them is black and one is white. This is never mentioned in the movie. Never. And all through the movie, people confuse them. And at the very end, the white brother girlfriend goes off with the black brother.
I: By accident?
Gorey: Well.. You would… This is… It is never, never, I mean obviously they were sitting around one night and said wouldn’t it be great to do a movie about.. I’m not even sure… I’m not sure that they referred to as twins but they practically are… I mean… virtually they most be identical twins or people wouldn’t be mistaken them for each other all the time obviously! And they thought “this is a great idea for a movie!” and they went… they went ahead and did it. And it’s got quite a good plot, I mean it’s kind of involve… there is… hmm… and… one or two people you’ve seen before but everybody else which you’ve never seen at all. And it is just… you know I just set after it was over and I thought “I have never seen a movie like this. it’s really great!”.

– Part 3 –
Gorey: Well, I think I’ve been influenced a lot by things like… Well you know Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, The whole tradition of English nonsense first and stuff. There are a couple of people from the late 19 century who sort of do long, well much longer poems but in… not very clever rhyme schemes, and, you know sort of narrative things… No, of course, I suppose it goes back to Thomas Hood, Who wrote some very strange, you know some really quite violent, not necessarily for children, but I think they… haaa… I’m not sure if they appeared in ‘Punch’ or not…But I think, you know it was a whole thing I don’t know where you can find the actual first, first person who ever did this, but I suspect it goes back even further than we think. But I mean like like Lear you know was a great friend of Tennyson or something, and some of his stuff very sounds like Tennyson, you know, going slightly askew… Of course, some Tennyson sounds like Tennyson going slightly askew… whatever. Anyway.

– Part 4 –
Marion Vuilleumier: Since we’ve talked briefly about the children’s books, and I like to mention two. This one: ‘The Loathsome Couple’ what’s the Loathsome Couple doing?
Gorey: Laughing. well I… I’m starting from this one-off.
Vuilleumier: Well I tell you…
Gorey: This is by far my most unpleasant book, and I…
Vuilleumier: Oh, oh well, alright. We won’t talk about ‘The Loathsome Couple’ we’ll talk about another one. Haaa… in fact here is another one over here that is kind of interesting. ‘The Utter Zoo Alphabet’. So tell me about that one.
Gorey: Well that was one that was more or less as much intended for children as it was for adults, but, but probably by that time I was… am… the publisher… I think… who published this?
Vuilleumier: This one is…
Gorey: Oh it was…
Together: Hawthorne.
Vuilleumier: Mmhm.
Gorey: Which was sort of… it was the same editor I… I mean it was the, for my, editor who I had for years now was first there and they didn’t have children’s book department, as I remember or something, so… There again there was a question of you know, there was no…
Vuilleumier: Mmhm. But this reminds me kind of like an Edward Lear, because there is this the ‘Humglum’, and they… and the ‘Dawbis’, and you start to make up words, aaa… the ‘Epitwee`s’ and so on, and yet, they do look like ‘Epitwee`s’! now don’t you think those look like ‘Epitwee`s’ folks? I mean it is interesting how you take names and they seem to aaa.. to fit what you are talking about.
Gorey: Well it’s one of those things, that’s you know in a sense the hardest… some… one of the hardest parts, sort of, writing a suitable name, because…
Vuilleumier: Yes. I suppose. Yes. Ah, I…

#6 Video clock

Can we represent time counting differently? 🌛

I understood there is no real need in the clock hands if time is represented by a video, but something in keeping the minimal convention of just one hand felt right.

The second’s video is a short part of Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet show, Inspired by Picasso’s costume design for the theatre.

The Hours video is the cloudy sky.


In this project I discovered:
1. Kmart
2. How not to connect a switch
3. How to search and read datasheets 
4. There is nothing that hot glue cannot connect

Aluminum plate from an IKEA lamp

– H.

Final project – OH NO 🌩

It seems to me that the key to creating a physical experience in a virtual space, with an emphasis on a ‘zero frustration’ policy, is to create flexible systems that have room for the forgiveness that exists in the physical world. Systems which take into consideration our range of motion and the necessary learning curves.

I’ve created a version of the original Skifree game from 91′, controlled by scattered black beans – a controller which is not binary, without buttons. The tactility of the beans and the monster that lurks around the corner creates a funny experience that ranges from a sense of control to complete release.

The first point where I realized I’m onto something was at Pcomp user testing session:

After a few weeks of failed solutions to combine Pcomp and ICM:

I just let go. It turned out to be the best choice for both and started working with the web camera, analyzing dark and bright areas in the picture and added a figure.

From there I moved to lentils under a camera and a screen.
ICM user testing and iteration:

Back to the web camera for game mechanics and graphic:

Once I moved away from the web camera into the beans table + projection on top of the beans, it was way easier to understand the game mechanics needed, the necessary indication for a user to understand that the beans control the game:

The biggest challenge on that point was to limit the camera field, and understanding how to translate this limited field into the game axis (+ avoid dispersing beans on the entire floor).

Thanks to:
– Roi for debugging
– David for the box

I’ll create better documentation on the winter show, here is a small one.

It was tremendous fun to invite people and watch them play in order to improve. I got to know a lot of people on the floor, and some friendships came out of this playdate.

Another nice moment was on the final presentation where 5 people played together – up to that point I saw only one person playing at a time. 

On a personal note, on the first post in this class, I wrote: “I’m an Illustrator, I read a lot and have a nice sense of humor – my way of learning is by trying things I believe will trigger a positive reaction. Once I find the right ground to experiment and let go of all worries, no matter in which field – doors to different kinds of knowledge I didn’t even know exist reveal themselves and there is no greater pleasure.”

Little did I know.

Thanks a lot for teaching me what I know now.

– H.

# Enclosures

✨ New year’s wish chestnuts ✨

I thought of enclosures which exist in nature – marched into Whole Foods – and purchased a small bag of chestnuts for 1.95$.

1. Cut them in half using the band saw
2. Coated the sawed nuts from the inner side with glue
3. Asked Marco, Sam & Koji to write their New Year’s wishes
4. Inserted the wishes into the empty nut
5. Sewed the nuts back together

Happy new year.

– H.

#5 Materials and fasteners

For the Pcomp final, I made 3 illustrated sculptures, activated by light.

The original enclosures were supposed to be fully wooden with an aluminum plate top – a wonderful material – I sanded it with fine sandpaper, drilled in it, super easy super nice… ⚡️

After cutting the first two sides with the miter saw (how would have imagined me feeling comfortable with that) I quickly understood that since I need the flexibility that will enable me to repair the sensors and motors that will surely fail – the box cannot be made entirely of wood.

And that’s when the beautiful combination of cardboard and wood sewn with a thick cotton thread sparked.

The visual language of the enclosures worked well and complimented my illustrations.

Wood found outside in the dumpster
Cardboard from the shelf
Cotton thread I found on the floor
3 aluminum plates
$ 8.76


– H.

Winter show proposal

A version of the original Skifree game from 91′. The game is controlled by scattered black beans – a controller which is not binary, without buttons. The tactility of the beans and the monster that lurks around the corner creates a funny experience that ranges from a sense of control to complete release.

– H.