A Bookshelf Update

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Sliding the shelves I milled into the bookshelf I made me realize a crucial mistake, and another mild one.

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First, the shelves were difficult to hammer in with a mallet (not the one I used for the lathe assignment because hardwood on hardwood wouldn’t be good) because the left side of the shelves was assembled upside down, and the distance between the first shelf and second aren’t the identical so it made things crooked. I also did not consider hinges before I CNC’d the whole thing. One visit to Home Depot’s hinge section made me realize that pretty fast. Then there’s the double track mark you can see when looking its back. I wanted to face the back piece the other way so that you would never potentially see this mistake unless you were looking at it from behind. Hasty gluing should be avoided.

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I did not leave myself enough room to install any interior hinges of any kind unfortunately so I’d like to take this a step further and cut off the pocketed area around the body’s front frame so things will look more polished and intentional.

 

4 Axis Maple iPhone Dock

A first go on the 4 axis proved to be a very long one where most of the work is done on the design. Unlike the lathe or even parts of using the big CNC, this machine really does everything pretty much on it’s own with little vacuuming required once start is pressed. None-the-less it’s pretty satisfying to hold a 3D figure of something you made in Vectorworks out of a solid block of hard wood.

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Wireframe view of model.

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Isometric view of back.

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Wireframe isometric view. (Showing a future mistake that will be made.)

 

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Top view.

And so,

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taking a block of maple left over from the turning exercise,

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I measured all the sides with a center finder

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and generally marked where the wood would be cut.

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Drilled a hole with a center hole bit for the lathe end of the 4 axis.

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Placing the wood in the shuck (shank?) (chuck?)

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and tightened the lathe end.

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The 3D model in SRP Player.

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Added tabs to the model after finalizing the Vectorworks file.

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The process beginning – 2.4 hours.

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The Axis.

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Half an hour or so into the process.

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An axis turned once to the right.

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Roughing process.

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Finishing process.

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Finished process.

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Taken off the machine there is clearly no hole going through the wood to allow for a charging cable.

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Left over pieces and cut and un-sanded, un drilled through result.

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Sanded down back view.

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Sanded side view. The cut of the saw made a great design in the wood.

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Since I didn’t have a hole I made my own. But realized using such a thin bit wasn’t a great idea on the drill press. It was bending but didn’t break so I switched to a bigger one and that things a little messy.

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The unfortunate hole on the bottom.

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Back view.

I really appreciate what a rounded bit can do to a piece of wood’s surface. It makes for a smooth effect — at least that’s what I got out of this maple.

Next time I need to remember to make my shapes overlap a bit in my Vectorworks files. I also need to utilize the option of changing the bit mid process so I can achieve not only a beautiful surface and rounded corners, but sharp edges and cut through pieces. Although I made a bit of a sloppy mess of the hole with the wobbly drill press after it all, I certainly learned what I needed to know going into the final now.
………..

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….And while I was at it I brought out my lathe turned honey dipper to cut and sand the ends off while I refined the ends of the dock.

Finals Brainstorm

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Using a block of wood, I’d like to make an USB Charging Edison Lamp with a Catch-All.

Below are some examples of what some of the components would look like:

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Itemized materials list:

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Block of Wood
(Cherry seems like a nice choice)

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Lightbulb Socket

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Edison Bulbs (long and regular) (already purchased)

The difficult part is finding a usb charging port that has a plug for the light socket that is spaced enough so that I can only show the two usb ports (like the second sketch I drew).

I could possibly use something like this:

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Or this:

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Or I could use a hub but that would probably require a lot of wiring space inside of the wood.

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Dimmer Switch (I would make a knob on the small CNC for it)

Depending on how I go about wiring things, and whether or not I’ll have a dimmer there are a few options for power cords:

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I could also just have the dimmer directly on the socket, but then I’m not sure how to wire up the usb cable.

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I could potentially use a simple extension cord if I wanted to use a USB hub mounted on the inside of the box…which makes me now think that I shouldn’t be using a solid piece of wood to make this out of!

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Wooden Mallet

I used an oak dowel and a maple rectangle of wood to make a mallet on the lathe.
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After finding the center of both pieces, I loaded the block to shape into a cylinder first.
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Greatly underestimating the time it would take to bring a rectangle to something manageable.
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My first half an hour I was shocked to have only made a little progress.
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This was the first time I had ever tried turning something that wasn’t already rounded, and it definitely made me reconsider my time management.
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Slowly but surely, things began to take shape.
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After two hours it looked like this:
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Which then turned into a slightly rough version of what I wanted the head to look like.
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After sanding down with a number of different grits, I remembered wanting to make two grooves in the ends of the head.
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I took an even finer sandpaper to the grain to get into the grooves I just made.
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After taking it off the lathe, it was time to make a 1″ hole for the handle. For the first time I learned how to use the drill press, and realized that it’s a bit lopsided unfortunately.
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Making the two 90 degree holes on either side of the 1″ hole I had just made didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
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The hole for the handle wasn’t deep enough, and I had made one of the 90 degree angle holes a little less than 90 degrees on one side so I had to go back and make the handle hole larger to supplement the mistake.
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Although the holes were not positioned precisely, I managed to get deepen the handle hole which helped make up for the misaligned hole on the right.
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I measured the width of the hole for the handle and carefully started to turn the oak into a handle with the proper 1″ diameter at the end.
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After gluing the two parts together it looked pretty good — although the mallet head was a little off center due to the misalignment of the drill press and having to re-drill the hole and a second time.
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Once the glue had dried for about half an hour I applied a shiny coat of tung oil.
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In the morning, I realized the tung oil didn’t take very well and decided to wax the whole thing instead on the lathe.

The Wood Lathe

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What an amazing tool. The lathe was pure fun. My hands were shaking once I finished for some time after turning two dowels. There was certainly a difference between the pine and oak wood. Every time I thought I had something smooth to work with on the pine it ended up looking really jagged along the grain. And it didn’t turn into butter like the oak did once you smoothed and rounded off everything.

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I started under the assumption that I wanted to technically follow the turning chisel layout and found the center of the wood using the center finder.

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Then, I hammered the drive center into the wood, and attached the live center, aligning everything by tightening the bolt on the left end of the lathe.

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Once everything seemed sturdy I attached the tool rest approximately to the middle of the material and in pretty close proximity.

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Because I assumed following the diagram would be the best way to start, I marked the parts I needed to lathe accordingly…

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only to quickly notice I wanted to experiment with shapes and see what happened. I liked the outcome. It sort of reminds me of a huge honey dipper.

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After using two grades of sandpaper, 400 and 220, I had a pretty smooth piece of lathed wood — and I was ready to see what oak felt like.

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Muscle memory helped me quickly place a new piece of dowel.

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And after about 25 minutes, I had something interesting I liked to use for a handle.

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The two pieces, unfinished, but taken off the lathe and ready to be varnished.

Final Ideas

1. Building upon the idea of something coming from nothing, I’d like to illustrate concepts surrounding the illusion of free speech within the construct of how we digest information online and through other sources today in age. One idea would be to work with the ridiculous idea of “alternative facts” to see how people can literally create illusions of truth, basically something out of nothing.

2. Creating some sort of true mirror that builds upon the illusion of how we think we appear to others – which isn’t really what it seems when you look at a regular mirror. It would be interesting to create an interactive experience that would allow the viewer to see a side how other people perceive them. A different take on the true mirror possibly employing projection mapping.

3. Our memories can lead us to believe that something happened to us in a way in which it actually didn’t. These illusions that we believe based on our false memories can greatly influence the decisions we chose to make in the future. What if we subconsciously lie to ourselves in order to be able to make the decisions that seems more attractive as a way of bartering with ourselves. And who are we without our memories? Can we create different narratives of our lives based on these falsehoods, and what makes these false memories distinguishable from truths? I suppose what I’m getting at is the idea behind false conceptions of truth based in memories and whether that leads to an illusion of truth in our remembrances or just a known falsification we have swallowed so many times, we forget it was a fabrication.

MoMA response

Having grown up in NYC and lived here my whole life, this was not my first visit to MOMA. On our trip we reviewed many exhibits I’ve seen before but never with a guide so that was interesting. That being said, the ones that stand out are some classics that relate to the theme of illusions and nothingness.

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CHICERO

I can’t help but love the absurdity in Cubism and how random objects are tied together through paint to reveal subtleties in relation. Above is Chirico’s The Song of Love, 1914. It is very symbolic of the way people were feeling during WWI. A sense of loss (one glove), the absurdity and uncertainty of the war (the glove is as big as the stone head), the dramatization of the effects of war (the perspective of the street in relation to the objects). And yet, in the background, there is a single little glimpse of a beautiful cloud amidst a gorgeous blue sky that tricks us into comfort and leads us into feeling more insecure as we take in the objects in the foreground. I can’t help but wonder about the title of the piece, The Song of Love. The phrase also tricks us into thinking what we are seeing is merely beautiful and not necessarily tragic. In one moment you can see the joy in the image, but in another you can feel the absurdity, the sadness, and the passion in that dismay. Things don’t make sense in this world Chicero has commented upon and it certainly marks a time during humanity that was uncertain and doomed. Nothingness was certain.

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MAGRITTE

Something feels familiar about this Magritte. Something similar to The Song Of Love.  The perspective of this piece seems almost unnecessary. This assumed couple, heads draped in tightly formed sheets, are kissing so passionately but it is as random as a head of a statue bound to a wall with a glove next to it (I haven’t even mentioned the green ball yet). I could almost see this picture as a New Year’s Eve photo a friend took of his long time, married friends. In someone’s colorful but dull apartment or house. There’s actually nothing spectacular going on if you take away the sheets. It leaves you imagining what’s underneath but the perspective of the room keeps you from obsessing over that. Whatever the viewer assumes about the individuals in this painting are an illusion created by the lack of information we receive about them because of the sheets. And the perspective that almost looks flat and feels a bit off, only makes for an absurd narrative.

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GRIGORIAN

This piece screams nothingness. It’s filthy, and makes me nauseous. It’s as though someone put out their huge cigarette in the middle of a canvas, and left it there for years. It looks like a disease and provokes memories of unease and foggy mistrust. I don’t especially like it and it’s not enjoyable to look at, but I can’t help but wonder how it’s made and what was on Girgorian’s mind when he made it. There’s so much texture it looks like ant’s piled stacks of ash into a city, a colony of clouds. There’s so much emptiness but so much happening all at once. Where you think you see nothing you actually see all these crevasses that looks like earth starved of water but boiling up underneath.  It almost feels like I’m in an airplane, looking straight down at a target, and I’ve just dropped a bomb, and this terrible fog is the aftermath.

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ERNST

A tragic life led to this painful painting. Max Ernst, a WWI veteran, traumatized from the war and the death of his sister, hallucinated intimidating objects in wood grain of his bed post while infected with the measles as a child. A nightingale, a spinning top, an opened wooden fence were among these strange illusions. The title, Two Children are Threatened by a Nightingale suggest Max and his sister, traumatized by a threatening bird, exist in an abstract space together after her death. The objects chosen are strange put together and the perspective. And the physicality introduced by way of the fence, spinning top, and shed bring you into the scene and distract you from questioning the absurdity of the situation. There is nothing that really adheres every object in this scenario. Nothing depends on the other in order to exist. Nothing relies on something else in order to achieve relevance in this portrayal. Yet, everything has an order to it, which could be of my own implementation.

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DALI

My favorite painting at MoMA, Persistance of Memory, was not there when I went but it’s very relevant. Melting clocks on a serene beach with ants eating away at a decaying time piece and a figure loosely resembling a man’s face lying dead on the ground with his tongue coming out of his nose and his eyelash, giant, carving into his cheek bone — it’s unsettling. There’s no location where this painting takes place. Other than a beach landscape with cliffs in the background, you can’t make out what planet you’re on. The water turns into a shelf which drives this point home. It’s some kind of acid fantasy where you’ve lost your ego and you seem to empathetic to exist in the world. Time doesn’t exist and you cease to enter the world of causality. Dali wants us to be confused, but he also wants to show us what it is to be in the human condition. He plays only with the illusions that life give to us — of time, of place, of security. But he shows it and displays it as a nightmare. Something nauseous that we don’t want to admit or talk about.

Einstein’s Dreams

This happens to be one of my favorite books, so I read the entire thing all over again, happily. Alan Lightman takes notes from Einstein’s journals and weaves them into neat little stories about time and human existence. It’s a beautiful way to learn about metaphysical theories through the context of a novel. Each entry begins with a different conceptual concept of the passage of time, some even beginning with the common knowledge of the world ending very soon and so money slowly loses its value but people end up paying for their last drinks anyway.

The idea of time being a sense similar to that of touch, taste, sight, etc. is very interesting to me. Lightman talks about the “time-deaf” in the June 5th entry. This has always enlightened me, as I studied Philosophy during undergrad. He talks about how philosophers sit around at cafe’s, pondering about whether time could exist outside the realms of human perception. I’ve had many of these conversations myself. “Some few people are born without any sense of time. As a concequence, thier sense of place becomes heightened to excruciating degree” (p. 90) I agree, some people do have a better “sense” of time, and we do, in fact, use the terminology “sense of time” which implies the notion of time being something that is inherently felt by the subject. The time deaf can only “tell time” through clear observable changes. I happen to be a person who doesn’t have a good grasp on the passage of time throughout my life. Often, I forget when things happened in time unless there is a clear indicator, an image in my mind’s eye of my surroundings, or even more so, smells that identify that point in time.

At times, the book can be very melancholy. The narrative Lightman creates of lovers missing chances they could have had if only they met one minute later or of loves lost forever in death or an estranged child knocking on the door of his mothers house who does not answer — all hints at Einstein’s notion of separate universes existing all at once but one millisecond of time apart in time. The theory of events happening one after the other but also preceding one another speaks to a world in which free will is an illusion. Actions that occur in time exist in a world where the current event has already happened in another dimension but hasn’t happened yet in another. This is where the idea of a deja vu comes from according to Einstein. It is a glitch in the universe where two events happen at once that we’re supposed to happen either milliseconds before or after in another dimension.

In a way, each entry could represent the way one person feels in their body about time and space. The illusion of time could be different for all of us in the same way we can never truly know if the green I see is the green you see. This novel definitely leaves its reader thinking about the way time is stored in their own body and what it means to exist in a world where people understand time as a reality that exists around but also, possibly, because of them.

A trip through time

Now that I have my MIDI keyboard working with Isadora, I had a good idea for an installation based on the passage of time viewed from an old train. I plan on visiting the Transit Museum in Brooklyn to take a, possibly panoramic, picture of the inside of an old train with the a good view of the windows from inside. Then, using the piano keys, I’d generate different video’s of interesting landscapes and such happening outside the window. Depending on what key you press, a different video will play. With the knobs on the keyboard, I plan on altering sound or certain parts of the videos, live. Using found footage on youtube of old cable car rides through Brooklyn and abandoned subway stations throughout the tri-state area, I’ll make an interactive subway ride traveling through time.

Dreamscape Lockers

(Video courtesy of Carrie Wang)

Using a Pepper’s Ghost Illusion, my team of four created dream inspired installations of ourselves using our locker’s as a space. We started by filming each other doing an activity related to a dream we had using a green screen. I chose to run because I often have nightmares of running away from something or someone.

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 1.06.55 PMAfter deleting the background in After Effects and making it black, I found two images online that corresponded with the dreamscape I wanted to portray.

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To create an illusion of running through a brick wall, I measured out about an inch and keyed myself out in After Effects. I was lucky because the brick wall I created was exactly the right size for the video loop.

I lined my locker with black paper and posted an image of a sign in the middle of a field on the main stage.

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Then I positioned the clear acrylic (used to create the Pepper’s Ghost illusion) on an angle in my locker and put the brick wall in front of it. I quickly learned this wasn’t the right approach!

I needed the brick wall in the background so I rearranged some things and ended up with what you see below:

Eventually, I decided that the best way to view this was not through a tiny peephole but through a blocked out space through black foam board that would allow the viewer to see only the landscape where I was running back and forth on the picture I had printed out.

This was the final version, but I’m a bit unhappy that you weren’t able to see the background image very well. The critics who came to view our installations were also right about the lost use of the door being open as extra space that could have been utilized. Other than that I’m pretty happy about how it turned out!