Monday, September 28, 2009


Here is my first attempt at pulling together a plan of action- each month I have a goal. The 2nd half of the year is less focused at the moment but I will rewrite that. (You can click to get a better view of the chart)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

presentation-2nd attempt

Ben Fry and Data Visualization

I never really understood data visualization. I love the look of many data visualization graphics, but as a whole field- it's somewhat of an enigma to me. I understand info graphics, and graphics created for specific results, but mostly the data visualization that I was seeing seemed pointless to me. Then I saw the work of Ben Fry. It started to come clear to me. The work was beautiful, yet purposeful.

Dave explained in class that "the purpose of data visualizations is to identify a pattern that would otherwise be invisible."

That sentiment is beautiful in a way.

I hope that my work will reveal the patterns of drowning and accidents that could have been prevented.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


interactive narrative
non-linear narrative

3 for the list.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer Reading Review

My thesis writing class is having a quiz on the summer reading today. Since I did the reading in June, I felt that I had to re-read everything. In doing this, I took some notes on the reading, and tried implementing a few of the techniques to my current concept. I found the reading useful and it made me feel more confident about writing and speaking about my idea. I pulled together my ideas into a little slide show while I was writing. Although I did this because I didn't have any note paper around when I was reading, I did find it helpful. I do have a few questions even though the reading packet was VERY thorough. For one, I am unsure how the "iterative writing process" works when I completely change my concept. Do I go back? According to the reading, I don't because that is recursive. Also, I am still a little unclear on how much I need to document in my interviews. I conducted 4 phone interviews the other day. I had a hard time writing every single thing that I said along with the responses down, am I supposed to document every part of this communication?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Where I am

I realize that if you are reading this blog that you have no idea what's really going on with my thesis. This is partially because I have just been using the blog recently to collect sporadic thoughts, meetings, classes and inspirations. Anyway, enough excuses, this is where I am.

I thought about water.
I read a lot about water.
I got mad about the water crisis.
I learned about sustainability vs. resilience.
I thought about thinking global but acting local.
I turned to the NYC waterfront.
I initially learned about watershed and sewage issues.
I read and read, articles and books (which I will talk about in detail another time)
I learned of another issue that is deeply affecting NYC waters.
I learned that every year people are drowning, dying and getting hurt on NYC beaches
I learned of the lack of education support tools for NYC beachgoers
I learned of the lack of an educated beach culture in NYC.
I talked to some people from the parks department
I talked to some lifeguards
I talked to some beachgoers
I talked to some kids
I felt compelled to focus my project on developing needed tools.
I freaked out a bit because this is a big departure from my original concept.
I wrote a survey to get an idea about what kinds of questions I should be asking
I am now trying to get more specific about my design questions and user group.

So, that's where I am. I am letting things resonate in my head right now and am starting to come up with ideas for what kinds of deliverables would be appropriate. I am somewhere between website, psa series, flags, print materials and an interactive map. It's a lot, but at the heart of it all are the PSA ads... so I am going to think about that first. yikes. craziness.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Here is my first attempt at data collection. Please support the cause:
Click Here to take survey

New Yorkers for Parks

Today I had a great conversation with Cheryll Huber, Director of Research and Planning for New Yorkers for Parks. Cheryll and I discussed my interest in beach safety and education and she was very interested in my creating resources that could raise the overall awareness and understanding by New Yorkers of these issues.

Initially we talked about Rockaway Beach and how one issue that is quite apparent is that there are different levels of coverage and resources for beaches depending on the region, which is particularly odd considering that they are all maintained by the Parks Department.

She mentioned many great resources for me to look into, some which I knew of and others that I didn't. These included:

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Gene Dupont
The Parks Department swim to safety and learn to swim program
The NYC health dept tracks info on beaches swimmable
-safety inspections of beaches
The parks dept goes out and hires lifeguards
The Parks inspection program- regular inspections of beaches
The Surfrider foundation -Doug Parent chair of nyc chapter
Mayor's Office

We talked about the need for a website that links all of the resources into one user-friendly cohesive site. We also discussed how NYC doesn't have the same kind of beach culture that other coastal cities have, and therefore there is a lack of self awareness and education that a general beach goer should have when they walk onto the beach.

Cheryll said that I can continue to be in touch with her about my research and work.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Filet o Fish

This article on the Filet O Fish goes into detail explaining how places like McDonalds are putting a strain on the marine environment of the ocean. Not that I have been eating at McDonalds or the like, but now I understand how deeply people are affecting the world as a whole by buying foods from wholesale seamen instead of employing local shipperies. Additionally, there is a real need for people to think resiliently about the oceans. We talk about sustainability but clearly that is not enough, we don't want things to be maintained, we need systems to be reconsidered completely in order to make positive changes for a sustainable future.

Notes from 9/10 Thesis Studio

Immediate To Do:
- define thesis question
- define "user group"

Iteration Cycles:
  • decide on critical part of thesis inquiry that must be solved
  • planning the iteration schedule and breaking down tasks to address one or all aspects of the project (look and feel, production delivery, implementation and distribution)
  • verify and advance
  • contextualize
  • document and evaluate
Upcoming Schedule
9/7- make and brief writing
9/14- test and brief writing- research supported
9/21- evaluate and brief DUE

identify advisors within the faculty and in the outside world
identify a mentor
identify a cohort: a core group of people that i will regularly be working closely with. (identify audience.) a twitter group is fine.

General Notes
Think about what I can do to play with my idea in a non- goal oriented, exploratory way.
Think about how I am framing my questions for each iteration
My thesis question should include one or more hypothesis

Concept Brief: most important/ best paragraph you've ever written in your life
Impetus Brief: why is this something that I and others may be passionate about

You can say that you are making an exploratory experiment with no predictable outcome

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mural by Os Gemeos

I was really inspired when I went to Coney Island this Summer and discovered this mural. (I found that someone collected the images in a Flickr link! I'd put my photos up but they are vacationing on Adrian's camera still). I like that the work is dreamy and fantastical. There is a plethora of color but the piece holds together.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fish Fertilizer

I did this quick study on Fish Fertilizer which really helped me to realize how many different kinds of processes go into making something which seems so pure. I found some great links while I was researching:

How A Fish Becomes Fertilizer
Also How A Fish Becomes Fertilizer
Info on the Omega Protein Corp- major processor of fish
Another Process Website

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nike Ad

Onwards from AKQA on Vimeo.

This was done in 3D to look like 2D. It's really unique and beautiful. It's style is tangible yet crisp. It flows but is stiff. I guess that it really just works.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Muir Webs

Yesterday I learned of a data visualization tool known as the Muir Web. (I found the most coherent explanation on the Manahatta Project website). I am not sure how I can use this as a tool, but it certainly speaks to issues of interconnectivity and how the ocean is part of a living dynamic system.

According to my professors Iain Kerr and Petia Morozov from Spurse, these webs need to be heterogeneous, nested, multi-scaled, emergent and multi-modal.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Presentation Notes

My first presentation of my summer work went alright. I think that I could have articulated my ideas a little bit clearer, but perhaps that is just a sign that I need to define my project a little bit more clearly even for myself. I did get some good feedback :

- think about distribution- where will my project live?
- why am I not interested in creating a PSA?
- i need to focus on my craft and jump into prototyping.
- i am interested in creating something that is visually magically and emotionally tangible (not so much feedback but it was really interesting to hear someone describe my interests as such).
- have my thesis question solidified

I know that these are all questions that I have been asking myself, but I think that hearing other people say that outloud was good.

Grizzly Bear Music Vid

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.

This is an interesting piece because it nicely explores what a handmade world could look like.

Artist Amy Casey

Artist Amy Casey creates really interesting urban spaces in her paintings. I think that it is good to keep in mind when I start thinking about the worlds that I am creating.


BAIDIR from slimane aniss on Vimeo.

I really like the use of camera angles in this piece.