"The encrypted sculpture artist Ashley Zelinskie, the designer and textile researcher Francesca Rodriguez Sawaya and the PhD mathematician specialist in knot theory Dr. Laura Taalman bring to Lima the interactive installation ‘Encrypted Bridge’, a hanging bridge weaved by hand that connects tradition with technology. Inspired by knot language and Peruvian textile designs, this installation invites everyone to add an encrypted message to the bridge. The language, created specifically for this installation, is inspired by the old record system Quipu, morse code, binary and hexadecimal. It was mathematically developed to encrypt letters in a knot system that would represent information in an equivalent way. ‘Encrypted Bridge’ utilizes the practice of art making as a way of remembering and honoring our cultural heritage, by using today’s technological tools."
It's about creating a new language that ties together the old ways of telling and archiving stories with the new ways of consuming them.
I'm fascinated by old record systems, mainly because I think about them as physical representations of data. When I started this project I was intrigue about understanding how these objects were used. They were definitely the technology at that time. The idea of physical objects that could tell you certain type of information, or even stories, seemed really interesting, mainly because of the way we store data nowadays. A really good friend asked me once “Do you think stories have less weight nowadays because they are in the cloud?”. Certainly they do for me. Maybe because I feel it’s easier and faster for them to disappear, and don’t leave any trace behind. The physicality of objects and what materials and texture add to it, was also really interesting. If by touching things we could recall stories, then maybe there’s something about those old record systems that we should re think and bring back.
I was particularly interested in one: Quipu. Quipu (a word that means ‘knot’ in Quechua, an Andean Language) was a record system used in the Incan Empire to keep a record of different things. It was based on knots and cords of different colors. There are still a lot of research going on about if they also kept stories in there, but it is said that the Quipu appeared when the Empire grew so much that they couldn’t keep track of everything.
The stories I wanted to tell:
I thought a lot about which were those stories I felt particularly interest in showing. It was in that process that I started thinking more about what has helped in the fast the act of building a collective memoir in different communities. I immediately got into Oral Traditions, and how these stories transmitted from generation to generation shared now only knowledge but also experiences. Some examples were cantos populares, cuentos, mitos, leyendas, poesía. The best things about this was to think about the relationship that is built between the teller and the audience, as well as how the stories being told were not static: they are alive, they breathe with the tellers’ breath and with that, they have survived time. As someone that has worked with video mostly my whole life, I wanted to try something different and work only with voice, with audio.
I also wanted to collect stories that could connect with people. Culture and identity are for me two big topics that are able to connect people and communities. Even if I thought about the future, I wanted a topic that could still be important and that could explain society nowadays. I gathered 5 persons from different countries, that migrated to another place for different reasons. I asked them how did they cultural identity changed when they migrated somewhere else. And each interview showed up a lot of layers we normally don’t see in people, that are related to who they are and how they have rebuild their lives being somewhere else.
The physical design:
Inspired by the type of material used in Quipus, and wanting to explore the power of different materials, I decided to weave. Textiles have always had a very important role in the preservation of culture and history. So I made a small loom and started weaving. I didn’t know much about the technical style of weaving, so I started with a simple design. I wanted to create a background where I could later add other elements, so I could have layers, in the same way the stories I collected had them. While I was doing this, I realized that I made a big mistake in the way I was pulling the yarn. I had some parts that were most loose than others, some were so tight that they will start creating a sort of design. The interesting thing was to realize that the weaving was transcribing a story, and that each part of it transmitted something different, depending on the way it was weaved. If we think about written or oral stories, it’s the way we combine the words and the way they are being said that gives meaning to the whole piece.
I talked about the important of tactility and tangibility. I made small pompons made of regular thread combined with conductive thread so when people would touch them, they would triggered sound. Using capacitive sensors, I connected the thread to Arduino and then to Max MSP to reproduce the audios. Each pompom contained a different story and the user could go from one to another, and go back if they want to.
Quipu is a physical installation inspired by a recording device used in the Incan Empire made of cords and knotted strings of different colors to capture elements of Oral Traditions. Interaction with it, will reveal daily stories collected from local communities that talk about their cultural identity and their own way of seeing society.
I keep thinking… How do we guarantee to the stored data a long lasting future?
This project was presented in the ITP Winter Show in December 2016.
An interactive wall installation that aims to create awareness about borders and walls between countries around the world.
The number of walls between nations has increased dramatically over the past decades, specially after 9/11. Fear, insecurity, migration and recent events like the refugee crisis or the deplorable terrorist attacks, are some of the reasons that have deeply influenced the decisions made by governments to build physical walls to protect their borders from their country neighbors. Even though we may be aware of this information, looking at the "big picture", as this project intends to show, allows the user to look at how the number of boundaries has changed our contemporary political world map.
As a result, we have created The Wall Map, an installation where users will be able to travel through time and explore how new borders and fences have been established since 1960 up to now, including those who have been already announced that will be build in the future.
About the installation:
It was made of a big piece of acrylic (60 inches X 40 inches) and about 500 LEDs that together stand in one a metal structures (the ones that hold the white boards). There are also two enclosures that should stand in a platform where the user can control what is being displayed in the map, as well as two sensors in the floor that when two persons stand in there, it triggers a projection of images that show the real situation in those borders.
This project was presented in the ITP Winter Show in December 2015.
An interactive documentary about the unrestrained times of Graffiti in New York.
This prototype was developed using Unity to create a scene that could represent a subway station in the 1980s. For this, we took pictures of real textures from an actual station to apply those textures to the objects in the scene.
We also wrote a script based on research made about the Graffiti scene at that time, and we used the DepthKit to shoot the interview.
As we strive to digitally replicate the real world with larger screens, higher resolutions, and better graphics, we ironically destroy the natural world we attempt to imitate. Replicating Nature confronts the individual with projected growing flowers that reverse their growth (until disappearing) when they are approached, portraying our desire to reproduce nature while actively destroying it.
For this installation, we used proximity sensors connected to Arduino hidden under the flower pots to detect the presence of people. The videos in full color (worked using After Effects) recreating the growing process of a flower are being triggered sending the values from the sensors to Max MSP and being projected using MadMapper against thin pieces of acrylic, giving the effect of a hologram.
Once someone approaches the installation, the videos are affected and turned into black and white, rewinding the growth of the flowers and finally disappearing.
For the ITP Spring Show 2016, we created a physical installation using iPad screens to display the videos and invite people to experience them.
(not) Wasted Project - Episode 1: Dumpster Diving
(not) Wasted Project - Episode 2: Farmers Market
(not) Wasted Project - Episode 3: The Lunch
Historias de Papel
What I take with me: "Definitely one of the most enriching professional experiences I've ever had. An amazing team and tons of stories, characters and images to share with everyone."
Host: Jimena Lindo; Director and Script: Gonzalo Benavente; Producer: Ana Paola Durand; Executive Producer:Francesca Rodriguez / Angela Galluccio; Assistant: Silvana García Lertora; Editor: Iván Cavero; Art Director: Grecia Barbieri; Camera: Arturo Távara / Sandro Palomino / Fred Fuentes
Historias de Papel is a Tv show transmited through Plus Tv (Channel 6 of Movistar Tv). This show is dedicated to literature and its host, Peruvian actress Jimena Lindo, takes us every chapter through the story of a different book. We combine fictional sketches of different parts of the story and interviews with artists, writers and musicians that have been influenced by the book. Our first season, launched in 2013, was called "My first book", where we dedicated it to the first books we read in our lives. This season was composed by 15 episodes that included: Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, Dracula, Pinocchio, The Extraordinary Journeys of Jules Verne, Little Woman, The Wizard of Oz, Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, and others.
The second season has been launched in September 2014 and it is dedicated to Universal Classics of all times. Our first premiers have been: Sense and Sensitivity, The Death of Arthur, Horror Stories of Edgard Allan Poe and Don Quijote de la Mancha. The weeks to come we will be premiering Moby Dick, The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, The Great Gatsby and many others.
You can also read about other TV Shows I participated on here.
Class # 1: School Management by Betsy Devos
Betsy Devos gets on my nerves. It’s not only that she is absolutely incompetent but every time she talks I get annoyed by everything that comes out of her mouth.
On my last semester at ITP, I took the class Teaching as Art with Taeyoon Choi. We spend a lot of times talking a lot about Syllabus and how they should become a Manifesto, that first interaction between the teacher and the student. He used to talk about it in a really poetical way and It’s been amazing to think about the Syllabus as an document that points to the hills, to this ideal class. “The language of the syllabus should be the language that you would like to hear spoken in the class (…) One should when reading a syllabus feel a kind of delight – and want to read it aloud.” (from Notes on Dunce Cap by Jesse Ball)
For this assignment, I wanted to work with all the transcription from the first interview Betsy Devos had in the Senate. I remember watching that interview and asking myself how much of a joke this woman was pretending to be the Secretary of Education, and not knowing anything about it. I thought that the best way to show this, was creating a syllabus based on everything she said, to show under this document structure what she has to offer. I scrapped the CSPAN webpage and took the noun phrases from her transcriptions to build a document with them.
Here’s my CODE from scraping the text that corresponds only to Betsy Devos. Then, I used TextBlob to take the nouns and phrase, using THIS.
Separately, I took the structure of the first part of a syllabus and erased certain parts. They I manually filled those blanks with phrases from the list.
Class # 2: Creative Narrative by Sean Spicer
For the second iteration of this project, I decided to work with Sean Spicer. He's definitely funny and it's one of those characters that when I see talking, I can't stop thinking how creative he is to say the things he says. We have to admit that he's also funny. And, as Betsy, he also gets on my nerves.
I used selenium to scrape some of his best appearances and put together this SYLLABUS about how he could teach Creative Narrative. This time, I also put together a small STORY, based on Pinocchio and replacing words he always uses.
A temperature sensor that will alert you when temperature gets too low, so you know it's time to wear a sweater.