2.10 Blink

There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis. — Malcolm Gladwell

Subconscious Intuition
Every year during the first week of classes, the Graphic Design MFA Department photographs the entire group of current and incoming students. It’s a great way to get to know everyone within the group. The night before the first day of classes, I had a dream that my fellow classmate, Dinah Fried, and I were discussing the class photo. In the dream she said we should create mini-animations of everyone’s faces blinking. I thought that was a great idea! The dream was so real I woke up the next day and was not sure if she had actually suggested the idea to me before or if it was a dream. Sure enough I talked to her about this, and she assured me it must have been a dream. But she agreed it was a good idea, and along with another classmate, Adam Lucas, they agreed to help me bring this dream to reality. Over the course of the semester, I expanded this idea into a printed poster and an interactive website, (with the help of another classmate, Ali Qadeer). Finally, with the help of Fathom Information Design (where I was conducting an independent study), I turned Blink into a large-scale physical interactive installation.

Waking Up the Wall
Blink, an interactive projection, was featured in the RISD Graphic Design MFA 2011 Biennial at the Sol Koffler Gallery. Blink showcases all thirty-eight students within the Graphic Design program in the large lobby outside the gallery that was home to this piece. In order to interact with the projection, a viewer enters the marked area on the floor in front of the projection. A camera on the ceiling senses the movement, and the faces on the projection blink. The faces on the wall correspond to their names that are marked on the floor. If one is standing on one particular name, it makes only that individual blink. The more people that are in the area, the more faces will blink. If no one stands in the area, all the faces on the projection close their eyes as if they are asleep. While enjoying the opening reception, Blink became a recursive interaction and a great conversation piece. It was also my first experiment with interactive installation, using motion detection. For the first time, I experienced the sensation of feeling design with my whole body.

Camera Set Up Top View
1. Motion Detection Camera
2. Projector

Blink, Video Still

Blink, Video Still

On the Threshold…

The 1st show of the semester is opening at the RISD Sol Koffler Gallery on Tuesday September 13, from 6-8pm. One of my works – full circle – will be on display with a selection other 2nd year grad students from all departments. I also designed the poster and postcard. Hope to see you there!

show poster

In her book, How to Do Things with Art, Dorthea von Hantelmann describes the “threshold of something else, something other” as a place where artists build confidence in their process and push forward into new territories. This exhibition features 46 artists from 15 different departments entering the final year of their RISD graduate programs. Incidentally, it provides a rare opportunity to see work from many departments and disciplines in one space. With half the graduate experience complete, our potential energy is on the verge of expanding, condensing or taking a completely new direction. One last year remains, another step towards a destination that will lead us into a wider context.

But right now, right here, we are at the threshold of something else, as expressed by the works in this exhibition. Ranging in technique and format, they represent a variety of transitional states—demonstrating control and overindulgence, confusion and clarity, endurance and ephemerality. Being aware of this threshold moment, while maintaining a state of openness, informs how our diverse interdisciplinary work approaches and surpasses something else and something other. This moment is not always easy or recognizable. Yet, what else is being an artist but the understanding that this threshold is only one of many to come as we pursue the creative challenges that lie ahead?