Piecing It Together / Wk 4 / Midterm Sketches

For my midterm project, I was thinking of creating a mechanical piece of artwork inspired by Francis Picabia’s Dada Movement drawing. I want to reinterpret it in today’s fast paced information age of social media and the internet using wooden gears and pulleys in a 8″ x 10-7/8″ space. This would be an exercise for myself in making a physical and moving editorial illustration.

INSPIRATION: Francis Picabia’s drawing on the Dada Movement

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Below are my initial sketches and in doing these, I realized that I need to research the topic more to map out the system. I also got a couple of books (Karakuri: How to Make Mechanical Paper Models That Move and Making Wooden: Gear Clocks) to help me understand how gears work and the workings of a clock. If all else fails with my initial idea, my fall back plan is to do to something more straightforward like a Karakuri piece or attempt wooden clock making).

SKETCH 1: Initial Idea




SKETCH 5: back-up plan

Twitter Bot / Wk 4 / Proposal for Final

I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do for my Twitter Bot Final, but I do know that I want to explore the more visual tweets, like GIFs or an abstraction of an image, like Great Artist (@greatartbot) and soft landscapes (@softlandscapes).

After watching Christoph Niemann story on Netflix’s Abstract, I was thinking that my final project bot could be an art task reminder, to give an art exercise of the day, similar to Art Assignment Bot (@artassignbot). However in the tweeted instructions, I would have the bot pick a random everyday object, like “banana” or “coffee” for a person to use in their art exercise.


A post shared by Christoph Niemann (@abstractsunday) on

I’m also curious about viewing specific moments through hashtags and understanding how to use the Twitter APIs after seeing Thomas Dworzak, a Magnum photojournalist’s ‘instagram book collection‘ at the International Center of Photography’s Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change exhibit. Dworzak explored hashtags on instagram to capture his screen shots of the hashtag and created a series of books documenting that moment. Seeing and hearing the thought process behind this art piece, makes think about how we get so many different perspectives of a moment through social media and photos and how can we push the awareness further.

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 3 / The Fluxkit & George Maciunas

The Fluxkit / George Maciunas

In my curiosity to examine George Maciunas’s design work and his systematic processes behind gathering the Fluxkit and his historical charts, “Diagram of Historical Development of Fluxus and Other 4 Dimentional, Aural, Optic, Olfactory, Epithelial and Tactile Art Forms,” I choose to research the ‘Fluxkits’ which he designed and assembled. Enclosed in a black attaché case and priced at $100, the Fluxkit was a collection of small art objects made by various Fluxus artists ranging from Alison Knowles’s Bean Rolls, Ay-O’s Finger Box, Mieko Shiomi’s Endless Box, George Brecht’s Games and Puzzles, Nam June Paik’s film loops and others. These pieces were originally intended to be a part of the performance art pieces but since they were cheap to mass produce, it branched off into it’s own series of Fluxus Publishing. This Fluxus anthology of interactive boxes, games, film and a Fluxus journal, allowed the masses to explore the pieces on their own time, so as not to be reliant on “the authority of museums” who can “determine the value of art.” As multi-sensory art pieces, they were to “merge art and life towards an ideal of unfragmented enlightenment” and experience “concrete art” through everyday objects that we don’t think twice about and for what it “is.” Maciunas coined the name ‘Fluxus’ after seeing the word “flux” in a dictionary as a noun, a verb, adjective and a total of seventeen different meanings, which he used as a base for his 3-part Fluxus Manifesto of ‘PURGE’, ‘TIDE’ and ‘FUSE.’


georgemaciunas.com/learning machine
The Fluxus Experience by Hannah Higgins

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 2 / An Algorithmic Dérive

“To be lost is to be fully present, to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery — REBECCA SOLNIT, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

I originally planned on following the Dada route of creating a chance collage with some elements inspired by Jean Arp, Kurt Schwitters and Francis Picabia’s Dada Movement piece, but at the last minute I switched gears and decided to delve into the Letterist and Situationist International’s dérives that sought to intervene in public process of “consuming” the “spectacle” of daily life... ” With the internet and social media, present day has even more chatter than the moving images and new cinema of the 50s and 60s. Part of the thought process for my algorithmic dérive is to go back to the mindset before smartphones and wifi, to be without the immediate responses of finding a destination quickly with Google Maps or sending a photo or a status update right away to all your friends and families, which in effect keeps you from being fully present or letting your mind wander to welcome happy accidents or chance encounters. I was also drawn to the psychogeography maps and the contemporary works of Sophie Calle’s photographs of re-familiarizing herself with the streets and people of Paris, as well as Rebecca Solnit’s book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost. New York City is very familiar to me, so the idea of getting lost and discovering new things about the city is something that I want to recapture and to also reveal inspiration for writing, photography and new meanings.

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PROTOTYPE DESCRIPTION: An algorithmic dérive using a map of Manhattan, which is divided into 5″ x 7″ sections and shuffled together like a deck of cards.  The participant picks a card from the stack which will then decide the area of the city to explore.

THINGS TO BRING (and not bring):
– Paper and Pen
– An envelope with an address of a family member, friend, foe or yourself. Add a stamp to the envelope.
– Camera (Preferably film or instant camera. For more of a challenge, limit the number of photos you take to 24 exposures or less and don’t use the delete button)
*Note: Try not to use your smartphones, laptops and ipads. If you must take it with you, bury it deep within your bag.

1. Pick up a random card from the stack to reveal a piece of a New York City map.

2. Once you arrive at your destination, walk around and take note of the first word that you see or hear that captures your attention. Write down the first letter of that word.

3. Find a public space, like a park, bench or cafe, where you can sit for a bit.

4. Count the number of people holding their smartphones and write that number down on a piece of paper. If you can observe what each person is doing on their phone, write down whether they are sending an email, checking Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, looking at photos on their phone, looking at Google Maps, or are on a search engine?

5. Recall the first letter of the word that you wrote down. Take that first letter and think of a concept or idea that you can follow to help you explore your surroundings (Example: the letter “O” can be the word “Orange” ——> go around taking photos, drawing images or writing about or eating and tasting “orange” things that you see in your exploration of the area.)

6. Recall the number of people on smartphones that you saw when you sat down. That number will be the number of photos, drawings or lines that you need to write or capture on this journey. And if you were able to observe what a person was doing on their phone, reenact the action without a smartphone. (Example: replace the act of sending an email or text messaging with writing a letter or postcard to a friend and finding a mailbox to send it off; if you see someone on a search engine, keep your eyes out for a library).

7. At the end of the dérive, try to draw your path on the 5″ x 7″ map. Mark the spots on that map where you started and ended your journey, location of a mailbox if you mailed a letter, and anything that was significant to you.

DOCUMENTATION: By the end of the dérive, hopefully there will be a series of photographs, drawings or writing that transpired. Also by adding the path to the map, the participant can do a number of sections of the Manhattan map and piece them together in the sequential order of when it was done to create a brand new map or piece them together in it’s correct order for a personalized map. And adding a physical path on a map doesn’t necessarily have to be site specific, a mental psychogeography map can also be plotted instead.

INSPIRATION: Sophie Calle’s photographs in Paris

Twitter Bot / Wk 3 & 4 / A Bot that Responds

The idea for “Midday Train” was inspired by the story behind Gladys Knight and the Pips’s “Midnight Train to Georgia“. The writer, Jim Weatherly originally titled the song “Midnight Plane to Houston” after a conversation with Farrah Fawcett (who was dating his friend, Lee Majors) about taking a midnight plane to Houston and visit family. It was later changed to “Midnight Train to Georgia” for Cissy Houston and was later sung by Gladys Knight. My original plan was to list of all the towns and cities in the United States and not just the major cities, so a person can imagine taking a train to all these places during the day, preferably during the 9-5 work hours. I eventually will gather that list of all the cities and towns, but for now I just used Darius Kazemi’s JSON file on US Cities.

As for adding the responsiveness to this bot, some parts work, but others don’t and I’m still in the midst of debugging my error codes like “ReferenceError: followerHandle is not defined”. I also intend to vary the statements more.

With an extra week to work on this project and Allison’s ‘rollDice‘ in-class tutorial from last week and the simple chatbot example code on GitHub, I was able to randomize the initial tweets more and debug the code for better responsiveness when a user likes, direct messages and retweets. And I learned to use GitHub with a lot of help from a tutor, so the sample code for this bot is available online.


(Initial Tweet)

(Response after a user “likes” the twitter entry)

(Response after a user replies to a twitter entry)

(Response after a user follows the bot, but when I tried to change it to a different statement, like “You are welcome to come along,” the user name became “undefined” and the link to the user stopped working)



Piecing It Together / Wk 2 / The Box

Sejo Vega-Cebrián
Anne-Michelle Gallero


Inspired by the shape of a Rhombicosidodecahedron, we were thinking of making a turtle-box / box-turtle of paper and planned on reverse-engineering it to make half of it as the shell of a turtle. The bottom part with be a smaller shape, so the shell can cover it and work as a lid.







#1 –  First attempt to structure the box


#2 – Second attempt at building the template. This will be the bigger top half template and for the smaller bottom half.


#3 – Paper Cutouts to test the template. 

Twitter Bot / Wk 2 / Iterates, Enumerates, Exhausts

A running list of girl and boy names from 1887. The number afterwards indicates the occurrence of a name in the US’s Social Security records for that year.

Data Source: Social Security;
Lettering: iStock by Getty Images, Gleb_Guralnyk;
Source Code:

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 1 / DADA

In exploring the role of chance in the DADA movement, I focused on Kurt Schwitters’s collages: Revolving (1919) Blauer Vogel (1922) and his home Merzbau. Schwitters was best known for coining the name Merz which came from the German word Kommerz (commerce), a word he found by chance while creating a collage.  As a response to the aftermaths of  World War I, which ended in 1918, Schwitters said, “In the war, things were in terrible turmoil. What I had learned at the academy was of no use to me and the useful new ideas were still unready…. Everything had broken down and new things had to be made out of the fragments.” His collages were abstractions to make sense of the world around him. Throughout his life, he was constantly picking up the fragments of broken pieces and rebuilding as evident in his home, Merzbau. The original site of Merzbau in Hancover, Germany was destroyed in a Alied bomb raid during WWII, but he rebuilds version of the Merzbau at different locations of where he lived in exile during the war.

Revolving (1919) | Kurt Schwitters


Blauer Vogel (1922)  | Kurt Schwitters


Merzbau (1933)  | Kurt Schwitters | Photo: Wilhelm Redemann, 1933 © DACS 2007