Our latest presentation of Particle Falls in Philadelphia on ABC Local news

Also covered on WHYY

The SNAIL trail stuff disposal system guide by Noel

Featuring a snail mascot for compost with yellow color scheme


Lindsey and Sarah complete the cans. Lindsey created a bee mascot with blue for recycling and Sarah created a roach with brown for non-usable, non-recyclable, non-compostable stuff


Ian created a map to show where the stuff goes when it leaves Elsewhere

Everyone wore collection for thwir final presentations, here’s Kaylee’s transofrmation

Lindsey, Noel and Sarah G working on the recycling and non-recycling bins for the kitchen

Yesterday the living systems and repair groups made proposals to the Elsewhere curators. My group proposed a visual information design using color coding and characters to promote more effective use and disposal of waste. Noel researched the amount of possibly usable waste in the non-recycling bin over the course of a day, and found that about 1/4 of the discarded items could have been recycled or composted.

Ian preparing to draw a map of where stuff goes when it leaves Elsewhere on the back door of the kitchen

Ellen’s repair group has the challenge of rebuilding the beloved fabric fort, but despite our daunting tasks, we found time to discover out alter-egos in the transformatorium!

Ellen and Lindsay transformed on the Elsewhere swings

Sarah D wearing an artist’s work from the collection

I;m in Greensboro, North Carolina for a few days undergoing a creative retreat at Elsewhere with my Waste class co-taught by Ellen Babcock. Today we had a great tour with Jennie and then broke into two project groups.

Ellen, my colleague and co-professor in the waste class enjoying the ribbon room with grad student Lindsey

trying to find the floor of the ribbon room takes many hands!

Lindsey in the library

Sarah G in the Confessatorium

My group is charged with researching the living systems at Elsewhere and conducted 4 interviews today.

Ian, Noel, Lindsey and Sarah interviewing Emily about what comes in and goes out of Elsewhere

Paul talking about the laborious process of removing nails from wood to make it re-usable

On June 14-16, SMW participated in the Sensing Sydney: City Data Slam sponsored by Carbon Arts in conjunction with ISEA2013. We prototyped ideas for the SEPTET project.

Here’s our fellow slammer and data viz genius Mitchell Whitelaw on the right.

Russell, Eric and Kellen working on the GNOME while Usman Hauqe and Javier Candeira hack in the back

One of our early experiments

The results, GNOME v0.1 – lift and speak into the cup to record you thoughts about the Sydney sustainability plan, listen to the recordings in a cup on the other side of the room

Data Slam opening partygoers listen to the GNOME responses

We use direct democracy and cooperation to clothe, feed, heal, nurture, celebrate, educate, and challenge each other. We do all of this not to profit individually, but to meet the human needs of our community. Our internal economies are the antithesis of the greed and oppression we have been taught to expect from each other and acknowledges and addresses the myriad injustices that people bear everyday. Together we are moving beyond “jobs,” something someone gives you or takes from you, towards shared livelihoods that increase our collective economic security.

Read the full article by ISEA2012 keynoter Caroline Woolard in the Brooklyn Rail.

Picture 3
Here’s me and fellow Symbiotica workshop participant Victoria Eklund as seen on Finnish television last night

floating DNA we extracted

My cool lab partners Maurizio and Erich Berger

The DIY incubator we built (hey, it works!)

More images and links to come…

A documentary Dylan McLaughlin featuring all the artworks in the TimeNM public art project, including the SMW’s project Binding Sky, is now online, watch it now here:

Beatriz Da Costa, 1974-2012, one of the most caring and intelligent artists of our generation and a great inspiration. You will be missed.


Bill Dolson in his amazing studio

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Bill Dolson’s studio/airplane hangar (yes, he shares his studio with his plane) and learning more about his work. What was especially inspiring to me were several very large scale, almost impossible projects: Reentry, Fire Line and Grid Switch. Bill and I were both residents of the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in NYC (although at different times) and I related to his large scale projects because of my own experiences with the NY2050 collaboration and my Queensbridge Wind Power Project proposal.

Bill Dolson Studies for Synthetic Meteors – San Diego
Still from HD Video Animation

Reentry involves creating an artificial meteor shower by adding a special payload to a vehicle that provides supplies to the space station regularly and burns up upon reentry to the atmosphere. I find this project interesting in the way it brings attention to the extensive amount of human activity currently occurring in space.

Bill says:

Since the beginning of space exploration the atmospheric reentry of man-made artifacts has created what could be considered synthetic meteors. The Reentry Series involves the deliberate creation of vast, ephemeral drawings using these reentry events. Historically, the pattern and timing of synthetic meteors has been inadvertent or has been determined as a side effect of other technical or scientific objectives or as the result of accidents. The tragic breakup of the space shuttle Columbia was certainly the most widely viewed of these events.

Bill Dolson Video frame from computer animation study
“Five Points in an East-West Line, displaced Northwest”

Fire line is a beautiful proposal for choreographed controlled burns. While seemingly destructive, these burns are executed deliberately as a means to simulate a natural ecological process. In order to prepare for this project, Bill said he had to obtain firefighter certification.

Las Vegas, Nevada
view from the International Space Station
Image Courtesy of the Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center

Although the intention is to create all these projects in reality, Bill concedes that Grid Switch would likely be the most difficult. The idea is to create a visual pattern to be seen from a great height by switching on and off the electrical grid.

He says:

These are proposals for pieces whose realization is admittedly problematic. If executed in a currently inhabited city, they require the acquiescence if not explicit permission of virtually the entire population. With the exception of the area around Chernobyl, there are no known urban sites which possess an intact power grid but are uninhabited. Perhaps these works can only be executed in the future, at a time when the manipulation of the power grid is no longer an inconvenience to the residents of the city due to abandonment or is a necessity for implementing power conservation through rolling blackouts.