Archive for ‘DIY’

October 27, 2011

Halloween DIY – Camera Costume

by hstrykdiy

Halloween is my favorite time of year. Besides being into the macabre and full on goth in high school, I love making costumes and seeing what others come up with. I came across this Fully Functional Camera Costume and I thought it was a great, fun example of a DIY Halloween costume. It includes a bit of hardware hacking, a lot of cardboard and creative use of found objects:

We are having a small costume making get together in New Haven on Friday. My costume this year involves sewing, glitter and some hardware hacking. I will document our creations this weekend.

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 21, 2011

Valpo Surf Project Silent Auction Tomorrow

by Edmund Kasubinski

A friend of mine helped start this unique DIY initiative in Chile.  The Valpo Surf Project is a program designed to teach surfing to underprivileged folks in Chile.  Even though a city like Valparaiso is near a beautiful, surfable ocean, the high cost of surfing equipment keeps its citizens from enjoying such a hobby/sport.

From the website:

In Valparaiso, a city comprised of homes built on the hills surrounding an industrial port, there is a disconnect between its youthful inhabitants and the ocean. Although most see the ocean everyday of their lives, many of the city’s youth have never had the opportunity to experience the Pacific Ocean and Chile’s beaches. We wanted to create a way that Valparaiso’s disconnected youth could learn to engage with and protect the local marine environment.

The resulting idea evolved into the Valpo Surf Project, a community organization that engages its young participants with the surrounding marine environment through weekly surf outings and focus on fostering three distinct components: personal character development, environmental consciousness, and English language education.

And every so often the folks at Valpo take their initiative to the Big City to hold a well-organized fundraiser such as this weekend’s silent auction.  Here’s a link to the event:

3rd Annual NYC Silent Auction at Crop to Cup

For 25 bucks you get beer, wine, snacks, and door prizes, plus a chance to bid (silently) on some local art; plus you contribute to a good cause.

I’ll be stopping in tomorrow for a bit, maybe I’ll see you there!

October 18, 2011

Help Donald Reed !!!!

by diydonaldreed

Hey there I’m writing this post to simply ask if anyone knows any DIY projects for children. I am a nanny or “manny”, or whatever you call it, and I watch a very sarcastic and honest 8 year old. He is great but when he is bored, or whenever a dull moment happens during conversation he has no problem letting me know that I am boring him. So I have decided to look up some DIY project for him to do. But I can’t seem to find any that would amuse him. He is hard to please, to the point where if I even make him crack a smile I feel my day wasn’t a complete fail. I even thought of taken notes from the readings and letting him use my camera to make up a story or a game where I ask questions and he answers with film. I remember hearing that there are some people in class that watch children, so please I would love some advice. I have to watch him and one of his friends for 12 hours next week. So I’m planning a day, so I don’t go completely crazy.


Donald Reed

October 18, 2011

Collage Lab Part II

by StefiaMadelyne

Ariana posted her beautiful photographs in an earlier post and eloquently explained our fabulous, community-engaged, DIY Collage Lab at Creation Nation’s headquarters in Newark, NJ.  It is such a large, beautiful space and while we created, so did others around us.  There are many photos here, and I hope they do justice to the beauty of the space, the collaborative creative atmosphere, and the wonderful experience of transformative works of art in action!  Enjoy!!


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October 18, 2011

The Importance of Failing Often

by Nick Brewer

From NYC Resistor’s blog

Catarina helped me build a prototype of a “Nixie” tube illuminated with electroluminescent wire. Unfortunately the wires are too dense and too dim to work well with the ten layers of thickness, so the prototype is a beautiful failure.

I think this is an excellent example of failure in DIY education. I have found over time that I tend to make a lot of mistakes and that is completely ok. Not only am I learning in my attempts to build things, but I usually break something and have to overcome that problem to finish the project. I really like the look of these nixie tubes that Hudson was trying to go for, and he has a really good design, but the overall product just didn’t work… making it “a beautiful failure.”

Anybody else have any lessons they’ve learned through failure?

October 17, 2011

Participatory Learning…Virtually.

by alexandrakellyg

Josephine Dorado is a professor at Parsons and an expert in the field of “creative collaboration and theatrical performance in virtual worlds.”  I attended her demonstration on Participatory Learning Through Performance at MobilityShifts on Saturday afternoon.  Dorado explored, most specifically, improvisational dance in the virtual world of Second Life as a tool for participatory learning.  I must admit…I’ve always been a Second Life skeptic.  This is partially why I chose to attend this demonstration.  How does Second Life work?  What is the appeal of using my computer to transport me away from my immediate environment into an atmosphere of aliases that interact in real time?  What makes this virtual world of improvisational dance more fascinating and effective then my neighborhood contact dance group?

Photo credit:  Josephine Dorado

The demonstration displayed Second Life aliases (including Dorado’s alias) dancing to music that was being mixed by a DJ in the physical Orientation Room at Parsons.  The physical audience could sometimes be seen on a big screen within the virtual world.  We could watch ourselves watching the dancers.  The dancers performed many moves which seem physically impossible in real life; such as rapid fire upside down splits.  At one point, colorful ribbons were received by the dancers as props to use in interaction or alone on a corner of the floor.

A photograph I took at the demonstration - Josephine Dorado at center

The element of individual ‘choice’ and experimentation is still very much alive in the virtual world, but it seems less intimidating to choose to approach another dancer on the virtual floor then on the physical floor.  In Augusto Boal’s approach to participatory learning through improvisational performance, he gradually works with people to allow them to slowly start to grow into their own bodies and connect with other bodies onstage; at their own pace.  In Second Life’s dance world, there seems to be a much lower threshold to full body participation and collaboration, right from the beginning.  It is not as intimidating to throw your body onto a virtual dance floor, but in what ways does that test your comfort zone?  What does “embarrassment,” “shyness,” or “tentativeness” feel like online as opposed to on Boal’s stage?  And, what sense of accomplishment does a person feel when they have worked through Boal’s exercises (mistakes and all!) as opposed to ribbon dancing for twenty minutes with a group of anonymous people from around the world?

I left Dorado’s demonstration – my first official viewing of Second Life on a screen – feeling even more curious about this new notion of participatory learning through improvisation.  It tests many of my own definitions (mainly those formed through personal experience) of what performance is and what it does to inspire dialogue and create community.  Boal’s theater inspires community dialogue and individual senses of agency.  What are the post-effects of an online dance collaboration on a virtual community and within the physical lives of the people on their computers?

October 17, 2011

Publishing Disruptions at Mobility Shifts

by Lily Antflick

This past Friday, I was pleased to attend the panel discussion entitled ‘Publishing Disruptions: Extra-Institutional Publishing Tools’ which was conducted as part of the Mobility Shifts Conference. The panel was moderated by Morgan Currie, of the Institute of Network Cultures and included, Sam Gould of Publication Studio, Amanda Hickman of Document Cloud, Michael Mandiberg of Floss Manuals and Simon Worthington from Mute Magazine.

Each member of the panel presented their individual domains and organizations which share similar philosophies in regard to open-access and publishing as a social practice.
The panel introduced multiple newly-invented platforms for authors who are interested in publishing outside of traditional academic infrastructures, demonstrating that the act publishing can also be seen as a critique of existing institutions and copyright licensing.

Michael Mandiberg discussed Floss Manuals, a collection of manuals about free and open source software, encouraging open-source publishing as a technical and social practice.
Mandiberg discusses Collaborative Futures, a book which he worked on that was created during a ‘Booksprint’ (where many contributors come together for a few days and collaborate on a book.) Floss Manuals has a ‘remix’ option where the public can actually change/add to a book once it is formed. Mandiberg sees the hard copy as an artifact of the digital version which is constantly changing. This problematizes the notion of the book as a fixed entity by encouraging constant feedback, editing and alterations. Here, the book can never really be seen as a finished product, but rather, a malleable object which the public can engage with and adapt.

Sam Gould discussed Publication Studio, a Portland-based laboratory for publication which prints and binds books on demand. The most pertinent message of Gould’s address was his explanation of how PS does so much more than merely the production of books, but more importantly is concerned with the creation of a public. Through a consortium of studios, commissions, artists, authors, etc., PS creates a space for public collaboration. Publication Studio thus offers an expanded notion of what publication can mean, book publishing here is a social act which agitates for dialogue and as a result, forms a public around it.

Both of these speakers’ initiatives complicate traditional academic infrastructures by introducing alternative modes of publishing and collaborative pedagogy. This is central to the DIY ethic which proposes the creation of a new discourse, fracturing authority and encouraging openness, public interaction and individual agency.

October 16, 2011

Scrapyard Challenge at MobilityShifts

by Farah

When I signed up for the Scrapyard Challenge workshop at MobilityShifts, I took to heart the organizers’ claim that no electronics experience would be necessary to participate. Although I’m completely clueless in that department, I wanted to give it a go anyway in the DIY spirit of the class. Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki conduct these workshops all over the world where they have participants take old electronics and other “junk” and use the parts to make something new. For this one, we were making simple sound machines.

I had expected the workshop to be more instructional, but its loose structure actually works in its favor. Rather than a complete step by step tutorial, we were given a brief lesson on how electronic switches work and how we could make our own; then, the workshop leaders essentially let us have at the table of junk. I wrote in my reading reflection paper about Vygotsky’s ideas on the importance of play for the development of children and mentioned that I thought workshops like the Scrapyard Challenge sounded like a good example of that for adults. Sure, you can probably teach people (or teach yourself) how to hack electronics through classroom style lessons. It’s more fun to learn by playing, which for me ended up being trying and failing and trying again.

A friend had given me an old boombox to work with, and a trash artist named Todd helped me in disassembling it and figuring out what we could do with it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a power supply that worked with the interior motors, so we decided to try something else. I ended up making a switch by soldering some wire to a metal Slurpee tin, which we had tested to see if it was conductive. I attached the wires to the organizers’ Arduino board and made some sounds by opening and closing the tin. Admittedly, it was quite lo-fi compared to some things others were making.

Just as Vygotsky says that children have differing levels of proximal development, I think that adults do too depending on the field. However, seeing what others do and being guided by someone with more knowledge helps bridge that gap. The ultimate success of these workshops is that through play, they enable newcomers to learn basic principles of electronics and gain confidence that they can DIY. No, I’m not an expert after a couple hours of tinkering, but I’m a lot less wary of trying something more complex another time.

Below are a few of pictures I took. You can see more here:

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And here’s a video from the workshop:

October 13, 2011

Destructables… an activist’s Instructables

by Nick Brewer is an advertising free Do It Yourself website for projects of protest and creative dissent. The site features user generated step-by-step video and photo/text based instructions for a wide range of dissenting actions, including (but not limited to): art actions, billboard alterations, shop-dropping, protest strategies, knit-bombing, making protest props, interventions, methods of civil disobedience, stencil work, performative actions, and many other forms of public dissent – from the practical and tactical to the creative and illegal. It is a living archive and resource for the art and activist communities.

I love that these guys were looking at the information available elsewhere online (specifically instructables) and decided to create their own for the purpose of culture jamming. They also have several organizations working with them; Center for Artistic ActivismThe Yes Men / The Yes LabCrimethincAndrew Boyd / Beautiful TroubleDi Rosa, and Southern Exposure.

October 12, 2011

Makerbot – Explained!!!

by Nick Brewer

Ok, yes, I know, I know, I harp on how awesome the Makerbot is weekly. But for those who don’t quite understand what the big deal is, I have for you a video produced by Time magazine. They interview Bre Pettis, who does an amazing job at explaining exactly why this fits within the DIY ethos. If you watch this, I promise I’ll cool it on the ra-ra makerbot for a bit.,32068,1211395318001_2096598,00.html

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 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street – Photos/Interviews

by Nick Brewer

I took a trip down to Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park yesterday afternoon. Much like Tom did at Maker Faire, I recorded several interviews and took some photographs of the environment. I went into it looking for a DIY angle, but it was immediately clear that EVERYTHING down there is DIY. They have created their own society and rules to help keep the movement growing, they have set up a library, talks are given, an art space has been set up, etc. I kept thinking about the theater of the oppressed as I made my way through the very small area these people are holding as their own for the time being.

Below are some interviews I conducted, along with some photos… I’m not trying to make a statement on the actual event itself, but I know for a fact that sometime soon we’ll see a really good anthropological study done on this group. I’ll also be bringing in 2 copies of the “Occupy Wall Street Journal” during class today. Take a look at them (one in english, the other spanish) either before or after the presentation.

Ed Needham was manning the media/communications table and explained to me the basic philosophy behind the movement, their plans for the future, and the way the park has set up their own community.

Lydia Bell & Drey Demira are two people demonstrating at the park. Drey has been staying on and off for about a week and Lydia had a gigantic American flag that was being sewn back together in the park. (My observation that there was something deeply symbolic of having a group of people quite literally sew the American flag back together was not lost on her)

Here is a short piece featuring several people explaining the jobs they have been doing around the demonstration. It seemed like many just picked up a position where one was needed, but not everybody is chipping in.

October 4, 2011

DIY Ethics & Photography

by stephaniecorleto

Last week’s discussion that covered the ethics of remix culture  reminded me of this conversation going on in the photography community.  In regards to attribution of sampled entities in music and writing, there isn’t a set standard for what is acceptable. When there is recognition outside the community sometimes conflict arises.  What about photography?

Damon Winter’s “A Grunt’s Life

Photojournalist Damon Winter’s photo essay “A Grunt’s Life” documented the daily life of U.S. troops in a war zone with his Iphone Hipstamatic camera. This was featured in the New York Times and was received third prize in Picture of the Year’s annual Feature Picture Story competition.  There are a few issues that can be brought up with this story:

  • The role of a photojournalists is to capture a realistic visual depiction. One can argue that the distortion from the hipstamatic automatically takes Winter’s work out of the realm of photojournalism.  But, some say any visual representation involves distortion.
  • DIY journalism is celebrated all over the news. There are often non-journalistic visual representations (photos and video) taken by people who happen to be at the scene of an event. If this is the case, then how does one differentiate between professional and the novice/hobbiest/anyone with a camera phone?

I would love to hear your opinions!

October 3, 2011

Art Activism in Jersey City’s Powerhouse Arts District

by Edmund Kasubinski

Downtown Jersey City’s “powerhouse arts district” is a section of town that used to be filled with active warehouses and industries and is now becoming a gentrified residential neighborhood.  The original intention of this particular section was affordable studio spaces for artists, as the name suggests.  Inevitably, the neighborhood, which is getting more and more recognition, is becoming the destination for high rise condominiums and storefronts.  Right now there’s pretty much just a cafe and a dog grooming parlor among the artist studios and apartments.  The area still looks like a ghost industry town, except with cars parked on every street.

There is a neighborhood group called the PADNA (Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association) that meets to help keep the neighborhood in control of its inhabitants.

Also there are local artists, who are against the commercial influence coming into the district.  Last weekend, I saw a sort of DIY activist art project at a site that is planned to have a high rise building built.  From what I understand it was originally intended to be a park.  Here’s some photos:








October 3, 2011

Guerilla Crochet

by stephaniecorleto

Last night, Artist Olek covered the Alamo sculpture with her signature crochet. She even posted a video of the late night escapade.

October 3, 2011

say something nice

by noah

For an alternative peek at the possibilities of public theatre I enjoy keeping tabs on New York’s own Improv Everywhere, a diy prank collective which gathers support for their events via online newsblasts and facebook events. To date, they have caused over one-hundred scenes and enriched the lives of thousands. Above is a brief video documenting their project “Say Something Nice” in which they attached a megaphone to a podium fixing the instructional sign [look]. The piece was moved throughout Manhattan, but this video of Union Square so quickly re-purposes a place of transit towards a place of appreciation. Certainly some of the most beautiful moments I could hope to witness in this city. Enjoy!

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 30, 2011

On the Make

by Nick Brewer

This morning I found a great (short) article by Phillip Torrone about the growing popularity of the making culture. I think it really drives home the benefits of making things and venues for education.

“Forget the cliché of a lone hobbyist tinkering away in the garage; modern makers are more likely to work with each other, taking advantage of the sharing and publishing tools offered by the internet.”