reading list

Pulling together some quotable quotes for my thesis and thought it would be nice to share my reading list from the last 2 years.

Robert Rauschenberg: Artsy

Allen Ruppersberg, The Secret of Life and Death

Bill Moggridge, Designing Interactions

Charles Peirce, Guess the riddle

Daniel Chandler, Semiotics, the basics

David Crow, Visible Signs

Edward De Bono, 6 Thinking Hats

Edward De Bono, Lateral Thinking

Edward R. Tufte, Envisioning Information

Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces

Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life

Itten, Design and Form

Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition

Jonas Mekas, Just Like a Shadow

Joseph Campbell, The hero with a 1000 faces

Joseph V. Mascelli, The 5 C’s of Cinematography

Kandinsky, Point and line to Plane

Kenya Hara, Designing Design

Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants

Malcolm Gladwell, Blink

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everday Life

R. Klanten, Data Flow

Robert E. Horn, Mapping Hyper text

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida

Roy Armes, On Video

Sean Hall, This means this, this means that

Stephen Johnstone, The Everyday

V. Propp, Morphology of the folktale

W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn

Walker Art Museum, Strangely Familiar Design and Everyday Life

Walter Benjamin, Illuminations

thesis thoughts: unfound

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to best communicate my thesis. It has much to do with what I see everyday. I just came back from a trip to Kentucky and saw some beautiful horse farms on the outskirts of Lexington. There was a spot off one of the roads that said scenic viewpoint. This really made me think about my thesis. Why is this spot pointed out? While the gentle hills, iconic barns, and pristine stockade fencing were stunning, there were equally as many striking and artful images to be found in the ordinary or the “unfound,” most only existed for a moment in time.

I want to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and the beauty in the mundane and I want to share it with others. I want to stop people in their tracks, make them alter their routines for brief moments, and then shake them with the gorgeousness of the everyday. I want to be a part of sharing the beauty I find, so that others can share in this joy.

My thesis acts in a three-part process: as an operator, as a spectator and as the presenter. As an operator, I observe my surroundings and capture them through still photography and video. As a spectator, I review the captured footage, and am often bewildered by the new form it takes. I then distill and edit the footage to uncover the essence of the original observations. Finally, as the presenter, I transform the content into a new form: whether it be a printed matter, a video vignette, an interactive screen project, or a physical installation.

This thesis enters into a dialogue with the work and theory of other artists with similar concerns: the artist, Robert Rauschenberg, whose “combine” projects take objects off the street recontextualizing them into a new form of painting and sculpture; the photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, who photographs the movement of humans and animals and translates them into frame-by-frame still imagery to reflect this process; the filmmaker, Michel Gondry, whose films warp perception by using everyday objects to perform surreal experiences; and the historian, Michel de Certeau, who uncovers systems of the everyday as a process that includes all of us in it.

My work aims to be accessible to a wide audience and to represent new scenic viewpoints in our everyday. I look forward to uncovering Graphic Design in the details as well as the majestic moments of the everyday in order to transform and share my perspective with others.

Thesis Reflection

I can’t believe this is my 1st post since the summer. It’s been a crazy semester and my thesis is in transition so I’m glad I’ve waited. It’s been a difficult but rewarding process, and looking back, I’m really happy and excited to share some work. In order to bring things up to speed, I want to share my 11.30.2011 thesis presentation. A lot has changed since this presentation but it’s a good place to start.

If you’re not interested in watching the whole 10 minute presentation, please check out my thesis reflection pdf and some new videos I posted to vimeo. I will be posting all of my other projects soon. Cheers!

Things I did this summer

This summer I worked at Fathom Information Design. Fathom was founded by Ben Fry, 2011 Cooper Hewitt Interaction Design winner and co-creator of Processing. Processing is an open-source programming environment for teaching computational design and sketching interactive-media software. It provides artists and designers with accessible means of working with code while encouraging engineers and computer scientists to think about design concepts. The best way to describe what processing is all about is it’s mission statement:

Processing seeks to ruin the careers of talented designers by tempting them away from their usual tools and into the world of programming and computation. Similarly, the project is designed to turn engineers and computer scientists to less gainful employment as artists and designers.

I love that mission statement. I was successfully working as a graphic designer for over 10 years but decided to leave a profitable job and go back to graduate school to see what else design can offer. In the past I’ve been frustrated with the separation of design and programming. Mainstream software created for designers is also extremely frustrating, due to the separation between layout, photography, video, animation, interactivity, and coding. My experience working at Fathom not only broke down the walls between designer and developer but opened my mind to other ways of tackling design through programming and computation. I hope to continue to be tempted away from my usual tools and ideas as I look to the future of design.

This semester I will continue to work at Fathom one day a week on an independent study, Visualizing Data. I plan to incorporate this work into my thesis. More to come on that.

Most importantly, we had a ton of fun working together. Below is a sample of projects I worked on this summer. Enjoy!

genetics app

Prototype sketch for an iPhone app that covers the human genome and genetic conditions.

population density

A map of world population and density. Each circle denotes the number of people in that area: larger, darker circles show low density areas, and smaller, brighter circles highlight higher densities. The top 20 cities are marked with white outline circles.

chelsea football

Chelsea Football Club team practice and rehabilitation overview.

Last but not least, Rag Time, an interactive typography game. It was really fun working on this project.

The Rag Time game challenges you to fix a bad example of ragged text and make it Swiss-perfect. Rag Time puts you up against the clock to make the best rag you can. Don’t be a Scheisser Rag!

Take the Rag Time challenge.

Nerd Night

Classes start at risd this week! Welcome week is off to a great start. I’m working with respond design on their communication this year. The first event of the year is Nerd Night. See what the RISD community is working on and dreaming up for sustainability measures around campus and beyond. It’s a pecha kucha where folks present 20 slides / 20 seconds per slide—quick, dirty and a great way to get a glimpse of what’s going on. Oh, and there’s free pizza!

More info at

nerd night poster