Rachel Rosenson

Break out of your routine to dance, smile, and get weird. 

 

 We created an interactive sound installation outside of the Powel Plaza train station in San Francisco. It's a beautiful terraced plaza that is often ignored as commuters rushing to and from the train and tourists waiting for trolleys. We wanted to bring people out of their habitual rushing to remind them to explore the city, look around and enjoy. 

 

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Make you look.

Paper prototypes are a method of discovery and asking questions. Explorations varied from site specific questions, to larger questions about behavior change in public space. Questions we explored were:

- How much effort before you pass it up?

- What makes a path inviting as opposed to warning?

- What pulls you in?

- How big does a square have to be to feel like it can be stomped on without breaking?

- How can you get a person to touch public things?


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Make it work.

We tinkered and prototyped a way to create a public dance floor.

From physical spacing and layout, to solidifying a reliable method of installing the electrical connections. Copper taped based connection kept it stuck to the ground, and cheap for the wallet.


Make it sing.

My leading role on the team was computer engineering. This was a challenge of working with Processing, Arduino, and the Minim Sound Library. My first step is always to write out the code fundamentals in sentences to understand the logic. That mostly means a lot of Evernote files like this.


Make a lot, and make 'em cheap.

We hand-made 45 15" x 17" pressure sensors. We explored the most reliable connections, but also the cheapest possible materials for our limited budget. 

The pressure sensor works by creating a signal every time the 2 conductive pieces touch. Tin foil is conductive and the mesh keeps them slightly apart. Stepping on the panel, the pressure of your body weight brings the tinfoil together through the hole in the mesh. Shelf liner was used to waterproof the tile and keep the tinfoil from ripping when it contacted the ground. 


Make some noise.

The installation had 5 genres.

  • Fog - Inspired by the iconic San Francisco fog

  • Synth - DJ techno experience reverberating within the space

  • Stomp - Smashing garbage cans and breaking flass to encourage literal stomping and jumping

  • Fuck - 80's disco encourages dance across all ages

  • Rapper Taglines - Words rappers yell out to appeal to a younger demographics


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Make an Experience

The final installation included 1 rain delay, 14 wet wipe packets to scrub the floor of a public train station by hand, 2 dead laptops, 85 last minute lines of code under a train stairwell, 24 donuts for bribing security guards, and 8 hours of copper tape installation. Not only were we able to bring our dream project into reality, but we then watched parents play with their children, businessmen put down their briefcases to dance, and high schoolers get shamelessly goofy. This entire process reinforced that I am a designer because I love the magic of designing experiences.


FAQ

ROLE

Software Engineer + Sound Design

TEAM

Lana Choi + Gina Knox

LENGTH

7 weeks


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Graphic design is dead.

This piece was a product of my time as a design residency at the experiential graphic design studio, Trapped in Suburbia. The Sound Poster series is a compilation of A4 posters that challenge the future of graphic design. How can graphic design evolve as a craft in the age of technology, without morphing into just UI design?

This experience highlights the emotional resonance of materiality-- particularly our connection to paper. For further details, view the project here

 

FAQ

COMMISSIONED BY Trapped in Suburbia, The Hague, Netherlands

LENGTH 4 weeks

ROLE This piece was an individual work

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Clothes are an extension of self. Garments are a living entity. 


How can we experience the body?

Werm is an organism living on the body. Questioning whether the garment is alive or not creates a pause to question what living is. By wearing a body of motion on the outside, the wearer considers the motion of a body from the inside.

Inspired by nature, I want to find organic motion with technology.


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What makes a product organic?

I started playing with fabric to see how I could create a worm dress. I had learned to sew as a Girl Scout in elementary school, but had not had much garment structure exposure since. Initially, I was trying to mimic the rings of a worms body.

However, rings on a worm quickly became harshly geometric and did not convey the same beautiful organic motion.


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What's the relationship between body and material?

Pinning and draping fabric brought me to a more germ or amoeba like silhouette that felt more natural. It was important for me to preserve the sheerness of the fabric to create areas where the skin peeked through, further alluding to the discrepancy between body and fabric. Integration involved adhering motors to the leotard while hiding and connecting them to ripples of chiffon.


Materials List

4 micro servo motors

1 Arduino Flora

3.7v battery

11 yards of nude chiffon

1 Spanx Leotard, and clear fishing line


What's happening?

The result is a garment that appear to breathe as the swirls of fabric expand and contract. When walking, onlookers question if the dress is moving or if it is the wind. This is an intended effect. Every time someone stops to question and think about what a dress or technology can be, I deem the project a success

 

FAQ

TASK

Personal curiosity

 

ROLE

All work is my own

LENGTH

7 weeks


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