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Perspective is a powerful thing

Big, small, little, large, too young, too old, dark, fair, brown, black, loud, soft, smart, stupid, from here, from there, worships this, believes that, nobody, somebody, everybody. Think Happy Everyday.

(This was the copy that didn’t make it on the final installation)

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Sometime last year we were invited to partner with the Under25 Summit to be held early January this year. Founders Shreyans and Anto were open to ideas for an installation that echoed their ideology. Woopiee! Good time for us to work with a super-motivated and socially-active audience.

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While  mining for  ideas, we realised that perspective was what one of the core takeaways from this summit.

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We jogged through some surreal illusions before deciding on The Ames room: a perspective based optical illusion room, constructed with the walls, floor and roof at various acute angles. The sum effect creating an illusion where one person standing at one corner of the room seemed like a giant towering over another person standing at the opposite corner.

So DSC_0494we got our Hobbit boots on and summoned the white wizard. The build was simple enough, a week of cutting up plywood, metal sections and the painting repetitive patterns. Sometime around the end of our build we found out our venue was on the 7th Floor terrace of the World Trade Centre. Schematics shuffled, welds broken and we had a modular design in a couple of hours.

Friends and fairy folk stopped by around midnight to help us finish up. Post sunrise, we struggled for three hours to get a little perspective up to the 7th floor. Service elevator worries, a serpentine corridor to navigate that made the task Sisyphean. 10 am, the sun blazing on the northern terrace, our semi-fatigued motley crew all paint, grease conjured up the 12 x 8  illusion in wood, metal and rexine.

 

People were curious. How did it work? What was inside ? Was there a show? Was there a message? A surprise? Selfies, videos, like like like, happy times. End of story…We were delighted that one message resonated with everyone there. Perspective, is indeed a powerful thing. DSC_0548

Video coming soon 🙂

 

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Make merry music with this interactive Christmas tree

St. Gregorios Orthodox Cathedral brings in the yuletide with light, sound and a whole lotta happy making and doing.

Sometime in November an opportunity to make something for Christmas knocked on THE door. Bam! Ideas started flowing. We were looking for a Christmas experience, not just a tree. Something people could engage with, better still if the tree could return the merry gesture.

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A re-invented, interactive light and sound installation would come to life . THE Workshop + the bubbly youth of St. Gregorios Orthodox Cathedral church, Bangalore. What we made: a 3 octave PVC pipe organ  encircling a tree made of sensory lights and 300  Asparagus densiflorus saplings (they were closest to representing the fir).

DSC_0056Over 3 weeks the 15 ft tall merry maker was made by the community, for the community. Part at THE Workshop, part at the church. Fun times. Every pipe was rigged with a sensor which sets of the lights. All synced to how the user played the pipes.

The support was overwhelming, total strangers to woodworking, metalworking and electronics, a team of 30 sawed, welded, painted and connected this tree of joy.

The volunteers took to their work like true professionals, from carrying 25 kgs of steel sections on a moped to getting their best clothes stained with christmas paint colours and even standing on rickety ladders to put up the lights on the tree. There was nothing the youth of this church would say no to. 19th December 2015, D-day for the tree to be up and running. Work was in crunch mode. Around 90 wires had to be connected to the circuitry, 300 asparagus saplings had to be potted and put on the tree, the faulty LED strip of the star had to be reconnected.

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Sleigh bells ring and  in  3 hours,  wires are stripped and connected. Plants were potted and placed and the star brightly lit up the top of the tree. All this done. Everyone jumps on the bus to go carolling at 9 sharp. What a bunch of troopers!

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The response at the unveiling was heart warming, the little elves loved it 🙂 ecstatic even ! A few threw tantrums so they could linger a bit longer at the musical candy canes. The crowds gathered to watch the bright lights dance over the fresh life of the asparagus sapling plants they adopted, the tree drew in the community with its bright, warm and green allure.

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THE Christmas tree was not about just making something beautiful and sparkly. It was about the spirit of christmas. Giving time, sharing joy, working, singing, a happy collective creating magic together.

Twas’ indeed a wonderful gesture by  the priests and the committee of the St. Gregorios Orthodox cathedral  who made this possible. Plus the support of the youth community, Mr. Thomas V.T., the Choir,  St. Mary’s Women’s League and Sunday School who helped fund this.  .

Sparkles of  smiles, music, cheer and a little a idea to nurture. That’s THE right kinda christmas. Have a merry one world.

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Text & Photographs by Reuben Jacob 

Videos will be up soon.

 

 

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How a cardboard chair travelled from Spain to Nagapattinam Tamil Nadu.

It all started with a innovatively designed chair. Not your regular plastic, factory made portable. This one could be folded up, picked up and carried anywhere. And it was made of a material we usually packed stuff in: cardboard.

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The folks from Multihabitar, Spain left us with this gem of knowledge when they visited India in February 2014. It seemed a shame to let this useful repurposing of material concept go to waste. Jose Milara saying, “architecture and design should evolve to be more social and closer to people” made absolute sense as Multihabitar  graciously agreed to shared the design and the data. Open source, that’s the future. 

Here’s where it begins: a design thinking and cardboard furniture at PRIME College of Architecture & Planning, Nagapattinam, TN. This would be the cardboard sofa’s first journey since it reached India.

We got cracking. Hired a car and hit the Tamil Nadu tarmac,DSC_0238smooth running all the 506 km we covered.   Far from the bustle of Bangalore, our destination was on the scenic but yet to develop eastern coast of India. Day 1 was a talk and introductions so we could hit the ground running on day two.

Our workshop was structured to be completely hands-on where the learning module based on engagement, experience and experimentation –– we started  with 30 students demonstrating how waste cardboard boxes don’t have to be disposed but instead can serve as useful material to create an array of items and furniture.

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The enthusiasm was infectious right from the start. Students wasted no time in procuring the exact dimensions of cardboard needed. In a matter of a few hours the students, working in groups managed to prepare the pieces that would come together to form the sofa.

It was nearing college closing time but the students determined to finish the sofa, refused to leave. We began assembling the sofa around sunset.

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With a  lot of hands and a few people yelling  ‘no that’s not how you do it!”,  we had finally assembled the sofa in two hours flat.

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The cardboard sofa could be extended upto 2.6 M when fully stretched.

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The students were overjoyed: a bout of selfies followed by the students stretching out on the sofa, slightly apprehensive of it giving way under their weight. As predicted the cardboard stood true to its structural strength when combined.

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In the meanwhile, the creative thinking workshops had students debating ideas, questioning smart cities, converging on idea, diverging on perspectives. Good stuff.

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The next day students returned with a renewed sense of eagerness, ready to build their very own sofa or cupboard or shelf. They applied the methodology from the sofa to create their own design and then build it.  A few hours of brainstorming, cutting and we had a single chair, a scaled down shelf, a stationery holder, an abstract garden seater and a ‘couple’ chair.

Their input to design and grasp of new ideas was impressive. In a matter of a few hours they were able to apply their learning to create innovative and new items using cardboard. And that’s what defines design, the localised context of a globally evolving movement. 

A big Thank You to all the faculty and students from Prime and all the wonderful architects from Multihabitar. Happy times.

Text by Reuben Jacob, Bangalore 2015.

THE Workshop: Anabelle Viegas, Craig D’mello, Reuben Jacob.

Design Collaborators: Multihaitar, Spain

Videos will be up soon 🙂

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Synesthesia lights up Mini Maker Faire Bangalore

A thousand two hundred meters of tubing, sixty kilos of steel, six hundred LEDs, five ultrasonic sensors, 2 coats of paint, one coat of primer, over a 100 nuts and bolts, and this was just the installation. Plus fifty-four square meters of black rexine to enclose this little light monster.

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The build was crazy. 7 days. Help arrived magically. Almost sequenced. Thanks Gopi, Arnab, Chetan (for the perfect soundscape), Manoj, Kavita, Vijay, Sneha, Caco, Abhi and all of you who helped snip, string or wire stuff.

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We loved the response at the Faire. People were like “this is straight outta Avatar”. Awesomeness.

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Conceptualised and designed by THE Workshop boss Anabelle Viegas, Synesthesia is an interactive and iterative structure computationally generated with acting forces as the design constraint. The installation tests rigid materiality transforming it engaging the user with a soft, malleable fluid dynamism.

The light patterns iterate as the user engages with the installation. This time around we could only engage two senses. The next iteration will be more divergent, delightful and responsive.

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Super happy we made this happen.

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a month in the making…

THE Workshop has been up and running for over a month. We’ve hosted a few workshops. Met some excellent people. Fun times.

We tinkered with electronics. We made music with tools. Literally.

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We had an Open Day. Met some interesting artists. We made some keychain mementos.

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We asked people for their interpretations of a box…They were really out of the box.

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Now we’re trying to have conversations with furniture. Woo Hoo.

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A fundamental step: Getting back to THE basics

Our new series at THE Workshop. Fundamentally fun stuff.

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Woah-bama: The Dudest presidential speech ever

Here’s to el-presidante Obama and his no B.S speech.

Wishing more leaders had such an evolved sense of humour.

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Where everyone in the world is migrating—in one gorgeous chart

a world on the move

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Shark with dreadlocks returns to stream

Super Munchie Power!!!

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Distraught cows ask government: What’s your beef ?

In a drastic turn of events, the Maharashtra Steaks Committee has made an appeal to the Highest Court to revoke the beef ban. They further demanded the law protect and honour their constitutional rights to freedom of religion, and religious expression in India. According to Mrs. Kabab Gai from Bombay, the cows have two religious sects: Steak and Stalk. While every Stalks purpose is to fertilise the land, they also commit themselves to the lifelong task of stalking and stalling humans. Steaks however had a purpose higher than roadblocks and concrete dumping –– ‘the perfect BBQ’ a three-step journey of self-sacrifice and enlightenment –– Rare, Medium, and Well Done. This ancient tradition and core religious dogma shot to fame some of the leanest, most well marinated Steaks. And ever so often purebreds had the honour of melting away in a gastronomical feast of eternal bliss. But all was not peaceful at the ‘Cows are Steak’ rally. In an act of defiance, one cow grilled itself to an extremely well done. The air was thick, delicious –– the aromas of an overdone steak filled the street. International spokescow for ‘Cows for Grills’ released a statement, “We are not cowards. And we will steak everything before we let some government ban our right to freedom of thought, of expression, and religion. ” The Chief even went to the extent of saying that they could ban the steak, but they could never ban the sizzle. 7649891430_9460b347e4_b Meanwhile in an unrelated incident, a social media specialist has taken to twitter with her #ItsMyMilk campaign. Feminist groups are in full support and have moved the campaign to higher grounds –– the Cowch. The youtube viral #ItsMyMilk has spun off numerous parodies –– #ItsMyMilk by LOLcat is bonkers. For more on this developing story read the Beef Kheema tell-all: holy men used to love me.