Forty Four Sunsets


One of the amazing things about the building at 240 Central Park South is its history, and throughout our focus groups and research of the building and its inhabitants we’ve been reminded of this. One bit in particular stood out to a few of us, author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry lived in the building and wrote a portion of the best selling children’s story The Little Prince while living there.


As a group, Sheiva Rezvani, Luis Daniel and I were fixated on this point and the beautifully illustrated stories of Saint-Exupéry. We each read the book again and we decided to try to recreate the experience narrated by the prince of watching sunset on his little planet whenever he felt sad.

A cursory search of webcams online led us to a wonderful website The Eternal Sunset where you can watch sunsets on a series of curated webcams around the world. We utilized this set of webcams as well as others we found from EarthCam and coded everything into a Processing Sketch (github) that would cycle through the sunsets, analyze the sky image and decide if the sky was light enough for a sunset or if the sun had already set and then transition on to the next.

We also had heard from the residents during our focus groups that noise was a ever obtrusive element in their lives at 240CPS. We decided to weave a little noise into the picturesque Sunsets to transform the piece from a simple screensaver-ish piece into more of a visualization of the peace of mind of the residents as well as a reminder of the colorful history of the building.

At first we tried to inject noise through a physical interface by stripping the electric magnetic shielding and then warping the signal along the VGA cable. You can see our experiments below.


SensitiveBuildings-3 SensitiveBuildings-7 SensitiveBuildings-6


Glitching a Video Signal from Luis Daniel on Vimeo.

Ultimately we decided to concentrate on keeping the noise software-based. Utilizing the sound data feed that Michael Uzzi and Alex Olivier built for their group project Hive240, we added a few lines of code into our sketch to create noise that would fade in and out based on how loud the data stream indicated it was outside.


Salaat Bento Box: Part 3

So I’ve started prototyping the prayer mat, and I’ll be working on prototyping the actual kit later today with the help of some fantastic CNC geniuses here at ITP.

Further research and conversation with fellow Muslim designers has led to the discovery of Prayer Travel Mats:

There are several problems with these that I hope my design’s will rectify. One is that the extremely lightweight material means that it blows away easily and is actually very unpleasant outdoors without weights like stones to hold it down. The other problem is that the thinness of the material makes it unpleasant to use for the prostrating prayer.

To rectify these problems I propose using magnets to both offer weight and interactivity to the prayer mats, allowing the mats to link to each other for group prayers and to allow for quick and easy folding. I’ve begun prototyping this using paper and small magnets. I’ll also use felt pads to offer cushion for the knees, ankles and forehead, also adding to the weight to keep it from blowing away. But I’ll position these in such a way to take advantage of the thinness of the nylon while allowing the proper support for a prostrating supplicant.

So there are two ways of sub-diving a standard sized prayer mat (2.5′ x 4′), one is a 3×3 grid and the other is a 6×6 grid. I tend to believe that you can fold the mat as tight as 3×3, but with the felt it’ll become too difficult so I’ll be sticking with a 6×6 grid:

I’ll begin prototyping the actual case for the kit on Friday with a CNC cut foam version of the bento box I imagined and a neoprene case as well.