In this age of rapidly advancing technology, it’s astounding how easy it is to bring something from your mind into reality with 3D printing. The other day, I took a trip down to the Kimmel makerspace here on campus. Using Tinkercad, I quickly put together a model of a sphere with an S on one side. I added a ring to the top to create a sort of Christmas ornament object. When I made the model, I was aware it would be small. Later on, when importing the STL file onto the Makerbot application to print it out, I was told by one of the helpers there that it would be about 20 mm. Still, I did not want to make it any bigger because I thought it would be fun and small. When it came out about half an hour later, it was very small! Just as expected. What I didn’t expect, however, is that the ring on top didn’t come out right, maybe because it was so small and weak, so now that part is kind of broken. When I get home I’ll try to use a hot glue gun or something to connect the ring back together, but until then it’s a little lacking in functionality. Maybe next time I’ll use a reasonable size.
Since wanting to become an author at an early age, I have done many types of writing in various environments. Writing is universal; its ability to transcribe one’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas, into a form mutually understood by the writer and their audience (if they have one) makes it an essential form of communication in nearly all cultures. Writing is a skill, a technique, a habit, a pastime, an art. Out of all the people that write, few would consider themselves writers.
Writing as an every day occurrence is so second nature to most people that they wouldn’t use it as a defining factor to describe themselves. We write every day, in the form of shopping lists, sticky note reminders, texts to our friends, and little strings of words that may seem insignificant. Each of these forms of writing, however, mean something; they show who we are by detailing who and what we interact with, as well as how we interact with different people and situations.
Different classes of people are drawn not only by content written, but also by the environment they best write in. Some people prefer complete silence, others leave the TV on or sit next to a window on a particularly chirpy day to immerse themselves in the ambience of their surroundings. I personally like writing in bed, either on a laptop or in a paper notebook or sketchbook. This often leads to problems since I can get too relaxed or comfortable and distract myself from the actual work I should be doing. Because of this problem, here in college I have adopted an affinity for working at the library (specifically Carnegie). The atmosphere in a college library specifically meant for quiet work exerts a certain pressure on me that makes me uneasy when I slack off or somehow end up watching a food video on Facebook. The people around me all seem so dedicated and diligent that I feel like I have to rise to their same level of productivity.
Although I find I can easily churn out a great sum of work on a laptop because of the speed with which I can type on a keyboard, there is still a simple charm that draws me to write on pen and paper. The things I write by hand are typically more personal and the sort of thing that I write only for myself, in some form of catharsis or tranquility. If I’d like to write something to be seen, I type it out on my computer, where I can easily give my potential readers a link to view the content immediately. If I’m writing a short piece, like a poem or some other grouping of words meant to be shorter than about a page, it’s likely I’ll use a pen and paper. Longer pieces, like a short story or a novel excerpt with yet no novel to be taken from, would end up on the computer. However, as I continue sharing my work with others, I’m even more likely to be writing on the computer. At the moment, I have a Google document with five or so poems of varying length that I composed somewhere in the last two or so weeks. I can very simply copy those which I choose to share and send them off tho whoever has been granted reading access. Writing things on paper has a sort of finality to it; I have written this once and now there remains only one copy. To take a picture of a piece of paper and send it to people somehow seems like more effort. Not that I would mind exerting the effort, but then it’d look like I’m really dying to have my work seen, instead of casually sharing what I’ve done with others.
In a given week, I probably engage in three forms of writing: homework, social communication, and private words. Homework is the most formal, with the most rules dictating syntax and manners and courtesy. This blog is homework, and I type with capital letters where they should be and include punctuation where I deem necessary. Social communication is far more casual; it even has an unspoken etiquette in place that winces at proper capitalization and punctuation. Private writing is a mix of the two. There aren’t really any rules in place, because I’m the only one reading what I make. Even if I choose to share it, it still was created first for solely selfish purposes, whatever they may have been.
I try to adapt myself to be open to any and all types of learning. I’d like to envision myself as a mutable being that can absorb information however it is presented. Having hands on, immersive experiences is very helpful. For example, my language skills have remarkably increased from listening to Spanish standup, turning on Spanish subtitles when available in my English-speaking shows, and playing Pokemon in Spanish. Although I think I can get by however a subject is taught, I’m conditioned to perform well in a traditional classroom environment by paying attention and taking notes. I say notes help me study but honestly I haven’t been very good at studying because I’ve been able to do decently well without it. I’m aware this arrogance might lead me astray as I progress further in college courses and will give my best effort to adapt to succeed.
Above are three pictures detailing the process of making a 3 hole stitch book. For the paper, I used 3 different sheets of green, blue, and purple paper. I wanted this little book to coordinate based on cool colors. For the same reason, I twisted together green, blue, and purple pipe cleaners to create the binding. As the name implies, you have to poke 3 holes in the crease of the folded pages and then use some sort of string, cord, yarn, etc to sew it all together. I made a little bow on the back of my book because I had extra pipe cleaner length, but ideally you would just make a knot and call it a day.
These 3 pictures show the process of creating a 4 hole stitch book. As you can guess, there are 4 holes in this version. For this book, I went with a neutral values color scheme and used cream/brown twine to stitch it all together. The 4 hole stitch book is definitely more complicated than the process to make a 3 hole stitch book, but I’d say it binds nicely and seems a little more professional.
These pictures are from the Kimmel MakerSpace on Syracuse University campus. The picture on the left shows a 3D printer, although this one specifically is different than the other kind that there are more of in the space. It’s pretty bare and minimal which allows people to see the mechanisms of how it operates. The picture in the middle serves as an example of what a 3D printer can create. These are 3D printed figures of bulbasaur, charmander, and squirtle, which I thought was neat. The picture all the way on the right has a printer that can make stickers.
These three pictures are all of the embroidery machine. Looking at all the scraps and tester pieces of cloth to see what this machine could do made me want to make something with it too. There are clearly a lot of options of color and content and so many different surfaces to embroider.
This tour of the makerspace was very helpful and interesting. It was interesting to find out that there are so many resources available to students that most don’t even know about. After going to see this, I thought I would definitely come back to use the resources. I haven’t gone back yet because I haven’t really thought of something good enough to make and I want to make sure that what I create in the MakerSpace is something really neat.
The device I made would be an insertable device into the palm of a human hand that could flip from attracting / repelling water molecules. This would enable people to stay dry during rainstorms or collect sitting water to gather it some place else. This concept stems from my fascination with magical powers and specifically “waterbending” as it is termed in the Avatar series. I think it would be amazing to have something like this exist because it’d be almost like giving superpowers to humans. With all the discussion of body modification, it’s hard not to consider the possibility of superpowers because that’s such a popular theme in our media today. Being beyond human is a common fantasy instilled in our minds since childhood, and as technology develops I wouldn’t be surprised if it was, a long way in the future, realized.
Informatics of Domination – An analytical way of breaking down the power structures that form privilege and oppression. With this knowledge, the dismantling of such inequalities is made more tangible.
Body Modification – Deliberately altering appearance or form of the human body.
Critical Design – A way of participating in design that subverts classic/traditional values, power structures, ideals.
Critical Making – The incarnation of critical design, which uses physical objects (or people) as a form of expression to challenge the status quo.
The reading definitely showed me an approach to the human body that I was not yet familiar with, and honestly still am not very comfortable with. I appreciate and have a healthy amount of amazement for how far these people are willing to go to show that the human body is available for modification way beyond the relatively tame standards held by most of the world today. In the article, it’s made clear that the term “enhancement” doesn’t exactly fit the body modifications discussed, but this process and this community are paving the way towards enhancement and augmentation that a lot of people might’ve just been ready to dismiss as science fiction.
I think it’s a very human thing to cling to what is natural and be frightened by foreign objects working inside of our body to expand us beyond normal human capabilities. It’s true that a prosthetic arm to one who lacks an arm makes a lot more sense than a prosthetic arm to one who simply desires improvement. This “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality is explored in the article as a limit of human greatness. The denial of humanity near the end of the article and the desire to be something different is a foreign mindset to me that I can understand but honestly would rather try not to. These people who practice and develop such body modification are left unsatisfied with simply being human, and seek a level of capability and functionality far beyond what is deemed as rational in today’s society.
For our class project in WRT200 DIY Publishing, we made a replica Carrier Dome. The rhetorical argument we made juxtaposed the glory shone on Syracuse University with the murky conditions and environment that surrounds its namesake, the city of Syracuse.
Visible in the picture above, there are clay figures that are trapped beneath the grand weight of the dome. They are meant to represent the people of Syracuse, cast behind and left to lurk in the shadows while the world arounds them lauds the accomplishments of our university.
This picture features more closely the faces of the symbolic figures, wrought with turmoil. The protest signs highlight some of the issues that are swept under the rug as to not distract from the high stature and esteem that the university commands.
Inside the dome is a representation of Otto the Orange, the mascot of Syracuse University, with a paragraph behind him detailing the ways that people who benefit from the privilege of Syracuse University could do their part in helping out the environment that looms nearby, often forgotten. Otto has a hand outstretched, symbolizing the university’s willingness to lend a hand and foster relations between the city and the university.