2017 - Kite Materials: Plastic straw, String, Cellophane, Wooden Dowels. Air Quality Monitoring System: Arduino Radio Transceiver Feather, CO2 Gas Sensor, Particulate Matter Sensor, Temp & Humidity Sensor, Arduino Mega, Radio Receiver, Character LCD. Written in C.
The concept of this prototype is heavily inspired by El Puente's (Latino Community & Cultural center in Los Sures Williamsburg, BK) urban environmental justice initiatives that advocate for cleaner air in their community through education, environmental testing, empowerment, and strategic planning with the city.
In solidarity with El Puente and in order to bring awareness into the arts & broader BK community I have built “proof of concept” tetrahedral kite that hosts a DIY air quality monitoring system that measures dust particulates & carbon monoxide - both very harmful in high concentrations, as well as temperature & humidity meta data. The kite hosts the air quality monitoring system powered via battery. The collected data is sent via radio from the sky down to the computer on the ground.
During my limited amount of time working along side El Puente I have learned and observed alot about their history of struggle, adaptation, and resistance. Los Sures has faced continuous marginalization throughout it's existence - construction of the BQE that passes directly through causing heavy pollution and dividing the community without consent, increased lack of affordable housing, closing of many local businesses, increased policing / surveillance etc to name a few. Even with all this in mind Los Sures has adapted and continued to resist by educating their kids, preserving their historical & cultural narratives through dance, events, art, as well as advocating urban environmentalism in the community as a human rights public health issue.
Working along side El Puente I have really began to think differently about public vs private space. Public space, air, and earth are especially important in densely populated urban environments like Los Sures because it is used by everyone all the time (if it is truly accessible, if it is truly 'public') - these public spaces create and foster community and conversation and collective agency. Limiting who can use the public space (behavior policing), marketing the space to those with social or economic capital (gentrification), polluting certain public spaces who have less power (political influence or money) while turning a blind eye (common in black & brown communities), making it illegal for people to take environmental data in public spaces, are all forms of marginalization and are a public health & justice issue.
This is why I built a kite - it is an incognito way of taking environmental data. It is user friendly, cheap, and playful, a child could use it to take data measurements of the air that surrounds them and their own community - thus taking back their communities public space through education, documentation, and accessibility of knowledge. This is power and resistance. I hope we can fly the next version of the kite and measure air quality in Los Sures sometime in the near future.
This project was created during my 6 week residency at TriTryAgain Maker Art Space in Ridgewood Queens, and was presented at our opening.
Leading various workshops around the NYC area surrounding Digital Literacy and Multimedia Art. Past collaborators have been Biobus, Queensbridge Tech Lab, El Puente Community Center and other informal community spaces. Workshops range from sewing with LED’s, 3D printing jewelry, to designing an album cover with Photoshop - these depend on the interest and needs of the community.
Through my work in education, community outreach, and my own lived experience - I know the value of access. True access extends beyond expensive tools. Facilitation of access must be detached from elitism, a space where one can freely forge their own distinct, culturally expressive path within technology. In order to make technology culturally and intellectually engaging, it should be taught and communicated with a focus on innate curiosity, self-expression, and community-driven projects, that are tangible and speak to a diversity of experiences. To this end, my work and pedagogy is rooted in creating access. Everyday I strive to question the barriers of entry (physical and digital), esoteric language, and lack of empathy that limit the potential of an equitable and community based Technology culture.
2018 - Arduino Micro controller, Plants, Speakers, Solar Panels.
!WEPA! is an annual Street Festival in Los Sures, now called Williamsburg, hosted by El Puente Community Center. I set up a booth with three traditionally medicinal plants that trigger analog sound when touched, as well as a home-made microscope to look at the same plants up close. By working with familiar and culturally significant objects and leaving all the mechanisms exposed, technology becomes more approachable. People noticed that each plant produces a different frequency due to its water content and differing biological properties. The interactive was powered by solar panels.
In December was asked by Riseboro Brooklyn to create a fun and educational interactive to share at the local Bushwick Farmers Market.
2015 - Each plant is wired to a microprocessor [Arduino Mega] that sends and receives a signal. When a plant is touched the capacitance increases, delaying the signal that it reads. The plant acts as a conductor. Once the microprocessor reads a delayed signal, it triggers a sound [Pure Data]. The simulated sun rays are mapped video projections [Processing] . The video footage was taken at Golden Gate Bridge Park, and much of the sound was recorded in a forest in Richmond, IN. (The Pure Data sound patch as well as a video of the working prototype are shown below).
This piece was developed during a residency at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts in San Francisco, CA and was showcased in 2015 at their theater.