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5 Improbable Machines for quarantine living

How do you not touch your face during the pandemic?

 

There’s panic, and a lot more Don’t’s than we are usually used to. However, when we looked at this critically, through multiple lenses, taking into consideration a diversity of personas the answer to the question ‘how not to touch your face’ was simple. After deep thought and a bottom-up design process, we closed in on a few winners.  Here is the series of 5 such fully-thought through machinations that relook at our relationship with technology, our hands, our face and our hearts during #covid19

 

Introducing machine 1: THE Facecupboard

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The next logical prototype after THE Facecupboard…

 Improbable Machine 2: THE Handsmacker, aka the high-fiver, aka the gobsmacker.

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Is it a falcon? is it a drone? presenting Drone Falcons – Machine 3 in the series.

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Nothing keeps your face safe like the Rotating Cactus Glass Helmet, the fourth machine in our series of Improbable Machines that can help you not touch your face.

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For the finale, its a pant drop. Literally Self-Dropping Pants. Our least intrusive, most offensive idea so far. 🙂

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Maybe someday soon we will probably try to make these improbable machines. Till then, stay safe and think happy everyday.

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Weaving light for Art Bengaluru 2018

Last year we did a lot more than make an installation for Art Bengaluru. Saving that for another eventy ‘we-did-a-lot-of-work’ video.  This was the fun bit: Making large 3D alphabets, woven with thousands of meters of thread on a metal structure, all topped up with some subtley beautiful El-wire. Oh Yeah!

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See some of the action in this 40-seconder:

This was a biggie 🙂

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THE TIDAL EPIC: LIQUID, METAL, LIGHT

Once upon a magical moon, a ‘fearless artist’ decided to tell a story of the tides. Heart full of flowers, she needed help to make Tidal, a ‘geofeedback’ installation that bridges the gap between water bodies outside and inside us. THE Workshop stepped up to build a suspended storm of metal clouds, illuminated with thousands of LEDs that pull from tidal data and flow in time with the river. When you interact with a large silver moon-like bowl of water placed in the centre of the installation- you start to pull light towards you, from one body of water to another. This went beyond the usual

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Could we make this at THE Workshop? And then ship it across the seas to the Three Rivers Art Festival in Pittsburgh?

Challenge Accepted 🙂 🙂 🙂

From under the bridge to the outdoor structure, the final location where the installation was to be built changed , so the installation changed form, and code. Every iteration looked beautiful.

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Thousands of LEDs embedded in over 30 huge metal clouds forming a spiral vortex, code directing it as it hovers over a four-foot moon shaped bowl filled with water. Water that responds to your touch. Water that links you to the river. The LEDs programmed with over three years of the live tidal data. The patterns flowed, matching Shilo’s artistic vision. It was a great team effort making the tech happen, sensors, moon bowl, weeks of intense wiring, soldering, rewiring, testing, and all that jazz. Twas’ a fun monsoon.

Packed to perfection, Tidal travelled 13,634 km from THE Workshop, at Nagwara, Bangalore to Point State Park, Pittsburgh, USA.  Coincidentally, it was the first international build for THE Workshop. We literally had our heads in the clouds for the whole week we spent assembling it in there.

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Tidal was a massively precise build. Made possible by THE team of asskickers: Srinidhi, Juneza, Gopi, Sanjay, Purvi, Naseer, back in India, and Heather, and everyone else who helped in Pittsburgh.

Here’s the MAKING video:

 

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The finale. A beautifully interactive geofeedback installation in a giant white geodesic dome. We could say Tidal was a geostorm of a build, maybe that be a tad bit too…Cheesy?

The tide is in. Aqueous transmission complete.

 

 

 

Tidal did make some waves : Here’s what the people of the media had to say:

Tidal was made in 2017 @THE Workshop in collaboration with Shilo Shiv Suleman.

 

 

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THE Urban Bi-spectacle: a data-driven interactive installation

We ended 2016 with a research-driven interactive installation at our very first Biennale. Pi’s, emotional maps of the city, original emotion based frequency sounds, and first person POV’s of four peculiar characters of the city.

That’s loads of data, research and creation all crunched into a month of making. In the meanwhile, we also helped set up URBAN CITYLAB, Bangalore. Fun December 🙂

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Initiated by Ar. Sandhya Rao and Ar. Anabelle Viegas, URBAN CITYLAB is a research collective of Urban Designers, planners, architects, sociologist’s and academicians based out of Bangalore. The research collective focuses on innovative urban proposals that will transform the way we live; concepts of hybrid urbanism that offer a juxtaposition of programs to live, work, and play for a hyper-mobile, hyper-connected population.

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The installation: The Urban Bi-spectacle is an on-going research project on the sensory experience of Bengaluru’s multi-layered, hyper-connected reality.  It uncovers layers of interaction, experience and emotion while revealing the characters, characteristics and peculiarities of the urban.

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Tracing the activities of various urban actors, we examine the multiplicity of the Bangalore urban to generate discourses on alternative methods of city design, and relook at ways to analyse and interpret real-time data.

Conceptualised, and built by Urban Citylab, this study provides insights into the nature of the city we know, sense and recognise, while focusing on the spatial, sensorial and emotional nuances defining it.

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Put simply, the city is calling for help, and we dial in an emotion. A precursor to the digitally lead lives of people in the world’s most dynamic city. Thanks Gopi, Arnab, Arthur, Chetan, Faseeh, Manoj, all volunteers, and THE Workshop for making this.

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Photo by: FAS Films

You can visit THE Urban Bi-spectacle at the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016. Stop by Yousuf Art Gallery, Opposite international tourist police museum, Jew town road, Mattancherry, Kochi. The installation will run all though Feb, until 29th March 17.

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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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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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