Currently viewing the category: "Life"

Almost a year ago, I joined a makerspace called NYC Resistor. Aside from being populated with amazing people who are working on crazy projects (here, here, here, and here, for example), it’s given me access to new technologies, new directions, and new skills I never knew I had.

The result is a bunch of new work that has kinetic and robotic elements. I’m building robots!  I’m cutting things with lasers! And these new tools are proving very useful for interacting with “old” technologies like mapping, handwriting, and frame-carving.


unnamed (4)

A newer piece with a laser-cut wood frame.

The best part, though, is having new tools to work on older ideas. For years, I’ve been working on landscape drawings in pencil and pen that had photographic or mechanically reproduced elements in them. Most of the time, xerox or inkjet transfer was the best method of having that mechanical detail built into the piece, but I always pined for a slightly more integrated and refined method.  Well now I have it! A drawing machine that uses the same pen or pencil that I do:

unnamed (1)

A robot drawing machine that uses pencils and pens to help make my landscape drawings and maps!


The robot in action.

And here’s a link to the machine doing it’s first drawing.


Some things I know:

  • When people in Bombay say “it’s gotten cold”, this corresponds to a physical air temperature that is just the slightest bit below what it takes to make me sweat profusely.
  • The sounds of the Adhan from a nearby mosque will always make me feel a shiver of joy and a sense of calm. Here it punctuates my working time.
  • Chai and coffee are not the same thing when you wake up in the morning.  I love the chai, don’t get me wrong, but it is not coffee.
  • There’s a difference between a City and a Village, and it’s not the size of the urban agglomeration.
  • Mapping presents a serious challenge when you continually want to know more and more about a place.  The best way to produce a map is to turn off your brain, note down what you think you know, and don’t question your “accuracy”.

Here’s a nice confluence of my professional/artistic interests and the fun times I have with artistic friends. For the last 3 months or so, Zoe Beloff has been doing a really wonderful project in downtown Manhattan entitled “Days of the Commune“.  Deborah and I have been participating as actors, both because it agrees with our politics, and because I’ve been more and more interested in theater these days (see the 2012 Congress of Curious People for more on that).

Well it turns out that Zoe was not the first producer to bring the Paris Commune to the streets of New York.  In fact, Coney Island’s own Paine’s Fireworks did a monumental rendition of the story of the Commune in 1904 in Coney Island.  Of course.

And I’m sure no expense was spared!