9.5.17

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Picking the press photo for Petrichor. I think Matteo is a genius, I had a fun time jumping up and down the stairs with him, moving black cloth, photographing my project. There was some concern that the results weren’t literal enough.

Bea there then gone. In the evening a party. On the balcony with Matteo. He said I was his favorite Fabricanti.

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8.5.17

Upstairs with Maurizio, tetrising Petrichor into boxes. 

In the evening, workshop with Bebe Vio in getting “smashed” and smashing glasses. I left quickly to greet Bea at the train station. The two of us talked conceptual art and caught up, walking around night-Treviso and getting a spritz. I made late night pasta then we chatted in my bed till 4am, full on sleepover style.

4.5.17

Lukas joined interaction design and he’s enlivening the team with his enthusiasm. We walked to mensa, talking about a brief that’s been floating around the studio. Part of this relates to designing high end tourist products in the context of Venice.

An essential part of Venice for me is the sky-scape of flying/light up toys at Piazza San Marco. I suggested collaborating with local artisans to make these from “noble materials.” Impossible objects of marble and gold, too heavy to fly, or made from Murano glass so that if you used the object it would break.

In Italian night/American afternoon Xtian and I chatted about being stressed over our respective futures. I said: “You are right by my mom’s house you should stop by for lunch and then watch Gumby.” and “Cast a spell for success… as my dad always says you can’t spell success without sucks!” I complimented his recent work and he said he’d take a photo of me one day… “with my sword on the beach!”

 

28.4.17

Angelo and I worked on my project, wiring fans and a pump/sensor system, cutting wire mesh in a perfect line with a chisel and a hammer, making a metal bending brake with a piece of wood, a ruler, and some clamps. The flow of work, communicating simply by handing each other tools, reminded me of doing projects with my dad.

It had been raining in the morning and Nicolas called me an idiot when I picked up my sunglasses, then I left them on the table. The sun came out and the clouds were big and tumbling. I walked to mensa with Ali. Everyone in Editorial thinks he’s an asshole at the moment (they’re all working on his project). On the walk back he told me his side of the story and jokingly cried on my shoulder.

Stood in the agora with the film guys, the new music guy, Alberto, and Matteo, all native Italian speakers. They were making fun of Ricky for his E-cigarette I said “No e-cigs are actually really cool” and everyone laughed. Then they taught me how to pronounce “colgione” like an Italian (with my hands).

It was Lorena’s last day, I found out, I signed her poster.

Angelo and I tested the pump/sensor system, it worked. He fetched the last 12L of water, learning of the meditative process of hauling a bucket up 3 flights of stairs. He had people to chase and meetings to accomplish. He was looking stressed and rolling a cigarette, I told him I figured out the problem. We high fived and talked about next steps.

22.4.17

Showing mom my installation video. Autonomous vapour holograms of people moving around, sitting on stairs.

Waking up like “dang, my projects are better in my dreams.”

Messaged Kendra: “It’s time to go running!”

We did.

I didn’t come to the Damien Hirst exhibit (lol). I worked on my grant proposal. Amazing how long writing your plans/dreams can take. Gotta find all the right words.

Being in the house alone was a treat.

I added several grand to my grant proposal to accommodate me living alone.

Going to sleep I relaxed into the feeling of no one being around. Nothing like it. It felt like a little squiggly purple line unwinding in my upper back.

5.4.17

Up at 6:45, train at 7:30, I arrived at the station at 7:28, after eating all the leafs (don’t want leafs going bad while I’m gone.)

I started a grant application on the train. For some reason I find train rides the perfect time to focus on this type of thing. Monica and I met about shipping Petrichor to Athens Digital Art Festival. There was assigned seating and Jonas messaged me pictures from 1st class.

Upon arrival I had an emergency meeting with Angelo and Monica about fabricating the vapor screen I’ve been designing. We finished, had a Thai lunch, and go to Duomo for my Designer Box shift. “Wow!” I felt, and said, when I saw the cathedral itself, and the lil gold mama up top. Madonna.

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It was cool to see my Designer Box piece IRL, and in a window, and I felt I didn’t even do much work – I just made jokes about boxes.

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Here’s what I ended up saying:

Squared is the deconstruction of a box in a box. It reconstructs into modular shelving, with clips to further divide the negative space… Exponential!

The boxes arrive nested in golden ratio, with matching golden clips. Box X Box. Boxboxboxboxbox. 

The kindest comment in the online voting said: “optimiser l’utilisation de nos si belles boîtes!!! Projet complètement dans l’esprit du design utilitaire et responsable !”

It made me think I should have just designed the clips and then people who subscribed to Designer Box could use them with past-packaging.

Silvia and I danced to the shopping hits that bounced off the concrete, explained the pieces. I messaged with jonas.

Silvia and I walked to the Adidas party. I messaged Xtian: “Greetings from Adidas party. I think Nike and Adidas should do a collab… on empty dance floors. Burn!” Ainhoa and I started the party on both dance floors, then left.

Everyone did a standaround, talking about taxis. I Looked up public transit directions and eventually all the other ducks followed me.

No one could get into the Cos party at first. I took another bus to a venue by the airport. Googs had me walking down a highway, as it often does. Now I was the one getting a taxi. At the Cold Cave/Drab Majesty concert they just asked for my Aarci card and let me in for free.

I hung out with Deb afterward, who told me I could have any of the merch I wanted but that felt awkward so I just hung around until they were done taking photos with fans and made friends with a dynamic Swiss DJ (who’s dating Deb). Together we drank from the half-empty drinks that were around. I told the lead singer of Cold Cave his layering was nice, that his set was “okay,” chatted with Deb about the magic of Venice, helped everyone pack up and then went on tour with them. Well they invited me, but I just used them for a ride home ;)

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Embodiment of glamour.

6.26.16

I have been feeling bad about myself for not getting enough done, but working sluggishly on projects nonetheless. I finished archiving/tagging/editing 5-years of my blog, and bought the URL StickyPsyche.com. I got through about half of the MaxMSP tutorials, which are easy – I just have to finish knocking them out to fill any gaps in my knowledge. I can’t work on my computer for about six hours out of the day because the room gets unbearably hot and this has impeded my progress. Other than that I am about a third of the way through Pimsleur’s Italian 1, and have begun prototyping the large scale vapor screen I’ve been thinking of for a while.

Summer weather has me intensely dysphoric. Mom and I talked about hormone replacement therapy. Her position has typically been not to fuck with one’s hormones. I mentioned that our environment is full of things that fuck with hormones and while our family has rarely used any sort of big pharma, we happily self-medicate with coffee, cigarettes and alcohol. She concurred that it was my choice.

I made an appointment with the endocrinologist and she was receptive/respectful. She gave me a somewhat experimental prescription for low-dose HRT and DHT blockers, which perplexed the pharmacist. I explained that it was because I am non-binary, which perplexed the pharmacist. My therapist gave me a supply to start with, which would have cost me around $600 (no insurance until I move to Europe), saying “mozeltov!” The DHT blockers cost $9 – I also bought .98 flip flops, lemons, cabbage, and cashew-based ice cream to celebrate ;)

Fabrica Interaction Design Trial

Before applying to Fabrica I spent some time searching things like “Fabrica trial experience” and “Fabrica interaction Design Trial.” Now I am adding mine to the stacks, using a boring title for search engine optimization.

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During my skype interview, Sam Baron asked: “Why do you want to come to Italy?” I replied “I want to go to Fabrica.” He asked why I wanted to come to Fabrica, I said: “The pictures look nice.” “Pictures are sometimes bullshit” he responded. “Everything is a joke and an illusion,” I countered, “that’s why you should hire me.”

Fabrica is just like the pictures.

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There are some things that aren’t mentioned in the literature, like that there is a nearby field where several black cats hang out and that two dogs bark at you from a neighboring fence as you walk down a path denoted by a sign that says: “Rugby.”

My trial was broken down into four projects for which I was to propose ideas: An event at Milan design week for Veuve Clicquot, an in-store iPad display for Benetton, an exhibit at Fondiazzione Benetton, and a personal project.

The workflow felt natural. Designers think independently, then meet to discuss ideas. The collaborative nature of larger projects brings out everyone’s strengths.

In the open concrete room that the design department works in, I overheard a 3 hour meeting centering around the name of the Veuve Cliquot project. Sam said he liked “Particle” and an Australian graphic designer said that “sounded too sciency” to a native English speaker. I interjected: “Call it Party-cle” and a product designer responded “Party-Cool!”

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When I met with the interaction design head, Angelo, he encouraged me to begin prototyping my ideas. I made a water vapor screen with the materials around (computer fans, foam core a dry paint bucket…), did some sound design, and built a patch for ultrasonic distance sensors. My thoughts were to ephemerally delineate the Veuve Cliquot  event space. The granular projection surface went with the theme: particles projected on particles. I was also interested in defining the space sonically, specifically to make parts sound like the chalk caves where Veuve Cliquot is aged by adding sharp reverb to visitor footsteps.

For the “Color Run” Benetton iPad display I outlined four ideas: a 2-4 player racing game (encouraging a longer interaction and playing on the theme of “running”), a color-personality quiz (flippant and self-aware of the vapid fashion world), a motion-sensitive “mirror” of colors “running together” (also related to a retail context, and using Benetton’s SS16 palette), and a simple video loop of running paint.

The borders project was trickier as the docket was written in Italian, and the subject matter was historically specific. I approached this proposal in a more general/abstract way, with visitor-based light projections. Angelo said this was too art-oriented and to think about contemporary issues and/or data-driven interactivity. My next proposal was an interactive rights map. The refugee crisis was the biggest contemporary issue that came to mind, specifically in regard to Europe, so this was one direction. The other was a global map of LGBTQ rights. I’m not sure either hit the mark with regard to the client. As I discovered later, Angelo has already covered European borders in a gorgeous way.

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I was encouraged to have fun on the weekend… So I came to Fabrica to continue work on my projects. This was the most luxurious and relaxing thing I could imagine. The acoustics in the building are amazing when you are in there alone singing and I’m sure Tadao Ando designed this building with whistling in mind.

Marta, (admin of design department?) was giving a tour to some guests and offered me a ride. She said that they used to throw a party at the Trial apartment every two weeks, and neighbors complained every time. I took this as a hint – personal project? Throw a party.

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I arrived at a busy time, but it appeared to me that no one was working on personal projects. If I were accepted it seems I would have to put in extra evening/weekend hours to complete everything I envision. This is what I am used to anyway ;)

The hours Fabricanti put in are long, which I am also accustomed to, but the lunch breaks are longer than in U.S. capitalist culture. You walk by a giant abandoned building to get to Benetton’s mensa, which features pasta every day (and other options for omnivores). I had pasta with tomato sauce, fruit, a salad, and sparkling water during each lunch hour (these were the entirety of the vegan options). Vegetarian options weren’t robust either (add cheese to the above and have desert if you want it), and food quality was a notch above mediocre. The stipend of 700 euro a month (before taxes) on top of free rent and daily pasta seems geared toward Europeans fresh out of college (without loans to pay off) and is less than I’m used to making for full time work (it would equate to about 7.50 an hour including an estimated 400 a month for rent and 200 for lunches). Still, I would rather do interaction design alongside a creative group than continue to manage social media/SEO for high end designer fashion.

There’s still some fashion industry to contend with, seeing as Fabrica is funded and run by the Benetton group. I respect Benetton’s socially aggressive marketing platforms but am critical of them in terms of manufacturing practices – they follow the tropes of fast fashion and are “unable to” regulate/be transparent about their labor. The Bangladesh factory collapse in 2013 was connected to Benetton production and there is the problem that most cotton produced in the world involves slave/child labor at some point in the supply chain. Come to think of it, I can’t believe I didn’t incorporate wordplay on “Fast Fashion” into Benetton’s “Color Run” themed display.

If Benneton is “socially conscious” fast-fashion, Fabrica must largely function as a tax write-off and a resource for semi in-house marketing (“essential part of the Benetton group” and all) though overall Fabrica feels relevant and independent. This is due to the strengths of the people and the tremendous building.

So there’s my Fabrica Interaction Design Trial experience. I had a fun time at villain-tryouts.

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(Update: after > 8 weeks I found out I was accepted)

12.18.15

I wasn’t getting my arduino patch to work so I decided to do something easy and wire computer fans. Once that was done I needed to build a little water-vapor machine, but the styrofoam box I had found in the backyard was a too small. I took a dull kitchen knife to carve out the inside and cut my knuckle. Noah was in the bathroom, where I thought some bandages might exist, so I sucked the blood from the cut for a few minutes and thought about what I should do next.

Noah got out of the shower and I ran a bath with as much hot water as I could get (about ⅓ of the tub), trimming my pubic hair as the water ran, thinking that the action may be futile, but how nice would it be to get laid in the near future? I Don’t know.  

The bath got cold quickly and the paper-towel/tape around my cut became inefficient. The little drops of blood were beautiful falling  and spreading in the water.

The towel was wet so I danced around and mopped up the blood that was still falling from my hand with toilet paper. I finally wrangled a bandage around the cut and stood in front of the heater, where my wardrobe was drying. (Today I figured out that I could hang my wet clothing from magnets on the Monster, and that is more efficient than using the broken dryer).

This morning I had a dream Romy was in town. She sat on some flat tan rocks. It was sunny and there were pools of water nearby. She was shirtless. I was so excited to see her! I kissed her cheeks and neck endlessly.

After sitting by the heater for (X) I wrote to Romy and caught up on my journal.

I brought Bea a “kit” (flowers and the vase she had left at my house). We all drank Modelos and ate curry. It was just like the summer in that things felt fun and Lucas and I were topless. Lucas’ haircut was a community endeavor. I took his ponytail to put in our shrine along with the “girl hair.”

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When I visited Kristen in New York in 2008 she had so much work to do, end of semester style. She lived on 4 hours of sleep a night and we slept together on her twin dorm bed.

We were at the big dining hall, having breakfast one day and as I poured cereal into a bowl she started chanting: “you are a bachelor, you can have as much cereal as you want, you can have as much sex as you want!” We jumped around and laughed.

We have had this bag of puffed millet at my house for several months. Tonight I came home late, poured hot sauce on a cup of it, and thought about that moment.