Monday, November 29, 2010

Dress Design Inspirations

Though machines and technology suggest advancement in speed and efficiency, humans still remain visually active. It may be convenient for a machine to work so diligently, but if the appearance is distasteful, interest, attention, and even usability are lost. Especially designs for human-computer interaction should cater to human taste and visual attractiveness since they intend to stay in close contact with humans. 

Bubble Pop Electric is a functional suit; however, it is also an outfit designed for audience to see and enjoy. While focusing on technological design and functionality, apparel design also stands as a critical component. The suit's design concept contains adjectives such as shear, light, bubbly, transparent, and luminous; the skirt that is attached to the functional suit should also reflect the descriptions. 

Tara Donovan creates beautiful art works with repeated taping and stacking of stationaries. The below pictures depict the group's inspirations for a skirt with recurring patterns and bubbly lightness. 

To create a skirt with dimensional and repetitive elements, I played different types of materials: aluminum tape, sparkly paper, etc and ended up finding reflective papers used to create Christmas ribbons. The below picture shows the prototype of the skirt/decoration made up of layers of tear-drop shaped paper strips. The challenges for the skirt include skillfully manipulating the paper to complement the shape of the body while accentuating the nature of our very bubbly and light suit. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Evocative Objects

Personal Essay
College increased my appreciation for family. The longer I attended school, the more I valued the time I could spend with my family during the breaks. I longed to find a memory piece that would remind me of them and help me feel connected and secure. During the summer after my first year at Wellesley, my mom gave me one of her rings. It served as a tangible memory of my family, especially of my mother. The ring was bought and given to my mother by her mother who was preparing jewelry for one of her sons’ wedding. It is Korean tradition for the in laws on the husband’s side to prepare gifts for the bride. My mother who tagged along for the shopping luckily was rewarded with a beautiful ring.

The ring bears great meaning beyond that of a newly defined heirloom. With the ring comes my mother’s youthful memory, of times that she herself was my age. The ring wraps around my finger and elicits imagination of times that are personal to one of my family. It is a privilege to be assigned the task to remember and vicariously envision my mother’s memory. It is also a reminder of the time that has been passed on to me and will pass on to the next generation.

The ring’s rather unconventional design, with two ends of a gold piece never coming to full circle but ending in two opposite directions, transcends convention. It is a unique construction that overcomes traditionalism and still maintains to be beautiful. Also, due to its structural orientation, the ring's size easily adapts to its new owner. The attitude depicts not only my grandmother's unique and exceptional taste, it represents the openness for creativity, acceptance, and adaptability. The ring empowers me to be bold, different, and confident about myself, and every time I look at it, it inspires me to be creative and exceptional in whatever I do.
After generations, the ring's value is independent of the original monetary price but increasingly dependent on the memory and empowerment accumulated through the experience. I am really thankful for the comfort and strength I receive from this special object, and I am always excited about the new memories it will take on.

Designer Statement

Ideas often come from collaboration. My object is designed to depict this very belief and prove the power in cooperation. The object by itself is an awkward and undefined piece of two dimensional shape. However, when it is multiplied and matched against each other, it creates a pattern that expands into a holistic, brand new identity. The new creation is an inspiration and encouragement for thinkers to always be open to the surrounding space. By molding an idea to complement and adapt to another, one gains the possibility to create something with far greater conceptual and social advantage. And the puzzle never ends. The borders will always be open to more additions and growth and seek to become greater and more united. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bubble Pop Electric P2 Documentation

Materials were of greatest importance in beginning the prototype. We purchased clear plastic Christmas ornaments to represent the bubbles and silver fabric for the bodysuit. After tracing the pattern, we proceeded to assemble the suit with liquid stitch. 

Though the Christmas ornament appeared a lot like bubble, it concerned us that the clarity overly exposed the LED embedded in the bubble. So we experimented with different ways to alter the opacity of the bubble's surface. Above is a picture of the process I went  through to the coat the bubble with layers of spray paint. 

Alex programmed the pico block and the pic logochip (with bluetooth) so that the music's volume and LED's intensity would vary according to changing degrees of the potentiometer. Also, she added a slider that controlled the rate of the music.

Using the laser cutter, we created a plastic base for the bubble. The finished bubble was sewed on the bodysuit.

In the making, I invested my time on assembling the bodysuit and the bubble.Coating the bubble with layers of spray paint required a lot of practice and experience. The curves made it difficult to evenly spread the paint, and we were concerned that the opaque surface would make the bubble look more like a pearl and take away the airy and light effect of bubbles. Also, after stitching the suit, we realized that the suit's current surface area may not be large enough to accommodate the number of bubbles we wanted to attach. Therefore, bodysuit shape is to be reconsidered.

After the presentation in class, the group was left with many more questions and issues to discuss. First of all, the flat plastic surface of the bubble was too bulky and heavy on the suit. We discussed getting rid of the plastic ornament and replacing it with wires wrapped with thick vinyl. The wires stemming from the potentiometer and the LED were also possible concerns if we were to have more than bubble across the bodysuit. 

We also had to reevaluate the slider's purpose. Though the effect was musically interesting, we needed more control (if it were to read the body movement) and a comprehensive point to having bodily movement affect the sound.

In the future, the bubbles should be designed to be lighter with clearly assigned roles and entities. Also, the LED panel would require many more discussions especially in terms of LED coordinates and sequence.