— AlexiaKay

September, 2016 Monthly archive

Apart from developing my first project with the traffic light (see below), I explored a little bit the FSR.













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1 – Define Yourself Typographically


screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-10-30-05-amFont: Quick Sand Regular, geometric, modern, rounded characters with fine consistent line and vertical stress.



Font: Mr Eaves San OT. The ‘l’ (lower-case ‘L’) has a right-facing lower tail. The diagonal strokes of the upper-case ‘K’ meet in a ‘T’.


Font: Fira Sans. Very legible and clean. Thin lines with a nice small elegant curve on the descender. All characters seem stretched in terms of height.



Font: Essones. Transitional with vertical stress and structured design. The title of the “i” is very bold and the distinctive “y” reminds me of handwriting with a pen.


Font: Mrs Eves OT.  Vertical stress. Fine character strokes and thinner lines than usual serifs.



Font: Georgia.the ascenders rise above the cap height. Serifs are “heavier.” Not elegant but legible with bold characters.



2 – Expressive Words


“Security” Font: Myriad Pro, “CINEMA” Font: Verdana, “Focus” Font: Times

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This week my best friend came to visit me from Greece so I spent some time with her showing her around the city, going to different restaurants, museums, shops etc. So while we were exploring New York, I had this assignment in mind and tried to think more deeply every time I used a piece of interactive technology in public. One of the things that I constantly encountered and started noticing during my friend’s stay was the touchless faucets in every single bathroom I visited. This is something I have always been curious to explore because it really drives me crazy how bad my experience with this piece of technology really is.

Looking back, it is interesting to think about how fast and how drastically the design of such a major appliance that we use every single day has changed. I was inspired by the reading of Graham Pullin’s “Design Meets Disability” that recounts the evolution of the design of certain products and highlights the meaning of that evolution so I decided to do some brief research online to find out the history of faucets. According to www.deltafaucet.ca, faucets were originally invented with two handles, one for cold water and one for hot water. Their designs always varied from handles that you pull up or down, to handles that turn and to handles you simply need to press down. Later on, the single-handed faucet designs were introduced and after that the simple touch faucets as well as faucets with foot pedals were introduced. The foot pedals actually became quite popular for some time and then suddenly disappeared. Faucet designs really vary depending on the places you go and I really find interesting how the experience is different almost every time.

Now, let’s look at the touchless faucet that has really become mainstream and was developed to help conserve water prevent against the spread of bacteria that can cause illnesses. Even though I do believe that the touchless faucet was a great solution to these problems, I believe that the design is really flawed. First of all, I personally look down almost every time I am about to wash my hands because I am so used to the foot pedal faucet for some reason. I think it’s probable because they used to be very popular in my country in Greece.  Another problem is that I don’t always understand where the sensor is because it is not really visible in the sense that your eye doesn’t get drawn directly to it which is something that should happen instantly. Also, most of the times I am trying to find the sensor, I get my sleeves wet because most sensors are placed in the “spine” of the faucet which is deeper than the aerator (where the water flows) since the “spine” of the faucet usually forms a curve. I observed 15 people and only 5/15 could tell where the sensor really was from the first time. I noticed how most people would just put their hands under the tap, some higher some lower, which reflects that they are not sure where the sensor is and how it works. I saw how some people really felt embarrassed because water was not coming down and they didn’t know if they were doing the right thing or not. Also, some people (like me) would get their sleeves wet. Finally, 3/15 got it right the third time they tried and 7/15 got it right the second time. Therefore, washing your hands in public places has definitely become a bad experience!

I started looking at some models of different touchless faucets like the ones below. As you can see in the model on the right the sensor is not even visible.


I think that in order to solve this problem first of all people should know where the sensor is by making it visible. Another solution is to place a sensor around the aerator which is from where the water flows so they wouldn’t have to think about where the sensor is and also there would be no risk of wetting your sleeves because this would just be a natural part of the interaction people are used to and have been used to from the past. Simply putting their hands under where the water flows and everyone know from where the water flows. But I feel that really changing the location of the sensor and the design AGAIN might confuse people all over again so there really needs to be a visible affordance where your eye is drawn directly where the sensor is to solve this problem.


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For week 2 I tried to explore how I could create a bouncing ball and thought about recreating one of my favorite games from when I was a child, the “pong game”. It was challenging to think of the if statements in order for the ball to bounce back every time it hits the paddle as well as using the “keyPressed” function to control the right paddle with the arrows and the keyboard characters “Q” and “A” to control the left paddle. What was also really hard was creating the movement of the bouncing ball and I used only a specific angle for it to move around the canvas for this stage. It was really hard for me to think how I could make make the ball move only inside the “walls” of the canvas and with a random angle every time but will explore how I could work on my pong game and add more features later on.

Code: https://alpha.editor.p5js.org/projects/HkmmS9gT

For week 4 we could work on a previous project and develop it so I took the opportunity to add more features to my pong game. I added sound and a “Game over” sign every time the ball misses the paddle and also randomized the ball’s angle.

Code: https://alpha.editor.p5js.org/projects/HkSPcf70

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Inspired by Octavia Buttler’s “Bloodchild,” our group created a sound piece designed for an art installation. The part of the story that we chose to narrate through our sound piece begins from the part of the story where Lomas, the external character who is separated from his Tlic, enters the story and drives the dramatic action of the plot. Our piece ends when Gan who is daunted from the horrendous process that Lomas had to go through to give birth, threatens to kill himself rather than be impregnated. For our sound piece we experimented with kitchen tools, creating sounds from breaking eggs, cutting oranges, flickering lights, blenders, running water, vent, percussions on pots, wind sounds and others. We wanted to create eerie sounds that would match the unsettling atmosphere of the installation and would reminiscent the grotesque images communicated with the reversal of the male and female roles. On a later thought, we though about creating three different rooms where in each room the base of the sound would be the same ( e.g that alien/drone sound which is prominent in the majority of our sound piece) but it would change according to which room the visitors will be in.


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This video is from the Friday PCom workshop with the residents. They taught us how to create this simple circuit using an LED and a resistor.

For this project I wanted to create a circuit with more LEDs and came up with the idea to create a traffic because they are such a prominent part of this new (for me) New York city life.


















I first created a traffic light out of cardboard and duck tape. Then I created the circuit and made sure that the LEDs fit the wholes of the cardboard and then I sticked the arduino inside the traffic light.































Part 2 – Traffic Light Gone Crazy!

Now that we learned about digital input and output I decided to continue with my traffic light project and actually make the lights change like a real traffic light from red to yellow to green. I started writing the code but then I decided to play a little bit with the concept of “delay” and create a more playful traffic light.


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It’s interesting when your perception starts changing, especially when you start seeing things that you constantly encounter in your everyday life in a different way. In this assignment, we were challenged to go around New York city and find examples of successful and unsuccessful signage. At first, it was challenging to find signs that were unsuccessful in terms of practicality and spatial orientation but when I started paying attention to every sign’s elements such as color, typography, composition, everything just fell into place.

What didn’t work:


This sign completely contradicts its name “simple” with its strange typography which is not simple at all. It took me more than 3s to read one word. Also, it seems like because of the “I” that looks like a type of pasta and the “L” that is designed to look like cheese, that this would be an Italian restaurant, but, guess what? This is actually a Japanese restaurant! Moreover, it’s funny how they use a knife and fork since it’s a Japanese restaurant and people usually use chopsticks.


I redesigned the ad using the News Cycle Fonts that I believe are very legible and communicate a sort of “simplicity” that is a very prominent characteristic of the Japanese culture. I was also inspired by the Ensō zen circle which symbolizes absolute enlightenment and the wholeness of the spirit in Japan and created thin elegant lines that kind of resemble chopsticks to build upon the image that this is a Japanese restaurant.


I also created this sign to play with simplicity not only using the classic Futura fonts but also using black and white which is so simple and at the same time so effective in terms of catching someone’s eye immediately.

Another sign that I found really confusing was this sign ⇓


First of all, there are 2 spelling mistakes. The first one is “Food” instead of “Foot” and the second one is “Rut” instead of “Rub.” It’s funny how they have another sign right under the yellow signs that have both spelling mistakes written in the correct way.


I started re-creating this sign by first thinking of eliminating the information. I think that “pain, stress and tension” could be removed since it’s obvious that when you get a back and foot rub it is because of pain and tension. I also though of removing the information for “men and women” because it is unnecessary, and changed the word “Rub” to “Massage” because it’s a more universal word that creates a softer overtone overall.


I then started thinking about the color and the fonts. Even though the designer’s intention is to catch your eye with the yellow color, it is a very unsettling color; Especially since this is a place where people go to relax. So I used white for the primary color of the sign. I started playing with some shapes with the pen tool and created this foot shape that I thought created an amusing and pleasant undertone for the sign. I used the “Coco-Mat” fonts from a greek mattress store called “Coco-Mat” which I love.


I continued experimenting with shapes and black and white and created this abstract shape which shows a figure lying on a massage bed. I used the classic “Futura” fonts.


This is another sign where really I believe no words are needed for this one.

What Worked:




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How Computational Media applies to your interests?

My background is in marketing communications and I worked at Ogilvy & Mather as a Digital Account executive. I worked with designers and developers to create several digital projects (websites, apps etc.) and was always inspired and intrigued by the whole development process. I was always eager to get a hands on experience in coding and especially creative coding. Since I was very young I loved experimenting with art and ever since I went to College and started working I stopped exploring my passion and this zeal I always had for creation so I’m glad to be back!!

It’s interesting to explore this totally new format of creativity with p5 in our ICM class. What I would love to create would be probably something interactive with video and sound. Through exploring the p5 gallery one of the projects that I was inspired from was The “Face Sound Visualization” by Nithi Prasanpanich. I loved how she integrated sound in this project and thought that the design of the interactive face was really cool.


Me exploring the Face Sound Visualization project by Nithi Prasanpanich, 2015


The first project was really a challenge for me since I have no coding or design experience! It took me some time to get used to the language and tried to understand how this program is “thinking.” I wanted to create a butterfly and started drawing the first triangle for the wings. It was hard for me at first to understand how the X, Y positioning really works so I had to experiment with the shapes in the P5 reference page and went back and adjusted my numbers a couple of times. When I finally started working on the second wing, I had trouble making it symmetrical with the first one and was wondering if there would be a function that could make shapes reflect one another automatically. Would be interesting to find out later in class 🙂



After experimenting a lot with creating different colors with RGB I finally finished my first drawing and I am proud of it!!

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The East Village poetry walk, “Passing Stranger,” is an audio interactive experience tour that guides listeners through the neighborhood’s rich history and includes interviews and commentary as well as recitations of poems and archived recordings of key figures that lived in the East Village from the 1950’s to the present.

What I loved about the tour is that it was not a linear story,  and it didn’t  have the same “formal” feel that one hears in museum audio tours. It really felt like going on a walk with Ron Padgett, Anne Waldman or Allen Ginsberg and listening to their entertaining stories. It felt like an anecdote.

But overall, it was an adventure – like stepping into a time machine. Of course, many literary hangouts are now restaurants, boutiques, even tattoo parlors but they still carry worn out signs and the culture of those times gone by. The sounds, the music, the stories, the poems the clear narration along with the streets, the walls, the park, the houses created an immersive experience. There were moments where I was standing in front of an apartment building and I could imagine seeing Jack Kerouac on the fire escape or Ginsberg sending down his keys in a sock to come up. It was a world of its own, and I loved it!

People walked past me as I passed by St. Mark’s on Bowery, W.H. Auden’s old apartment building, Tompkins Square Park, Allen Ginsberg’s old building, the Bowery poetry club and I though how those people probably had no idea of what had happened right at these spots 60 years earlier. I believe it is important for all of the neighborhoods to be celebrated, especially when they carry such real history and culture. It is a way to give back to the neighborhood and people should be more aware of it.3150cf2a1d3da252384b709355594067

Finally, this experience made me think about my own sound piece that I am creating with my group. I had never thought of combining so many different aspects (narration, music, sounds and interviews) to a sound piece. I believe that adding some kind of narration or even words could really contribute to the story we want to tell with “Bloodchild.”

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In in the “Ecstasy of Influence” and “Everything is a Remix” Lethem and Ferguson discuss artists, authors, singers, songwriters, cartoonists, technologists and more, who have adopted their work from others. They both argue that even though we live in a world where plagiarism and copyright are considered “evil,” these works are a massive part of our cultural identity. Well, if you think about it, where would we be without Bob Dylan, Shakespeare, Walt Disney or Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream?”
This essay made me think about what are an artist’s goals. For an artist, influence is everything. Therefore, why do artists and writers rarely talk about how much of their work is borrowed from other artists? If you think about it, what would a piece of art be worth if it was not built on the ideas and movements that came before?  We constantly build on something that existed before, in art, fashion, music, technology; Everything is just an evolution of something else. After all, this is how culture evolves.
In his discussion of the commons, Lethem made me view art in a different perspective, he talks about art adding to the public domain as “expanding the world.” This is an interesting idea- It makes me think about how everything grows when people connect and how every interaction and every little piece of information and experience contributes to your knowledge. It’s who you are, and, sometimes, we are not even conscious of all our influences.
So why have we imposed these legal and ethical cages around this level of sharing if influence is part of our everyday lives? These cages only result in limiting our creativity. In today’s post-modern, virtual, globalized world where most people have access to so much information, the term “original” seems outdated and pretty implausible. However, that doesn’t mean that someone is not creative or brilliant.

Ferguson explains perfectly his thoughts on creativity:

“Our creativity comes from without, not from within. We are not self made, we are dependent on one another. Admitting this to ourselves isn’t an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness — it’s a liberation from our misconceptions, and it’s an incentive to not expect so much from ourselves, and to simply begin.”

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