This Week in Laundry

Tech, Travel, Design, and Domestics.

Art, Muppets, and Pasadena

Living: Pasadena, CA

Working: Pasadena, CA

Laundry: The Muppet Room, Pasadena, CA

This Week in Laundry I make some art.

…and visit the Caltech campus in my free time

I’ve come to California. To Pasadena. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. I’m here to make some art.

Or at least work on a grant proposal. For the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Art + Technology Lab grant.

The grant seeks to fund projects that work at the intersection of art and technology. And it just so happens that I live at such an intersection.

In many ways, the Theme Park experience is the most pronounced execution of art and technology. Because we have art, through set design, sculpture, and fabrication creating the immersive story environment, and technology, driving the rides, robotics, interactives, and all sorts of pieces to bring that art to life.

And if not the most pronounced, it’s at least the best funded form of installation tech art. With a park like Shanghai Disneyland finding its way to a 5.5 billion dollar bill.

While such lush funding always helps in the creation of immersive experience, the output often focuses on the most commercial form. It needs to, in order to recoup the investment.

Because of that, more controversial, melancholy, or innovative subjects are often neglected in the development focus.

That’s partly why I’m so excited about the opportunity to apply for this grant. Although small in sum compared to commercial opportunities, it provides a humble foundation upon which we may work on themes so often neglected in the industry.

That opportunity brought together the team of industry professionals collaborating on the project. We largely know each other through the TEA. The diverse expertise – production, dramaturgy, set design, illustration, film production and user experience – all work together to create our submission materials.

Those materials bring me to Pasadena. To the living room of my friends – my teammates. Today we will film the video footage for the two technology demos we plan on submitting in our application package.

you gellin? Dillon, master of video, sets up lights & gels

One technology involves the web browser on your mobile phone. It presents you with a fake social media feed. The feed changes dynamically as you approach a relevant object. It’s an element designed to play with the intersection of digital worlds and physical worlds.

screenshot from Dillon’s footage – showing the location aware browser content and a wifi sensor

The other technology involves interactive projection mapping. In this case, it simulates the materialization of a memory. The closer you get to the bed, the more the memory materializes. The more you walk away, the more the memory dematerializes.

I’ve been working hard on both demos, and am excited to get them into the submission package.

Everyone on the team’s been working hard. And I’m excited to see everyone’s hard work come together in our application.

I find this trip so fantastic for so many reasons. Not just for the pursuit of art. Or the opportunity to see friends. Or the chance to push the boundaries. But because it provides such a fantastic moment of gratitude.

Because living here in my friend’s living room, working on an art project, collaborating, and experimenting, under the southern California February sun, there’s so much to be grateful for.

And that includes a place to do laundry. In a place called the Muppet Room. A new temporary sanctuary. A place where I may prepare for today’s filming. And tomorrow’s future.

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