This week we worked with using the mo-cap suit to capture animation in a recording.  Here is a little video of that session



As you can see in the video we experienced some problems with the linking of the parts of the body in Carl’s case as his orientation was backwards, We resolved it but ran out of time in the lab.  So we  saved an .fbx of the fight scene between Carl and Stay Puft.

I added some simple interactivity to the columns in my level to change the color and intensity of the point lights above the columns.  The idea is a sort of bocce ball court at night.  Here is the what that might look like.



The goal is to make the spheres in the level movable with motion tracking and the feedback would be the lights.  The lights are a stand in for something really cool later like the instantiation of a particle system or something like that.



hedwigThe characters

Hansel Schmidt aka Hedwig Robinson – A “victim” of a botched sex change operation, born in East Germany of a German Mother and an American GI who didn’t stick around, married to American GI Luther then divorced, frontmanwoman of the Angry Inch rock band

Hedwig Schmidt – Hansel’s single mother, East German, Cold and Stern

Sugar Daddy Luther Robinson – American GI, marries Hansel after he convinces him to have a sex change operation and his name to his mother’s name, divorces Hedwig and finds Jesus

Yitzhak – Currently married to Hedwig,  Croatian illegal alien, roadie for the Angry Inch

Tommy Gnosis aka Tommy Speck – Former flame and protege of Hedwig, DnD fan and Jesus Freak, son of an American General Speck and military base commander, performance artist


The world

Hedwig, Yitzhak, The Angry Inch

Set in Belasco Theater on East of Broadway the set of Hurt locker the musical the previous night’s show.  Play bills on the floor, Middle East Ruins as a backdrop, bomb crater with an exploded car in it, pieces of debris floating (hung) in the air

Time progresses normally with some flashbacks to Hedwig’s past as told by Hedwig

Dark humor, playful anger, longing for a missing piece of himself

The social

The play takes place as a play would, in a theater, though the play is more like a confessional for Hedwig to the audience.  Hedwig is angry, bitter, and beneath it all sad that the one’s she loved or thought “complete” her ultimately leave her.

What changes?

The angry itch eventually take on Yitzhak as a front man and move on without Hedwig, like Tommy, and Luther before them.  Hedwig remains unchanged for the most part from the beginning to the end of the play although  his story shows how he changed, from a man to a woman, from Germany to the US, and several relationships. He does play the part of Tommy Gnosis at the ending song.


Three Sentences

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a gender fluid person who wants love.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a person who’s need for connection leads her to drastic and irreversible decisions with her body and her love.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story about a German born gender fluid performer.  Born in a city divided (East Berlin) her need for a connection, another half to make her whole, led Hedwig to make drastic and irreversible decisions with her body in an effort to make that connection.  Hedwig gave it all but one angry inch, for love.



Two scientists fall in love.

Two scientists, a biologist and a computer scientist, try to solve problems in their fields and fall in love in the process.

Elliot, a geeky computer science grad student and Molly, an equally geeky biology grad begin working together to solve problems in their respective fields. What begins as what they both claim is a professional relationship, though they know they are fooling themselves, becomes success both professional and personal.  Traversing the territory of STEM fields and love is a risky experiment.


  • Interior buildings
  • Computer lab
  • Elliot’s Apt. White board/computer
  • Molly’s Apt. Clothes on the floor/laptop
  • Outside the Science Bldg.
  • Bio-Lab
  • Computer Lab
  • Computer Lab

What changes in time?

  • The play moves over the course of a semester. Likely a fall or Winter since he doesn’t want to make her leave for the cold outside.
  • The scenes move in real time.
  • Through a season of a year for a graduate student.
  • The Play freezes up like a computer that needs a reboot

Changes in language or dress?

  • semi professional
  • bedroom i.e. whatever they threw on after sex/pj’s
  • disheveled semi professional


  • Computer fans whirring
  • email send and receive
  • clicking on keys

What changes in the action?

  • The action doesn’t really change, in fact the characters act pretty static through out the play.
  • Although it could be argued that during the sex scene or even after the action accelerates, but otherwise the action is pretty static.
  • What changes are the people.

The people?

  • The people are in pairs
  • Most of their interactions are the same in the pairs i.e. they are generally doing the same thing with each other. Breaking up Lauren and Elliot/Molly and Don, Getting together Molly/Elliot, Molly/Franklin, Nell/Elliot. Breaking up/Getting together Molly/Elliot
  • Analytical discussion of each individual’s perspective usually wrapped in the metaphor for whatever super science-y stuff they are working on, short punctuated speaking with interruptions talking-over and uhs, and umms meant to resemble the way people really talk about relationship stuff. Long diatribes about the characters field of study/research with an underlying metaphor of mate selection.
  • Meant to model most peoples thoughts about the awkwardness and mortality associated with love.

The rules?

  • The rules of the world get broken when the play has a computer type failure.
  • Blue is a theme for the play (represents love?)
  • You should answer your phone/not answer your phone, depending on whether or not you want to be in a relationship with the person calling.
  • Professional impropriety is a given.
  • Old people just don’t understand. (Don)
  • She knows what you mean, even when what you mean is what you mean and even when it isn’t (Girls are smarter than boys emotionally)
  • Suggesting someone is pregnant as a  joke is never funny.



I went back home just before the summer and when I got there I was doing a lot of driving.  I have a couple of RF adapters in my car to plug in my phone and ipod, and I got to thinking.  I have been working with micro controllers this year, and I bet there is a way for me to clean up all of the wires in my truck by using an arduino and bluetooth.  So when I returned to NY, I started looking online for a tutorial that might make it possible to make a bluetooth audio receiver that I could plug into the aux jack in my truck.  It turns out that the way that data is transferred with bluetooth and the memory constraints of arduino, it was not possible.  Undeterred I kept looking for a way to make this happen. Ultimately I came across a surface mount chip called an RN-52, which is a bluetooth digital audio receiver chip.  Sparkfun sells the chip as surface mount and also with a breakout board, and has a tutorial for exactly what I need.

Sparkfun’s tutorial utilizes all of the features of the chip, data in/out, and sound.  I am only interested in utilizing the sound for my device, I can make changes such as volume up and down, track back and forth, etc on my phone which rides in its holder in my car.  I am only interested in getting the audio to stream to a 3.5mm jack so I can plug it into my car stereo receiver.


The parts list for this device is the rn-52 breakout board, and a basic 3.3v breakout board to manage the power.

Here is the schematic and the proposed changes to suit my needs. I will use a arduino pro mini for the serial UART as a substitution for the sparkfun UART.


Here is the way to calibrate the motion capture system at magnet.

  1. Step 1 clean the space. There should be no ir reflective surfaces in the room.
  2. Step 2 open motive on the desktop of the computer.
  3. Step 3 click calibration icon on the top right first of the four buttons
  4. Step 4 Mask all light sources in the room expand masks as needed and save
  5. Step 5 get the wand to “bless the space”
  6. Step 6 get every camera over 10k samples
  7. Step 7 Hide the wand back in its home
  8. Step 8 Click Calculate this will take a minute or so.
  9. Step 9 When you see the prompt exceptional or good hit apply Save project.
  10. Step 10 Set the ground plane. Get the ground square and place the z in the direction of downstage. Click Set Ground Plane
  11. Step 11 Create Rigid bodies, go to the cabinet of wonders and pull the rigid bodies (as many as you need and distribute them throughout the space.  Left click and drag over every rigid body and right click when selected and select rigid body  one by one renaming each prop 1 prop 2 etc..  Save project.


The first assignment was to read two selections, one was EF’s visit to a small planet and the other Empty space by Peter Brook.

The first article I read was Elanor Fuchs article  on how to approach building the world of a play.  It seems to me to be a granular way of approaching standard world building.   When she was discussing visualizing holding the world as a tiny ball. I asked myself is this what Philip K Dick, Joss Whedon, or even Gene Roddenberry did to create the worlds of The man in the High Castle or Firefly or Star Trek.

When you “see” this other world, when you experience its space-­‐time dynamics, its architectonics, then you can figure out the role of language in it.
If too tight a focus on language makes it hard to read plays, too tight a focus on character creates the opposite problem: it makes the reading too

Seeing the fleshed out worlds of a United States if Germany had won the war or if humans were colonizing space and living as if it was the wild west and how these dynamics effect the characters and the decisions they make are thoroughly enjoyable, though I have never enjoyed the creative process of screenwriting myself. It has always seemed really laborious but I do really love it when someone who is good at it does.  For instance, Kenneth Branaugh’s As you like it,  imagining of Shakespeare’s play but set in Feudal Japan and played mostly outdoors.


It is interesting what rules this presentation had imposed on this performance of the play and how it breathed new life into not just that play but Shakespeare itself for me.

Which brings me to Peter Brook’s Empty Space. Brook divides the current state of theater into four categories: Deadly, Rough, Holy, and Immediate.  We were to read about the deadly and the immediate theater.

Peter Brook refers to the Deadly theater as I understand it as a theater that will kill theater itself.  It lacks the passion and fervor that theater has to potential to bring.  Its derivative and out for the cheap entertainment.

Deadly Theatre with dull successes, universally praised. Audiences crave for something in the theater that they can term ‘better’ than life and for this reason are open to confuse culture, or the trappings of culture, with something they do not know, but sense obscurely could exist—so, tragically, in elevating something bad into a success they are only cheating themselves.

An interesting part of Brook’s discussion of Shakespeare is how he talked about the actor’s performance of the language being something remembered.  I had just recently seen this video that discussed how the Globe Theater is doing performances of Shakespeare in the OP or original pronunciation.  When Brook describes the less modern versions of Shakespeare he says that it “lends itself to dullness” and that actors seem to recycle the performances they have seen which were performances which they in turn had also seen which takes the life out of the plays.  But it appears this use of the original pronunciation of the language makes the plays have more meaning to modern audiences and breathes new life into the plays.

Brook continued with his pessimistic view…

There are occasional new movements, good new writers and so on, but as a whole, the theatre not only fails to elevate or instruct, it hardly even entertains. The theatre has often been called a whore, meaning its art is impure, but today this is true in another sense—whores take the money and then go short on the pleasure

This made me think of what happened in television with the onset of shows like the Bachelor, or Keeping up with the Kardashians and shows of this type.  They appeal to the very least of what is the dramatic vehicle.

“...when audiences applaud indifferent classics because they enjoy just the costumes or just the way the sets change, or just the prettiness of the leading actress, they is nothing wrong. But none the less, have they noticed what is underneath the toy they are dragging on a string? It’s a wheel.

I found it interesting when Brook talks about the interactivity of the audience and the players on the stage.  The exercise of putting a member of the audience on stage to read aloud the powerful descriptions of Auschwitz and the layers of silence that can be found in a moving performance when the audience is engaged in it.

The immediate theater Brook describes hearkens back to the first chapter and the speed at which plays must come together.  A breakneck speed with tons of moving parts, which in the context of the designer and the director poses problems toward allowing the play to speak to the director or letting a staging or placement come out organically. Which may “trap” the play so it could never “evolve”

It is interesting that Brook speaks as if the play is a living being here. He talks about try though you might to come prepared to the first rehearsal the best laid plans will instantly blow up in lieu of the performance itself. This approach needs flexibility from the designer.  A designer’s work is “open” not “shut” which again brings in the fourth dimension of time. As a result the production evolves over the fourth dimension, and becomes more immediate.

It is interesting that Brook uses the analogy of Japanese costume to illustrate what a designer brings to an actors performance, in Branagh’s As you like it, most of the cast were dressed in fairly good approximations of feudal Japanese costume.  This gave the production and the performances a certain delivery that drew me into the work and made it a fresh look for me.  This production design, much like Branagh’s Hamlet


plays on changing the context of the plays through the production design itself.  It is something that I think Brook would consider as immediate theater rather than deadly theater, since its freshness has resonated with me on a deeper level.


Today’s scarcity of public spaces due to rampant privatization leaves little room for truly enjoyable outdoor respites. In order to produce a unique interpretation of future public space, our design group was challenged to explore the dynamic networked relationships between living and non-living elements. While there have been many points of confluence traditionally between the media-based digital realm and the architecture of open space, the specificity of these relationships and how they are embedded in the urban tapestry often remains unrecognized within the discourses of both disciplines. This installation will fuse that relationship and produce an integrated life-sized garden-like artifact. An NYU student driven full scale group project will be installed outdoors for public display in Times Square for the NYCXDesign festival and Global Design NYU in May 2016.

The “Times Square Electronic Garden” project initiated a conversation about climate change, energy use and green urban spaces. Designed and fabricated by New York University students, this earth bomb or “seed bomb” featured speakers and live sensors among the plants that connected to our URL. The idea was to “re-nature” Times Square so that the public can contemplate new natures within our cities. We invited people to explore soothing living vegetative surfaces and recognize the stark contrast of their hyper-electrified surroundings. The students designed and built an open central sphere for visitors to circulate through so that they could encounter a microcosm of hanging gardens. Around the sphere we created a greenscape of serpentine living benches for rest, gathering, and contemplation. The whole project, start-to-finish, was erected and removed in a 24 hour period on May 10th, 2016. It was a place to reimagine Times Square’s consumer culture into a truly sumptuous environmental future.


Early Concept rendering by Theo Mandin-Lee:


There were several teams on a project this big.  It was divided into the structure team, the grassy hose or balls team, the electronics team, the tendrils team, and the video team.

I was tasked with the management of the structure team.  Since the project would not work without the structure this was no small task.    With the help of the great undergraduates from the Gallatin school we put together Some early model renderings to get a sense of scale.

TS sphere with man 3

TS sphere with a-frames

This model ended up being slightly different by the end of the project since the a-frame tectonic changed to a different style of a-frame.

We began some early meetings to talk about how to bring all of the pieces together.

structure team meeting

First meetings about the components

Early drawings and models of what the grassy balls would look like.

drawings of plantings Early Gassyballs model

early grassyballs model2

early grassyballs model3

Once we had an idea of how the project should look, we began work on  the individual components.  As one might imagine, this was a fair amount of work.

first grassy balls

The plants team getting started.

grassy balls team

The structure team getting started.


structure team5 structure team 8  20160507_145503

Laser cutting the panels.

laser cutting panels

And tons more stuff.


structure first layers electronics team 4 tendrils team2 structure team plants team structure bottom layer lasercut panels tendrils finished grassyballs growing tendrils team exterior plants electronics team3 electronics team2 tendrils electronics team electronics2 electronics

20160508_154925 20160508_154938

structure team7

Then a little paint.image000001 image000002 image000003 image000004 structure 2

and finally it looks like we are ready to break it all down and load it up to take it to Times Square.

IMG_2160 IMG_2162 IMG_2167

And finally…

IMG_2175 IMG_2177 IMG_2178

IMG_2179 IMG_2180 IMG_2182 IMG_2186 IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2189 IMG_2190 IMG_2192 IMG_2193 IMG_2195 IMG_2200 IMG_2204

Timessqeg_entrance Grassyhosedetail Grassyhose Grassyhose control detail

And then the public.

Electronic Gardent_CredPeder

TSEG_cops Timessqeg_w_bg

_DSC5427 _DSC5428 _DSC5436 _DSC5444 _DSC5458 _DSC5484 _DSC5509 _DSC5515 _DSC5524 _DSC5547 _DSC5561 _DSC5562 _DSC5571 _DSC5574 _DSC5582 _DSC5586

All in all this was an extremely rewarding experience for everyone involved. Special thanks to all of the following:

Co-Principal Investigators: Mitchell Joachim, Louise Harpman, Peder Anker.

Film Media: Keith Miller.

NYU ITP: Namira Abdulgani, Kylin Chen, Ella Dagan, Jordan Frand, Michelle Hessel, Renata Kuba, Gal Nissim, Isabel Paez, Tigran Paravyan, Lutfiadi Rahmanto, Leslie Ruckman, Abhishek Singh, Edson Soares, Katie Temrowski, Jed Watson, Yan Zhao, Yang Zhao.

NYU Gallatin: Theo Mandin-Lee, Jordan Marks, Max Mezzomo, Valerie Mu, Shel Orock, Alex Selz, Henry Wang.

NYU Staff: Karim Ahmed, Jenny Kijowski, Nicholas P Likos, Lillian J Warner, Matthew Tarpley, Shandor Hassan, Shai Pelled.

and John Salveto at Metalform Studio

Sponsored by: GDNYU, NYU Gallatin School, Times Square Alliance, NYCxDESIGN, NYU ITP.




Banksy's Banality of evil

Banksy’s Banality of evil

This reading made me think of Stanley Milgram best known for his controversial experiment on obedience conducted in the 1960s during his professorship at Yale. Milgram was influenced by the events of the Holocaust, specifically the trial of Adolf Eichmann, in developing this experiment.

Both Wallace Shawn and Milgram were vilified for the presumption that “normal” people can participate in heinous acts given the right set of circumstances. A fact that says more about the audience and the public at large than it does about these men.

I was also reminded me of the man who ran the Auschwitz Birkenau death camps, and how it seems that Shawn is merely pointing out a fact that is indisputable. Rarely do you see the footage of the Rudolf Höss playing with his children in his yard with the walls of the concentration camp right behind them. Its rarity highlights an uncomfortable truth that Milgram and Shawn both point to: It is possible Evil deeds are perpetrated by “normal people”



Höss lived with his wife and four children in a house just yards from the crematorium in Auschwitz main camp, where some of the earliest killing experiments were conducted using the poisonous insecticide Zyklon B. Even, other SS personnel were also initially allowed to bring fiancees, wives, and children to live at the camp.

The children in the yard of the villa next to the gas chamber

The children in the yard of the villa next to the gas chamber

During his working days, Höss presided over the murder of more than a million people in the camp. However at night when he came home next door he lived the life of a solid, middle-class German husband and father. It is this ‘normality’ that makes Höss a much more terrifying figure than an unhinged brute like Amon Goeth.

As Shawn points out.

“Now there are people who will argue, No, he could not have loved his dog. There was nothing good or attractive about him, nothing true in what he said. And in my opinion the reason they make that argument is that if Hitler did not love his dog, if he did not ever say anything true, then we know that we all could have seen him for the monster he was. As soon as we admit that he might have loved his dog, then we begin to worry that perhaps we would not have seen how evil he was, perhaps we’re not superior to the people who listened to his speeches all those many years ago, perhaps we too might have been confused, perhaps, in fact, we’re confused right now. We lose our certainty that the people we admire now are not evil, that the arguments we believe in now, the things we say and the thoughts we think, are not evil, and we ourselves are not evil.”

It is only in the clarity we get from viewing through the lens of history that we see these people as the monsters they are.  It was not in the fervor of the rally that Jason Wilton Wetzel who slapped East Carolina University student Adedayo Adeniyi recognized his evil, it was after confronted with his actions by law enforcement (albiet uncomfortably after the fact as well) that Wetzel is overcome with remorse.  It may not even be due to his arrest. It may just be that he was confronted with his vitriol via grainy cell phone video.

“I can’t believe I did that. It was me, but I’m not a hateful man. I just got caught up. When I saw the video all over the news of me doing that to that young man, I was just disgusted with myself,”

It is not history that is reserved for the monsters, it is the present; And if you want to see what that evil looks like, we might need only to look in the mirror, or perhaps that hand held cell phone footage aimed directly at ourselves, “and that our self-examination might save a lot of people — possible all people — from being harmed by us.”


Wetzel attacking Adeniyi


Wetzel’s booking photo