Tag Archives: interactive

My Very Eccentric Mom Joyfully Sells Unique Ninjas at PS163Q

In 2013, artist Nanna Debois Buhl received a commission through the Public Art for Public Schools program to create a work of art for a new addition to a high school in Flushing, Queens. Nanna and her consultant, Nathalie Pozzi, reached out to New Project for assistance with the fabrication of the sculptural installation.

After visiting the school, Nanna created a proposal for a model of our solar system combined with a collection of mnemonic phrases written by students from the school. Both components were to be made out of steel with a bright, red, glossy, powder coated finish.

New Project worked with the artist, her consultant, the NYC School Construction Authority, engineers, and the general contractors to ensure the work would be fabricated and installed as the artist envisioned as the school addition was being built.

We spoke to Nanna about The Planets, her new installation at PS 163Q in Flushing, NY.

NP: How did this project come about? When did it start?

NDB: The project began in spring of 2013, when I was invited to participate in a competition for a public commission for PS163Q initiated by the NYC Department of Education, NYC School Construction Authority, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program.

I made a site visit to get an understanding of the school, its profile, and its architecture. My proposal was an installation for the school’s lobby consisting of a model of the solar system and a collection of phrases, written by students from the school, for remembering the order of the planets in the solar system (planetary mnemonics).

Over the last three years, the work has been developed in collaboration with New Project (fabrication), Nathalie Pozzi (artist’s consultant) and Anni’s (graphic design).

Have you done other public commissions or works in schools?

Yes, Journey to the End of the Night (2010) is a public commission I have made for a high school in Denmark. It covers the four walls of the school’s canteen. Cut out on wooden wall panels, the motif is a map of the position of the stars over the high school on the opening day in 2010. The star formations are accompanied with titles, which are places – from literature, film, music, art, philosophy, and science; works that the students may encounter during their time at the school.

My public commission Atlas of Anatomy (2013) is created for an educational institution in Denmark that houses nursing, teaching, physiotherapy, social education, and social work programs. Silkscreened on 3,000 square feet of inner glass walls, the work consists of 15 photographs of body parts of people in different ages and a cut-up text composed of 133 medical, philosophical, and literary quotes about the body. Many of the quotes were culled from the library of the institution whose educational programs, to a large degree, deal with various aspects of the human body. I think of the commission as an abstract interpretation of the historical anatomical reference book, a journey through a collective body composed of many bodies and voices.

You mentioned that these mnemonic texts (acronyms which take the initial letter of each list item to create a memorable phrase) were created by the students. How did you get them to participate?

I was in dialog with the (now former) principal who gathered a group of students who were interested in participating. I gave them the guidelines for constructing the sentences which they then wrote.

Were you surprised by the responses you received? Do you have any favorites?

It was so exciting receiving the texts from the students. I love the fact that they have used language that I would never have come up with: Nutella Sandwiches and Ninjas, and names such as Mei and Ming – representative of the demographics of the school, which has many Mandarin speaking students.

What other surprises did you encounter in the design process?

The typographic aspect of the work was developed in collaboration with Denmark-based graphic designer Anni’s. We decided to work with the format of the writing exercise book and to think of the two walls where the texts are placed as pages in an open book. The letters of the mnemonics were placed on lines alluding to the exercise book format (and making the installation process more simple). At the end of the last text block there are some empty lines – a built in invitation to continue constructing new sentences. The work combines a scientific model (the solar system) and the imaginative universes of the children (the texts). I think of the model as a motor in a machine that can continue producing texts. And I see the students’ texts as a kind of conceptual poetry (constraint-based writing).

The work invites students to interact with it, to come up with their own mnemonics. Does all of your work entail collaboration or a back and forth of sorts?

Conversations (that be with experts in a given field, an art work, or, as here, a group of students) are always an important part of my working process. In the three public commissions I have made for educational institutions, I have invited people to contribute with textual material: For Atlas of Anatomy I made a “call for quotes” and for Journey to the End of the Night a lot of people helped me gather titles. I think of these works as cacophonic and therefore I also like the working process to have a collective aspect.

A big difference between an art work in a white cube setting and in a public commission is that the audience of the latter lives with the work for a long period of time. I, therefore, like to include an element in the public commissions that can unfold or be discovered over time (such as The Planets built in invitation to make up new sentences).

What was the most interesting aspect of working on this project?

Involving the students and receiving their texts. Developing a work for this specific context taking the educational setting and the audience (students and teachers) into account. And seeing the work transform from a 3D model to an actual physical work. After 3 years of preparation and fabrication it was stunning to enter the school lobby last week and see the work installed, finally.

What’s next?

My next project, I Imagined That Things Were Speaking, is a solo show at MSU Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb opening in October 2016. It will consist of a show inside the museum and a large projection on the façade of the museum building. All the exhibited works are photographic “readings” of various cityscapes through objects, plants, animals, and architectural components. The exhibition will thus both address a bypassing audience in the street and a museum audience. I am currently thinking a lot about composing the exhibition, so that it can speak to these different viewers with their different attention spans.

To see more of Nanna’s work, visit her website.

the-planets_text
Mnemonic text cut by our CNC machine

Steel planets orbiting in the shop
The planets in the shop before they begin their orbit

the-planets_arms
The arms are inspected after welding

Beautiful powder coating!
Planets post powder coating

Artist Nanna Debois Buhl watches as the work is installed
Artist Nanna Debois Buhl watches as the work is installed

Installation in process
In the beginning, there was only Neptune

Lobby view
View of The Planets from the lobby entrance

 

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NYCxDESIGN

NYCxDESIGN Returns May 3 – 17, 2016

The New York City area is home to more than 44,000 practicing designers—a number greater than any other metro area in the US and almost as many as Chicago and LA combined—according to New York City Economic Development Corporation President Maria Torres-Spring. NYCxDESIGN, which takes place May 3 – 17, 2016, is New York City’s official citywide celebration of design.  The annual event, now in its fourth year, features more than 500 events at locations throughout the five boroughs and incorporates 17 different design disciplines including architecture, product design, design thinking, and urban design. From talks with starchitects to design showroom tours to consumer-friendly fairs featuring wares by up and coming designers, NYCxDESIGN offers something for everyone. NewProject is proud to be part of this dynamic, creative community, supporting many of the designers, architects, and artists who will be presenting their work at NYCxDESIGN. We hope to see you at some of these great events. Here are a few of our picks:

Design Noir
Design Noir
May 7 – 20, 2016
7:00 pm – 12:00 am
at Brooklyn Arts Fellowship

Design Noir is a showcase exhibiting new works by Black and Latino designers. Curated by Dave Jones, the exhibit will be free and open to the public with many of the works for sale.

BklynDesigns
Bklyn Designs
May 6 – 8, 2016
Varying hours
at Brooklyn Expo

Founded 13 years ago by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Bklyn Designs is the borough’s premier design event shining a spotlight on the many talented designers, architects, artists, and artists who reside here. The event features exhibitions, products (shop local!), installations, hands-on demos, a conference program, pop up lounges, as well as food and drinks from Brooklyn’s finest.  $15 for general public, free to the trade.

NYC Design Talks
NYC Design Talks
May 5 – 14, 2016
4:00 – 8:00 pm
at The Cooper Union, Parsons School for Design at The New School, and Fashion Institute of Technology

This robust program includes discussions about design for social impact, the future of fashion employment, cognitive computing, and an evening with Rafael Vinoly and Michael Shvo moderated by Paul Goldberger. Interested in learning about the Hudson Yards project? DDC’s design and construction excellence program? How artists and developers are planning together in Staten Island? Then check out these free talks!

 

For the full calendar of events, visit www.nycxdesign.com.

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New Project birdhouse

MAKE YOUR OWN BIRDHOUSE

New Project gives back to the community and this child-friendly project was just one example. Putting our CNC machine to good use, we created these snap-together birdhouses for a class project to help kids learn sequencing tasks. New Project designed the birdhouses using Rhino and cut the pieces out of a single sheet of MDO plywood using our CNC machine. We then bagged together easy-to-assemble kits for the 1st grade class at PS-10 in Brooklyn. New Project Co-Founder and CEO Dennis Potami visited the class to explain and lead the project. Each child assembled the pieces without nails or glue and then took home the birdhouse they proudly made in class. We really enjoyed developing this fun project that hopefully inspired a new generation of thinkers and builders!

New Project birdhouse
Tim designs the birdhouse in Rhino

New Project birdhouse
The birdhouse kits and assembled sample

New Project birdhouse
Dennis explains the project to the first grade class

New Project birdhouse
Dennis demonstrates the birdhouse assembly

Version 2

The finished product and the happy builders

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Robot Swarm

The Robots Are Coming- Robot Swarm at MoMath

Robot Swarm at the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath)


 

The Swarm Is Coming: Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) 

The Swarm Is Coming: Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), NYC

 

Robot Swarm is a full-body interactive experience that is based on a hot-topic in the robotics world right now: the mathematics of emergent behavior. Visitors to the Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) will have the opportunity to step into the ring and come foot-to-face with a colony of horseshoe-crab-shaped creatures who will monitor your movement and react based on a series of behavioral commands. Sound fun? IT IS!

The museum is calling Robot Swarm The nation’s most technologically ambitious robotics exhibit ever. Controlled by a touch-screen panel on the outer-edge of the exhibit, visitors choose from five different scenarios (including On Your Marks, Run Away, Swarm, Pursue and Robophobia) which will then provide a set of rules to the robot colony below. Not only will the robots take into account the visitor’s location in order to perform these rules, but they will also use the locations of their neighboring inhabitants to execute their tasks. If you have ever wondered what it felt like to be Godzilla descending upon a city full of fleeing man-made creatures, or have ever had the urge to literally watch lines of computer code come to life before your eyes, then Robot Swarm will certainly not disappoint.

New Project has been fortunate enough to work with MoMath on a number of projects since its inception. Since then, we have served as one of the museum’s primary fabrication and installation companies. Last year, alongside Tim Nissen-MoMath’s Chief of Design, Three Byte Intermedia-a local technology consulting firm, and Knowledge Resources of Basel, Switzerland, we began working on the fabrication and installation of MoMath’s newest interactive exhibit Robot Swarm which will open to the public on Sunday, December 14th.

Beneath your feet, the robots, equipped with unique personalities and characteristics, will react to your every step based on the rules provided to them. Quite frankly, Three-Byte Intermedia and Knowledge Resources have blown our minds with their creations. Stay tuned to our blog when we sit down and chat with Chris Keitel, Principal at Three-Byte Intermedia about the project.

We’ve helped MoMath realize an exhibit that had been on their minds since the museum was first built. New Project helped bring their clean, industrial looking structure to reality to serve as the largest robotic home for coolest colony of robots. The display consists of a pressurized structural steel and glass contained frame that creates the robots playground and their docking and service stations. The overall structure suggests a boxing ring. Once in the ring you’ll be captivated by the uncanny movement of the robots triggering your instinctual desire to either fight or flee. The framing structure sits atop a wood chassis which was all built here at our shop in Brooklyn and then relocated and permanently installed on the lower level of the museum.

 

From left: Tim Nissen- Chief of Design, MoMath, Glen Whitney, Executive Director MoMath, Chris Keitel- Pincipal, Three-Byte Intermedia, and Cindy Lawrence- Co-Executive Director, MoMath.

From left: Tim Nissen- Chief of Design, MoMath, Mike Stengle- Knowledge Resources Group, Glen Whitney, Executive Director MoMath, Chris Keitel- Principal, Three-Byte Intermedia, and Cindy Lawrence- Co-Executive Director, MoMath.

 

Terry working on the wood chassis in our Brooklyn shop

Terry working on the wood chassis in our Brooklyn shop.

 

Brett, our metal fabricator, mounting the custom made ADA compliant handrail.

Brett, our metal fabricator, mounting the custom made ADA compliant handrail.

The swarm of robots are sealed beneath glass so that they and all of their delicate components are protected from visitors and other harmful materials. We had to make sure that the entire structure was built like a reverse vacuum, pushing out all dirt and dust from the museum.

 

Ensuring the vents are clear and the access points are working on site, prior to installing the glass

Frank ensuring the vents are clear and the access points are working on-site, prior to installing the glass floor

 

Perhaps the biggest challenge we faced while installing the exhibit was the lowering and the placement of two large glass panels each weighing in at almost 2,000 lbs. The panels, which would later become the floor of the exhibit, were placed into a storage area at the time of the museum’s construction, as the glass would be too large to be able to fit down the stairwell once the stairs were built. Basically, that gave us one shot to get it right. If they broke, there was no way to replace them.

No pressure guys no pressure.

 

Terry and James carefully maneuvering he glass panels out from storage

Terry and James carefully maneuvering the glass panels out from the museum’s storage.

 

Jody positioning and securing the gantry in order to hoist the glass out of the crates and safely onto the moving dolly.

Jody positioning and securing the gantry in order to hoist the glass out of the crates and safely onto the moving dolly.

 

Dennis, CEO, overseeing the placement of the glass floor

Dennis, CEO of New Project (kneeling), overseeing the placement of the glass floor onto the moving dolly.

 

Luckily, our installation team is amazing and, using custom-made dollies, and gantry that barely fit, and a set of carefully-placed car jacks, the glass panels were lowered into place over a two-night installation without a hitch. As you would expect, Terry was pretty stoked about it.

 

Terry being pretty stoked about it.

Terry celebrating after the first panel was successfully put into place.

 

Once Robot Swarm is open to the public we’ll post videos and photos of the exhibit in use, stay tuned! To experience our creation first-hand, check out Robot Swarm at MoMath, located at 11 East 26th Street in Manhattan. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

New project team putting on the finishing touches.

Part of New Project’s installation team putting on the finishing touches before the exhibit is open to the public.

think and build

 

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