Author Archive

December 6, 2011

D-I-T (as in donate it together)

by Ariana Stolarz

Just got a gift from Facebook. It’s that time of the year. This time, they sent me an invitation to “Share the Good Cheer” ($50 for the educational cause of my choice). Here is the list of schools (from–An online charity connecting you to classrooms in need).

As I am not familiar with these schools, I’d like to invite the class to help me identify the school you’d like to donate these $50.

Thanks so much!


November 2, 2011

What’s DIY, really people

by Ariana Stolarz

Header, as you were presenting your project yesterday, I thought about this example from The Gap. I took the picture on 10/09/11 in a store in San Francisco.

I did some quick research and found this blog post. “The perfect photo for your holiday card is just a snapshot away. Visit your local babyGap or GapKids store to take part in a D.I.Y. holiday photo shoot. You can dress your little one up in Gap’s picture-perfect collection against a custom-made backdrop. Then head back over to Tiny Prints to showcase your photo in your favorite holiday card“.

I loved Noah’s DIT (Do-It-Together) approach. Can we think about any better acronyms for these types of corporate Do-It’s?
October 24, 2011

How’s the world feeling right now?

by Ariana Stolarz

Check this article on Gizmodo, on how to build yourself an Arduino-powered, Twitter-parsing LED mood light–The Twitter Mood Light promise to be an actual reflection of how people are feeling (well, how the ones with access to Twitter are).

DIY — Here is the how-to.

What you need:

  • An Arduino
  • A WiFly wireless module
  • An RGB LED,
  •, and
  • A9v battery



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October 17, 2011

PART I – Lab: DIY collage workshop

by Ariana Stolarz

This past Saturday, from 12-4pm Athena, Stephia, and myself conducted a DIY collage workshop in Newark, NJ at the Barat Youth Initiatives headquarters. Watch all the photos here.

We were  joined by a community volunteers, in the creation of a big banner for the upcoming Creation Nation Parade. 15 highschool students joined the session along with numerous community artists and volunteers. We used Art Basel fine art catalogues (2008) and  deconstructed them into collage.Our collective artwork will  march on October 23rd in the parade with thousands of students, and stand in Washington Park for a youth music festival at the end of the parade!



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October 12, 2011

Great Small Works Spaghetti Dinner & Performances

by Ariana Stolarz

John Bell’s closing remarks… (Sept. 23, 2011)

…and a few pictures illustrating the performances, and the “Spaghetti” dinner (which was great, but were actually Rigatoni!)…


October 11, 2011

“Do you really need a power drill, or you just need a hole in the wall?”

by Ariana Stolarz

This year’s PSFK Conference in San Francisco brought together an interesting blend of speakers to discuss issues in innovation, design, creativity and communal participation. In a nutshell, three memes surfaced throughout the day: the ideas of 1) Purpose—as in always design with a purpose, 2) Perspectives—in contrast to mono-cultural views, and 3) Commons—as in disperse but together we can build trust, facilitate sharing, and enable community.

Following up on some of the concepts discussed by Caroline Woolard in class ( and Trade School), Micki Krimmel, founder of NeighborGoods, shook the crowd most eloquently:  “Do you really need a power drill, or you just need a hole in the wall?”—A shocking fact: the average lifetime usage of a household power drill is only twelve minutes. (Check Noah’s post, published on 10/4!).

Joe Gebbia, Co-founder behind Airbnb, also talked about collaborative consumption and the role of the middleman. Most discussions (and Botsman and Rogers’ What’s Mine is Yours) agree that collaborative consumption examples share another common element: direct links between producers and consumers, bypassing the middleman.  However, what if we see these practices as the emergence of a new middleman? Airbnb intermediations present new characteristics, for sure. Yet, these new middlemen are in essence, connectors between a mutuality of wants and lacks.  What’s different this time is not just a matter of scale. The Internet’s architecture is designed to enable collaboration between non-related human beings who don’t even share a common locale. New notions of trustbetween strangers amend old definitions of collaboration, in particular, the idea that rules could mainly be enforced within tight circles of friends, families and acquaintances. As discussed in class, today’s examples of collaborative consumption, where reviews and ratings are published for the rest world to see, represent repeated plays of the prisoner’s dilemma. In other words, the incentives for defectors to pursue their goals are low when compared with the risks associated with being excluded from the game. (Airbnb is now offering professional photography to help make renting out your space even easier, and also as part of the verification of a property. Read more here).

Gerald Richard’s talk was unquestionably captivating. Gerald is the founder of 826 National, a nonprofit organization that provides strategic leadership, and other resources to ensure the success of its network of eight writing and tutoring centers. Its main goal is to foster literacy among kids. In Gerald’s own words, “It’s not home. It’s not school. It’s a place that kids own”.

Gerald shared this video with the audience:

More about 826National…

October 2, 2011

About our “Remix” Conversation

by Ariana Stolarz

As part of our conversation about repurposing media and the remix, I thought I’d share the work of a new generation of digital artists who are dealing with the Web 2.0 phenomena: how to tap into existing content generated by users — data, in the form, of words, images, and videos –, and rearrange it in novel, creative ways.

Here you have some examples by Natalie Bookchin:

Mass Ornament (2009)

Mass Ornament is a video installation in which hundreds of clips from YouTube of people dancing alone in their rooms are edited together to create a large dance with waves of synchronized movement. The dance recalls historical representations of synchronized mass movements of bodies in formations, from the Tiller Girls and Busby Berkley, to Leni Riefenstahl, as well as to Siegfried Kracauer’s 1927 essay on the mass ornament”.

Laid Off (2009)

Testament is an ongoing series of video installations made from fragments from online video diaries, or “vlogs” that explores contemporary expressions of self and the stories we currently tell online about our lives and our circumstances (…) In Laid Off, Vloggers individually and collectively narrate stories about losing their jobs”.

October 1, 2011

Rheingold U: The Social Media Classroom

by Ariana Stolarz

For those of you interested in exploring online participatory learning, Rheingold U offers series of sessions and ongoing asynchronous discussions through forums, blogs, wikis, mindmaps, and social bookmarks.

“If we do it right, we’re going to make magic happen: strangers all over the world will coalesce into a learning community in 5 weeks”. H. Rheingold.

“Instructor will be available for online office hours via Twitter”.

About The Social Media Platform

The Social Media Classroom is a free and open-source web service that provides teachers and learners with an integrated set of social tools that each course can use for its own purposes (e.g. integrated forum, blog, comment, wiki, social bookmarking, and mindmaps).

The SMC is an invitation to grow a public resource of knowledge and relationships among all who are interested in the use of social media in learning, and therefore, it is made public with the intention of growing a community of participants who will take over its provisioning, governance and future evolution.

You may also want to check Rheingold’s article & video interview Re-Imagining Media for Learning (Sept 29, 2011) where he interviews Tracy Fullerton, director of the Game Innnovation Lab at USC:

We’ve created a game where students are prompted to immediately begin working in teams together in creating all kinds of different media…the attitude of these students towards learning has changed so dramatically from what we’ve seen in the past. They are completely taking on the responsibility and the activation for their own learning onto their own shoulders”.



September 24, 2011

Collaborative Consumption: Collective Intelligence to the Service of Trading, Bartering, and Swapping

by Ariana Stolarz

The Cyberspace promotes the “rapid integration of intelligences”
(Pierre Levy, Becoming Virtual: Reality in the Digital Age, p. 146).

The C-Factor. In recent years, the concepts of community, cooperation, collaboration, crowdsourcing, the commons, and collective intelligence have circulated and considerably increased their appeal with academics, marketers, and the informed public. A great deal of literature seeks to explain the reasons why people collaborate, while emphasizing the role of digital technologies as catalyst for the various examples to succeed. Currently, new and creative ways of self-motivated collective action have proliferated beyond the exchange of knowledge and information. I am particularly interested in the raise of what has been called collaborative consumption—understood as new practices of “bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping, redefined through technology and peer communities”—, and in getting a deeper understanding of the reasons why this concept is now trending (Botsman and Rogers, What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, p. xv).

The throwaway mode of living—characterized by the raise of hyper-consumerism and the production and consumption of disposable items since the early fifties—is now witnessing successful counterexamples of repetitive consumption practices over ownership. At the heart of these practices is the calculation of how we can take an object’s “idling capacity and redistribute elsewhere” (Botsman and Rogers 83). Some examples, just to illustrate a few, include the swapping sites SwapTree, Squidoo, U-Exchange, and ThreadUp, where users swipe books, movies, games, and kids’ clothes. FreeCycle and ReUseIt are sites where people give unwanted items away. The car sharing and per hour car rental, facilitated through platforms such as RelayRide, GetAround, Whipcar, Zipcar, ZimRide, NuRide, and GoLoco, is predicted to become a $12.5 billion industry (Botsman and Rogers xiv-xviii, 84-85). In all these examples, the direct link between producers and consumers is restored leaving aside the middleman.

Numerous authors study the proliferation of a variety of technologies of cooperation, its uses and individual motivations. While most of this literature places a central role in the medium – one architected to foster collaboration – I will argue that the success of current collaborative consumption practices lays at the intersection of a) new technologies of cooperation (computer-networked platforms), b) social modes of organization (in particular, network theories), and c) cultural transformations (more specifically, i) a reinvigorated meaning of trust that emerged from the convergence of new technologies and social networking functions; and ii) a need to be more open to new ways of accessing what one needs and how to go about getting it,  heightened by an increased consciousness in environmental issues and the effects of the global economic crisis) (see Regis Debray’s  mediological approach, Media Manifestos: On the Technological Transmission of Cultural Forms).

Of course, digital technologies are key vehicles for these transmissions to thrive. The Internet offers platforms, such as, that make technically possible what was previously theoretically unimaginable: new reliable forms of collaboration among otherwise unconnected individuals.

September 18, 2011

Who Wants to Say Something Through Theater? The Wresting Cholitas in the Bolivian Andean Highlands

by Ariana Stolarz

“…people tried speak with their bodies” (Boal p.131)

 “The poetics of the oppressed is essentially the poetics of liberation” (Boal p.155)

The twenty first century has brought a variety of changes to Bolivian society. It is fair to suggest, that among the most noticeable of all these changes is the re-emergence of the once relegated native and autochthonous values, and the new role that indigenous women play in this transformed scenario. In a culture where machismo tints social dynamics at all levels, it is inconceivable for women to participate in a sólo de hombres activity (for men only). And it is even more difficult to accept, when these women have indigenous origins and the activity involves the use of physical power.

The Bolivian cholitas are the first indigenous women to fight professionally in the male-dominated world of lucha libre. Despite their increasing popularity on the global stage, locally, the wrestling cholitas are rejected by the Bolivian male-wrestling show business, and they are even forbidden from wrestling in the national circuit. Bolivian cholitas professionally wrestle to promote their culture and to fight for their rights, because “we cholitas have been highly humiliated and discriminated in the past” (Carmen de Rosa, qtd. in Schipani, Andres. “Women Wrestling Sweeps Bolivia.” 31 May 2008. BBC.).

The documentary Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bulling & Battering establishes the connection between professional wrestlers from the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the construction of contemporary masculinity. Chapter 3 (“Making Men”) draws the ideal of manhood proposed by the league, which associates masculinity with violence and dominance of others. Chapter 5 (“Divas: Sex & Male Fantasy”) elaborates on the control over women, and shows how their humiliation is associated with the heterosexual fantasy that intends to leave no room for uncertainty to the straightness of the male wrestlers. Finally, Chapter 6 (“Normalizing Gender Violence”) shows how the WWE league normalizes and justifies men’s violence against women in the real world.

As shown in the 2009 documentary film Mamachas del Ring, cholita wrestlers are on their own: they manage their own business and contracts, they organize and promote their own shows, and they even create their own costumes.  These women are fighters in the ring and in life. Most cholitas are street vendors. They have many kids in their household (ten seems to be an average number), and a husband who questions their role in the family. Today’s wrestling cholitas are struggling to manage and balance their lives as artisans, mothers, and wives, with their passion: wrestling.

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 11, 2011

Kizuna Cranes: Your wish can rebuild a life

by Ariana Stolarz

One special wish—In Japanese folklore, that’s what someone is granted when they fold 1,000 origami paper cranes. It’s an extraordinary undertaking, but one that creates a permanent bond with the recipients of that wish. It’s a bond that’s full of good fortune, full of friendship and full of hope.

The Japanese have a word for this kind of bond. They call it kizuna [key-zoo-nah].

As part of my job, I have the opportunity to engage in both client-related projects and non-profit initiatives in partnership with our Labs group.

Since my agency (mcgarrybowen) is part of the Japanese Dentsu Network, we have just launched a charitable participatory project called “Sponsor a Kizuna Crane.  Rebuild a Life.” to help our friends in Japan who are still recovering from the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.

Our wish is to raise funds for the long-term recovery efforts, allowing our fleet of cranes to travel the globe, from person to person, as a symbol of our kizuna, or bond, with the Japanese people.  To help us with our mission, we’ve tapped some of the most talented designers at Dentsu Tokyo and mcgarrybowen to create 30 one-of-kind crane designs.

I’d like to invite you to sponsor a Kizuna Crane ($10) or to spread the word with your family and friends around the world so we can harness the power of all individual contributions to reach our goal.

If you are into the origami culture, then fold your crane (you can watch our step-by-step instructions), share photos of your crane and add message of hope. And, of course, you can keep track of your crane’s journey on, and follow updates on Facebook and Twitter (#kizunacranes).