the Gesticulator: Sensitive Attire

 A   tool for overtly engaging the power of the eyes.

The Gesticulator projects what I am looking at onto my front, turning the gestures of my eyes from a passive to an active, even aggressive, statement.  

More so than the gestures themselves, it is the shared awareness (between me and others) of the overtness of my eye movements, their visual representation, and potential archive, that renders common gestures extreme.


1 The Gesticulator at the ITP Winter Show


Whether being passive, assertive, passive-aggressive, thoughtful, or somewhere in between, you probably employ the power of body language and eye contact. But the unspoken rules that govern the subtle forms of eye communication are difficult to teach. Like language, these rules vary throughout cultures, and depend on one’s view of themselves.


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Flow – a project with Johnny Lu


Flow monitors restroom water use for conservation while transmuting its effluvia into an aesthetic experience.

Sensors attached to xbee radios in the restroom detect toilet flushes and allow for us to monitor water usage throughout the day. These are sent over an internet connection to our database from which we can collect data, do analysis and present visualizations online. The acts of water usage are also relayed to a networked water display feature (fountain) which translates the acts into an aesthetic experience.

Artists’ Statement:

Interest in data collection, conservation, and an interest in bringing to light and discussing some of the things we take for granted, or do not usually talk about, such as the water it takes to run our sewage system, filtration systems, and we are looking for insight into issues surrounding water usage. By representing toilet water usage as an aesthetic experience, we want to create an element of surprise and hopefully discomfort at appreciating something less expected, maybe even inappropriate, as a way of addressing this use of water.

We are interested in showing the data clearly, but having the water feature be a pleasant presence and a surprising discovery when one realizes what it is representing. The fountain will turn on with flushes, and during busy hours on the floor, we hypothesize, will be on consistently. It is in the moments when it turns on or off that the discovery is most likely. Our audience is therefore anybody on the floor who is curious about the water feature and its unexpected behavior.


Hacking the FingerPrint Sensor



This is a summary of my progress in hacking the FIM5360N-LV fingerprint scanner.  I am not yet able to register fingerprints, but otherwise feel very close to having it work. I solved some issues that I couldn’t find answers for online, so I wanted to document this in detail for future reference.

I used a MAX3232  and an Arduino USB to FTDI to connect the device to my computer like this:

A USB to FTDI on the right goes through the MAX3232 to the JP2 connector of the fingerprint sensor, where the red and black wires happen to be counterintuitively reversed


Serial communication to the device requires one start byte, followed by 24 bytes of data that comprise the Header. This consists of four parts, the first is the four byte Command, then four bytes for Parameter 1, then four bytes for Parameter 2, four bytes for Data Size, four bytes for Error Code, and four bytes for the Header Checksum. The data bytes and four bytes for data checksum follow in some communications. All of this is explained in the serial protocol datasheet . The byte sequence looks like this:

byte [] CMD_REQUEST_CONNECTION   = {0x7e, // Start Byte
0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x01, // Command
0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, // Parameter 1
0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, // Parameter 2
0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, // Data Size
0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, // Error Code
0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x01, // Header Checksum

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Vibrant Project

This week I began reading Vibrant Matter, and not to be dramatic, but one major take away from the first chapter is that we (people) seem to be viewing the world in an increasingly apathetic sense. I don’t know a better word than apathy, but I will think about it, because I don’t mean to sound negative at all.  There seems to be a philosophical trend toward slowly realizing the lack of agency that people have.   For example, the unit of evolution was reduced to the gene, from the individual and the species in the sixties, and subsequently intellectual and idea evolution was reduced to the meme level, where perceivable concepts are mere consequences of infinite minor negotiations. What Benett is calling “thing-power”, emergence and network theories became the leading views in organization and research, and as a result the person became a vehicle for these systems , acting on their behalf.  People have less agency both in comparison to things, which have increasingly more agency, and in being seen more as a complicated system of things, or becoming things themselves.

Theodor Adorno’s “nonidentity” places the world entirely in the realm of (non vibrant) things, and addresses the gap between the conceptual (identity) and reality. Although he claims that “this gap is ineradicable”, Benett denies his acceptance of this by saying that he is still attempting to cross the gap by allowing that it may be possible through thinking about it. He calls that which is not knowable “nonidentity”, and says that it haunts us, and that we can only learn to deal with it by accepting it. The reason I bring this up: according to Adorno, concepts are “moments of the reality that requires their formation” and so conceptualization is immediately removed from the reality, and must be scrutinized in light of reality, which we are able to discern in much more complete ways. This reminds me of mathematics, where we perform operations on abstractions, that inevitably refer back to reality, and are often accurate again, but are completely unrepresentative within the process. As part of Adorno’s process of getting to know nonidentity, he describes the act of “clowning”, or accepting the clownish traits that are part of the known denial of nonidentity that is necessary for conceptualization. Accepting the act as an act of clowning is a way to deal with the haunting nonidentity, that is the “painful, nagging feeling that something’s being forgotten or left out. . . .the inadequacy of representation.”

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Phone Land

This project was a collaboration with Steve Aquilano, who was able to do amazing things with cron jobs and Asterisk.

The concept was a system where a caller, when placing a call, would end up in the space of “Phone Land”.  Instead of hearing ringing on the other end, they are taken on a sonic journey to their destination.  They can hear the other people passing through phone land as they make their calls, and could have serendipitous encounters / conversations while waiting as they may in a physical waiting space.   Suddenly when the person on the other line answers, the caller is removed from phone land and can begin their call.

Where do we exist when we are on the phone if we are not fully present in either our physical or virtual locations? Inspired by studies in the psychological affects of telecommunication, we presented an alternate “physicality”, where certain elements of real life were recreated in abstract space.

Our conceptual proposal is to have this initiated whenever the user places a phone call. However because AT&T and Verizon did not let us reprogram their services, we created a number to call to be connected to the service. Once inside, the user can call whoever they want, but instead of hearing  the usual rings and tones, are taken through a simulated journey to their destination. Some people end up in unexpected places, where audio clues hint at a real location. The most important element is the presence of other callers. At any of these locations you can hear and talk to people making calls to others, and similarly waiting for an answer. You can talk to them and ask them where they are and who they are calling. If this was a virtual waiting room, for example set up by a company to put people when they are on hold, perhaps you could network.  When your call is answered, you are suddenly jerked out  of this space by the voice of the person you called. There is never a ring tone, just the experience of spacial travel..

Highline Intervention 2

Working on this project with : Kimi, Engen, and Filipa

We are proposing an installation on or below the highline where people’s cell phones communicate, via bluetooth, and notify each other of proximity. The installation, depending on the form it takes and may be directed at the people who see it, or made for them, or it may be vague enough that they become aware of networks around them, but not understand their source or what they represent. Many of the scenarios we imagined seemed incomprehensible to people, at least on some level, who are not familiar with bluetooth technology. As we shift more toward observing the crowd and its movements via these devices, we are trying to align our aesthetic ideas, conceptual framework, and technology, and looking for the most sensible and interesting combination.

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Highline Intervention

Responding to the mediated voyeurism of the highline, Visible Voyeur created an intimate experience in public space. Our goal was to facilitate an unexpected discovery, one that would be intriguing, but violate your sense of what is right and normal in public space. The initial installation, on the highline, looked quite nice, and as a result most of our pieces were immediately stolen. So we didn’t get to observe the kind of discoveries we were interested in. But it was encouraging to see people excited to look through the peep-hole like glowing orbs.

This project was a collaboration with Emily Webster.

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Observing an Intersection


I watched the intersection of North 7th street and Bedford Avenue, a pretty busy intersection with a bus stop and two subway entrances to the L line, 2 pay phones (not that these are used anymore, but still), two deli/groceries, two post office boxes, 2 newspaper stand areas, and whereas other intersections usually have one city garbage can per corner, this one has three on each corner, totaling 12 city garbage cans.


the four corners:

I marked places where people stopped for a long time, usually doing something on their phones, and noticed most of them are around street objects like lamp posts, garbage cans, walls, parked bikes, and sometimes the very edge of the sidewalk.


There are two one way streets that run through here, so people should look in one direction if crossing one of them, but tended to look both ways. I also noticed that people tended to leisurely stop at the intersection regardless of whether or not they had the right of way, especially when they were on their cell phones, when they seemed to take the opportunity to fully engage in their cell phone use for a little while, sometimes even missing their light.

the cellphones:

Cell phone users stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, right at the edge of the road, whereas people actually looking to cross usually waited in the road, around the line where the outside of parked cars has an edge with the road.

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Facebook Nodes

The facebook nodes project visualizes connections between people who log into the site. The users are repositioned based on node attraction through a spring system within the nodes. The strength of the node attraction is determined by the users’ connections.

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