In early 2014 I was invited by UCLA Extension to design the 2015 winter course catalog cover as part of the school’s ongoing Master Graphic Designer Series. I was incredibly honored to be part of a series which includes many of my personal design idols including Paul Rand, Saul Bass and Milton Glaser. In addition to my print piece, I also designed, developed and built an interactive installation, titled Thirty-five Pixels, which will be on display at the UCLA Extension 1010 Westwood building through the 2015 Winter Quarter.
Low level computing operations have always intrigued me and recently I have been experimenting with AVR chip programming. Much of this experimentation involves bitwise operations and binary data which has inspired both my cover design and the Thirty-five Pixels project.
Using the mantra “Play, Learn, Explore, Connect” I have created a framework which abstracts my experiments into a visual experience. First exploring physical media, such as black and white ping pong balls and CNC controlled devices, I iterated through a variety of concepts and ultimately developed a digital mechanism that can display both simple, dot matrix style data, and complex data and images simultaneously.
The piece incorporates motion detection, image capture and real-time socket communication, so participants anywhere in the world can interact with, control and even be part of the experience. API integration includes Twitter and Instagram feeds as well as custom APIs to pull UCLAx Master Designer Covers and user generated content.
I used a Raspberry Pi B+ and camera module to drive the installation. A custom Python server handles onboard web operations while a Node.JS server handles real-time communication via Socket.io. Data is stored in the cloud via Amazon S3 and users interact with the installation via smartphone and tablet.
Working on this project was a tremendous honor and I am extremely grateful to UCLA Extension for giving me this opportunity.