Archive for September 12th, 2011

September 12, 2011

Ariana Stolarz, nice to meet you.

by Ariana Stolarz

On my interests in collaborative, voluntary, unmanaged efforts—My grandfather left Lithuania when he was nine. His boat happened to stop in Argentina. Other relatives arrived in Cuba and in the United States. After some time, my entire family reunited in Buenos Aires. With limited communications, limited economic means, and rudimentary English and Spanish language skills, these immigrants in the 1920’s managed to build collaborative networks to stay connected one way or another. I have always wondered exactly how they managed to do so—to get to reunite families around the globe with such limited communications technology.




In 1999, I thought I was working in banking. My employer, Lloyds Bank, was a world leading financial institution. I was assigned to a project that was meant to improve the bank’s operations. Years later, I have come to realize that back then, I had been contributing to a new way in which people were beginning to connect, communicate, and participate. I was a member of the team that launched the first Internet banking platform in my country, Argentina.

In the year 2000 I started an online forum: (Talk to the President). It had the flavor of a blog; a diary of political thoughts nourished by opinions of citizens that were exploring an emerging political democracy. At that point, the Argentine government was not yet ready to engage in this dialogue, and participants were wary of sharing their points of view with the rest of the world.


A year later, I was working in Miami on a platform similar to what or YouTube Live Streaming are today. It was an online aggregator of video content enriched by in-house production of short films, animations, Japanese anime, and content licensing for the fashion, sports, and culinary channels. We bought the rights to live stream a full-length soccer game for the first time in the Web history. Thousands of sport enthusiasts subscribed to our pay-per-view offering (However, their slow dial-up connections did not allow them to enjoy the experience). Although the technology was not quite ready, for the first time in my career I faced the emergence of a savvier audience who was looking not just for new ways to communicate, but also for new forms of entertainment, manifestation, exploration, discovery, connection, and participation.


After some years in the advertising world at agencies such as JWT, Vidal Partnership, and mcgarrybowen—where I currently lead the Digital Strategy group—, I decided to continue pursuing my interests in 1) getting a deeper understanding of peoples’ drivers to interact with media and technology; 2) to gain a deeper knowledge of the way in which people relate with family, friends, colleagues, and particularly with strangers; and 3) to explore the motivations, the reasons why people collaborate in network-computed environments. In 2009 I joined the MA in Media Studies program.


Recommended courses:

  • Urban Media Lab: Strangers—Jessica Blaustein
  • Urban Media Archaeology—Shannon Mattern


Oh! And I am very much into Korean Martial Arts.

September 12, 2011

Heather Strycharz

by hstrykdiy

FYI my last name is pronounced “strike-cars”.

I grew up in rural western Massachusetts, received my BFA in Media Arts at the Hartford Art School and I currently live in New Haven, CT. I work as a web designer at an e-commerce company where I get to design and build such sites as I began my MA in Media Studies at the New School in January 2010. I commute to my courses in NYC via the often unreliable MetroNorth (btw – This is why I usually rush out of class, and yes that is a picture of me on the MNR).

As for my involvement in DIY things – I have always been one to draw/sew/cut&paste/design/paint/build/grow/cook. Basically I’m drawn to hands-on/mouse-on projects of all kinds. My work can be viewed at Recently I’ve been working on a design side-project called Love Local Design, a design studio dedicated to supporting small businesses and local organizations. Hopefully it will also have a shop element soon. A percentage of the profits will go to local (New Haven/CT) non-profits. Inspired by this course I have enrolled in a silkscreen printing course at Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven – I will keep you updated on my progress via this blog.

I ended up learning a bit about DIY hardware hacking via my boyfriend Scott (you can view his hackings and music at Earlier this year we resurrected a night he held up in Rochester,NY called FridayNightThing. FNT is “a gathering of interested (usually) musicians, artists, coders, geeks and other riffraff who meet to cabal while coding, improvising, listening, watching, participating or spectating. Musical, visual, and improvisation styles vary and eclecticism is appreciated. It is inclusive and open to all provided all have open minds.”

Here is a video of February’s FNT:

As for the participatory learning part of this course, I am interested in using my skills in design and media to teach. I hope that the readings and discussions for this course will help to inform my future teaching career.

September 12, 2011

DIY Public Art Project: Flaming Cactus

by Lily Antflick

If you’ve been around Astor Place lately, you have probably noticed the poles and street lights lined with bright, colorful cable ties. The cable ties are linked together, forming a circle around the circumference of the poles. What is left is a spikey and vibrant post which somewhat resembles a cactus, hence the name, “The Flaming Cactus Project”. These public displays force pedestrians to stop and look around and appreciate the burst of color arranged on these previously drab and boring public objects.

Flaming Cactus was debuted at FIGMENT 2011 in the Governors Island Sculpture Garden and was later recognized by NYC’s Department of Transportation who expanded the size of the project for its “Summer Streets” program. The project is the brain-child of Animus Arts Collective, who have also created public art pieces mostly from recycled and found objects. The collectives’ multiple projects dare to create an environment which instigates a dynamic relationship between the participant and the object and between the participants themselves.

Their project entitled “1,000 Pieces” was an evolving puzzle display on Governor’s Island which encouraged pedestrians to contribute to the art by adding and readjusting the wooden puzzle pieces, after drawing personal messages on them.

The Flaming Cactus Project represents the simplicity of creating something beautiful out of everyday objects and the sense of public satisfaction which follows. As the Animus Collective explains, “We wanted to show that making art doesn’t require a lot of resources, formal education, or even money.  Art and creativity are things we’re all capable of.”

12+ Flaming Cactuses will be on display around Astor Place for the month of August.