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sucked in

July 17, 2008 at 6:28 am

…These past weeks have seen lots of work on the ‘privacy’ print.

Looking back over my notes on Edward Tufte, thinking more about the organization of the whole print, I figured out how I am going to lay it out. There will be an axonometric drawing of a living space on the bottom half of the print (this one will be kind of like a ‘dollhouse view’, we will be looking in from above & be able to see all the rooms and how they are connected). From every place (‘moment’?) where an interesting dynamic between personal and shared space is created, there will be a line leading up or down to a smaller diagram or perspective drawing, plus some text describing how each spatial connection does what it does. This is exciting, since it lets the different doorways and connections exist in a context, related to each other, rather than floating in space — it gives them an added layer of meaning.

[early stage]

This also implies that I need to actually draw a building. This is: “Scary!! (fun?)” as I wrote on my large brainstorming sheet of paper a week ago… The building I’ve been working on is kind of theoretical, since it is only one story, even though any living space of this size (5 bedrooms) in a city (small lot sizes) in New England (cold climate) would almost definitely be a 2-or-more-story building. However, when you have more than one story, it’s relatively straightforward to define private spaces, since the stairs can be used to create the separations between private and public, and even make subtle refinements within those categories… Last week, one of the subscribers told me about figuring out how to use the space in her house: she put her bedroom and office on the second floor, and then created a “guest zone” on the third floor, so that her guests can feel like they have their own special place, and not feel like they are getting in her way or invading her personal space when they visit Providence and stay with her.

So both for graphic purposes, and to deal with the more difficult problem of creating privacy when the whole living space is on the same floor, I’m going with a slightly unrealistic 1-story building.

[later stage — “I broke the drawing”]

… to make it more realistic, though, I am working on making a believable structure and roof plan…


… and because I couldn’t figure out the roof issues to my satisfaction by drawing it on paper, I let myself be persuaded by Andrew to make a model on the computer.

[early in the process…]

This involved me cursing at the screen for a couple of hours while conquering the learning curve on Sketchup, then getting pretty psyched about it (though still frustrated occasionally…)

It’s been an interesting drawing experience, since I haven’t used a computer drafting program since a long time ago in school. Skp doesn’t have a very intuitive interface for moving your point of view around, or moving the model around — I’m using key shortcuts and a mouse, very awkward, so it feels like inventing a new way of moving in space, like learning to walk from scratch. However (or maybe because of this?) I find myself almost physically connected to the building I’m drawing: I’ve found myself craning my neck to look around a corner… it’s very strange.** Sketchup is probably most satisfying when you accidentally jump into the wall of the building itself and things get glitchy… suddenly you are making nice Thom Mayne or Zaha Hadid drawings, congratulations! I’ve been taking lots of screen captures. It’s three days later, now, though, and I still haven’t finished the roof plans. A fruitful distraction.

… in other news, I am moving my sleep schedule back four hours, so that instead of going to sleep at 10 am and waking up at 6 pm, I can go to bed at 6 am and wake up at 1 pm. Tonight I’m a little late… but working towards it. !

* the green cardstock = cutoffs from those wedding invitations I printed a while ago!

** I’ve never experienced Second Life, but I find myself wonder what Sketchup would be like if the interface, for navigating in space at least, was something like the one shown in this slightly weird but fascinating video from the makers of SL…

shoupies & pop pops

July 9, 2008 at 1:50 am

I finally gave in to temptation and bought the multi-multi-pack of many-colored permanent markers from the Big Top Flea Market in Atlantic Mills:

Given that these are from the flea market, they are not actually Sharpies but Shoupies, and they cost me $2. This was not the temptation to own a lot of colorful permanent markers, but the temptation to own a product very carefully crafted in imitation of a really-carefully-branded product. I probably should have left them in their packaging as an art object, but I’m too practical for that, and… there’s a lot more where they came from. (At the flea market, I had the choice of two other non-sharpie ‘brand’ names, written in the same font, both with the same capital S. No photos: I didn’t want to attempt explaining to the friendly Chinese girl working the booth that I am a graphic artist with an arcane interest in fake products, not the undercover trademark police…)

They did a pretty good job. I am always thrilled by seeing off-brand objects that use graphics to imitate the product they are ripping off — (more…)

“pretty happy with”

July 6, 2008 at 2:34 am

This past month I’ve finally been working again on the second print in the print series. At the end of June, I had a tentative layout that I was pretty happy with, incorporating some larger perspective views of different kinds of connections between shared and personal spaces, and also a bunch of little axonometric drawings of more different kinds of passageways and doorways. It seemed like a good solution to displaying lots of options for offering different degrees of privacy within a living space…

However, the use of the words “pretty happy with” is always kind of a bad sign, stuff tends to ring hollow after a little bit if it can be described that way…


[another, earlier, version. note: AGP with sprained wrist/robot arm. ]

The original phrasing of the second pattern, from my print series proposal (December 2006), is this:

Private spaces should be delineated by subtle yet effective boundaries, so that individuals can be alone without closing themselves off entirely.

This is still what the poster is about, but I’ve realized that it has to not only deal with the boundaries, but has to involve their context, to also show the organization of the space in which the boundaries exist.


copy & paste

July 1, 2008 at 1:33 pm

… I spent a day & moved everything on the main secretdoor site around into different folders, cleaning up the root, with the main aim of organizing the posters and prints by year.

This involved finally learning how to use relative URLs, setting up MAMP on my computer so I could view the site locally, figuring out how to use it right, and a lot of redirecting links and image file paths. Nothing too complicated, but it took some time. It only makes a tiny difference to anybody looking at the site, but is significant for my own “knowing that things are organized” inner-calm, and also is crucial in getting ready for a bunch of new documentation that hopefully should go up soon — at the beginning of June I handed off 50+ prints and other smaller things that hadn’t yet been photographed to Scott Lapham, so I’m hoping to put up many fresh images, of work new and old (going back to 2001!), very soon.

Also there may still be broken links that I overlooked… if you come across anything of that nature, please let me know!

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