for years, kate and i had a dream of building our own house. and while we decided that the job of physically building it should go to people who actually know what they're doing, we did get to design the thing.
this is a project about which i can talk incessantly, so for your sake i'll restrain myself.
to help our students remember and own the ideas and tools that they learned in "designing your life" and "designing your stanford," i created this take-away deck of cards. each card distills one nugget of material that we cover in class. "dyl" has 43 cards; "dys" has 28.
the first edition was printed and distributed to students in both classes at the end of fall quarter 2013.
sparktruck started as my masters project in the stanford design program.
knowing next to nothing about formal education, my friends and i set out to bring back creative, hands-on learning to school. we designed a curriculum of workshops and a truck to deliver them, ran a kickstarter campaign to fund it all, and in the summer of 2012 drove all across the country to inspire teachers to use more open-ended problem-solving techniques in their classrooms.
didi eruçman joined the trip and made a short documentary film about the adventures.
in 2013, we came back to stanford and recruited a new group of students to take over the truck. they made it their own and took it on its second annual transcontinental voyage, reaching thousands more kids across the usa.
after five years of residing inside the d.school's k12 lab, where it worked with bay area teachers to bring maker education into more classrooms, the truck was adopted by southern methodist university in 2017, where it now runs maker education initiatives in the dallas, tx area.
in october 2011, the human population of our planet reached 7,000,000,000 people.
kyle williams and i wanted to understand the magnitude of this number, so we had an idea: we would represent all the people in the world with a pile of rice, one grain per person.
we discovered, after performing some calculations, that this would require about 383,604 pounds of rice. so we scaled down and built a representation of the world's population at a scale of 1 grain of rice = 1,000 people.
(after the week-long installation, we donated the rice to the chickens on stanford's farm.)
awards stanford sica grant
the ball chain project
one time during your two years in design grad school at stanford, they let you forget all practical implications of your work, and just for one crazy two-week project called "personal statements," do whatever you want.
so i built an 8-foot cube made out of 10,000 feet of suspended ball chain. it was fun to watch people play with it.
this is what i wrote when asked to describe the project in one sentence:
"i think that the greatest appreciation for the world and the things it's made of can be gained by meticulously setting up conditions in which the laws of chance, or of fate or physics, are allowed to play out as they will."
after its original installation at stanford in december 2011, i packed it up and brought it to maker faire 2012.
in january 2014, the choreographer robert moses used it as a set piece in his dance performance, "profligate iniquities."
my friends and i got tired of watching bicyclists go the wrong way in the campus roundabouts, and repeatedly escaping near-death among the myriad of daily collisions that ensues.
so one day, we staged a series of interventions that attempted to gently correct this behavior.
collaborators aaron peck albert leung cameron jue justin fraga kyle williams prat ganapathy
intervention #1: "assholes/cool people"
we augmented the small rotary signs with our larger, more colorful versions. the most exciting part of this one was watching passersby spontaneously get into the action and start heckling violators.
video: feedback from campus security
intervention #2: crowd barriers
then we decided to try physical crowd control. here is a scale maquette.
intervention #3: the death metal bike demon
justin (pro cyclist) + skull mask + yellow speedo + blasting death metal = no one went the wrong way.
i really love the pink ipod shuffle here.
video: death metal bike demon
intervention #4: jousting
thinking about ways to take the bike demon idea to the next level, we thought about implementing a jouster who would ride around and knock violating cyclists off their bikes. then we decided this would be too violent, but prototyped the idea anyway.
intervention #5: one-way speed bump
we prototyped lots of versions of this idea, but decided that a greater budget and timeline is required for more testing and implementation. this prototype employs two rat traps as springs.
this is a passive, non-articulating version.
we cast this one out of concrete.
it survived exactly one test ride before shattering.
unrealized concept #1: encouraging led screen
would have required a lot of electronics.
unrealized concept #2: rotating platform
an airport moving walkway meets a merry-go-round.
unrealized concept #3: revolving door
one of our favorites.
unrealized concept #4: the vortex of terror and safety
we had a long debate about whether we could procure industrial fans strong enough to pull this one off. i was optimistic.
video: glowing review
we caught a few alumni and asked them what they thought of the interventions.
design program orientation
i had the joy and honor of planning and leading orientation week for the incoming first-years in the stanford graduate design program in the fall of 2011.
i used the opportunity to get really familiar with adobe illustrator. we're good friends now.
the crux of the project was this accordion-folded booklet with important (and not-so-important) information about the week's events.
to this day i can't understand why people in need of light therapy for seasonal affective disorder (s.a.d.) have to put up with things that look like toasters or humidifiers on their desks.
so i set out to make a happy lamp that actually looks happy.
i enjoy the notion of sunshine emanating from a cloud (or least a funky pixellated rendition of one). version 2 of this lamp will be suspended above my head in the studio, so i can have full-spectrum sunshine even on cloudy days.
for my first foray into the world of laser-cutting, i made a (grownup) kids' toy that combines my fascination with magnets and my love of stacking things.
each of these blocks is a truncated tetrahedron with magnets attached under its hexagonal faces. born of necessity, the interlocking tabs with laser-charred edges became one of my favorite parts of the blocks' aesthetic.
i wanted to see how the most popular book in history would look when printed on a single sheet of paper. this is the entire text of the king james bible, set in 3pt type and printed on a 36" scroll that's about 17 feet long.
(i measured the wall after i made the print, and was pleasantly surprised to find about an inch of clearance on each side).
it looks a light grey rectangle from far away, begins to resemble tv static on approach, and is fully legible up close. presented in this way, most of what has shaped western civilization for the past 2000 years seems at once both entirely accessible and hopelessly overwhelming.
this project inspired my classmate ben kolesar to create a one-page bible kickstarter campaign.
awards berkshire art association fellowship, 2008
grad school: year two
highlights of the work done in my second year of the stanford design program.
design program orientation schedule
made for the stanford design program's orientation week 2011, which i co-organized and ran with albert leung.
make-your-own sparktruck poster
made for sparktruck's kickstarter backers.
design exhibition 2012
made for the stanford design program's end-of-year art exhibition, in which i participated.
longing again for the sense of shelter and security sought in my childhood's pillow-fort construction projects, i decided to revisit this method of escaping from reality.
armed this time with power tools, i built a small chamber that provides for one person a quiet space in which to contemplate life, or for a few friends a setting for peaceful conversation.
having to crawl in on one's knees requires checking the adult world at the door, and the installed blacklight and 300 christmas lights help to create an otherworldly atmosphere.
lots of little things.
lasercut business cards
gingerbread washington monument
matt kahn: "but the washington monument is white." eugene: "well, up until now, the president was, too."