FeedIndex
This is a collection of past works and explorations executed at Art Center College of Design (MFA Media Design, 2014) and Cal Poly Pomona (BS Landscape Architecture, 2008). Currently I'm trying to stay hungry and curious, while looking forward to engaging diverse approaches—not just for the cross-pollination, but to strengthen my ability to move fluidly across various media.

If you have any questions, comments, or feel we can do something great, please contact me.



This project involved the creative processes of design, nature, and science. The initial area of interest was climate change, beginning from the traditional view of stopping our human contribution to it. But in the dawn of overpopulation, expended terrestrial resources, and capitalism, this project moves beyond a defensive position toward a conversation about unprecedented opportunity. Through design research and a workshop, 2 proposals have arisen.






ITERATION A
Nomadic Islands

Design proposal of a new type of a floating city. Formally based on open-pit mining, they essentially mine the ocean for habitable space. On the of size scale of a small island such as Catalina, these are not fixed islands but enormous, buoyant watercraft. The expandable design is modeled to accommodate change through time. Area wise, growth mimics population boom and lifespan with new levels of development that can be built atop the old, increasing the depth height, the surface ring's area, and spatial volume. While the total land area will accumulate, bottom layers can be 'shed', ensuring a perpetually contemporary top layer, always built through the lens of new technologies and adaptations of the time.

The imperialistic pitfalls of 'designer ecology' (approaches that are predicated on certainty and control) against operational ecology (which is predicated on disruption and constant evolution) are being mitigated here with open endedness. Programs that are to shift and the forms that will follow, are part of a process to allow the emergence and evolution of a self organizing, resilient ecosystem.


Submerged shot of a habitat from ocean depths looking upward. PH neutral syncrete coralizes and serves as wildlife habitat.







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ITERATION B
Synthetic Geologies





Fashionable life vests and respiratory masks mark the new wardrobe. Above-surface atmospheric chiaroscuro created by dense, choking clouds of airborne, light-absorbing ash. Subsurface population densities are obfuscated with regulated steam dispersals creating a cloud of personal space—as our physical human presence is several generations subservient to our virtual one.


Land development now consists of tapping throats of volcanic magma in order to create streams of lava flow—streams of land creation. Acupunture-like piercings scatter across the landscape as both man made forms and these generated streams of molten rock weave together to form a new hybrid, synthetic geology. Potential sites of land creation are located primarily on ocean faults. These sites of volcanic activity are cordoned off with circular dams, which simultaneously act to keep ocean water out as magma is produced, yet designed to destruct should the explosive operation become too erratic.



This project investigates the ubiquity of sensors and how they can be commonly used for radical reclamation efforts in devastated environments. The case study uses the Fukushima nuclear disaster to tell that story, but the usage is not exclusive to it, as this is inexpensive technology with universal application.

Fukushima residents have become frustrated with the government cleanup efforts which include many obstacles in the form of ineptitude, politically tied contracts, and general lag. This alternative to industrial cleanup efforts can be implemented by anyone and allows community builders to collaborate with nature, independent of site politic. People are not just products of their environment, but producers of it as well—this project is about designing agency against the slow and heavy hand of top-down reclamation efforts.

This proposes the strategic design and use of UAV ballons filled with seeds or spores of remediating plants/fungi/microbes/pollen. For sensing and distributing seed, it uses the same geographic pattern of dispersal (via wind) that also distributes radioactive dust from a nuclear fallout.





As these unmanned aerial vehicles float, suspended on wind currents, they transmit dynamic environmental measurements to map devastated zones. When the balloon reaches an area with a high reading of the specified pollutant, it then explodes, dispersing it’s contents in the landscape. This dispersal may consist of specific seeds, pollen, spores and/or nanoscale sensors. This method of phytoremediation is low cost, readily available, and will initiate a generative cycle of succession, the first step to land reclamation.


MUNITIONS:
PIONEER SPECIES
Sites where topsoil has been removed and treated for contamination need to build biomass. Pioneer species are the hardiest of plants, requiring minimal care to begin the cycle of succession in building soil.

PHYTOREMEDIATION SEEDS
Industrial hemp is being used to decontaminate soil around Chernobyl, where a nuclear reaction explosion occurred in 1986. At a nearby pond, sunflowers removed 95% of the pond’s radioactive cesium and strontium within 10 days.

MYCELIUM SPORES
When these aerial mycelial mats land, they will provide the necessary shade, humidity, and medium for mycelial inoculation. These hyperaccumulators will uptake radioactive waste in addition to other heavy metals and petroleum products.

POLLEN
Antithetically operating against genetic monopolies (i.e. Monsanto, Syngenta) these seed bombs can potentially be outfitted to disperse pollen. Hypothetically, units can carry native (non GMO} pollen intended to cross breed-in susceptibility traits with the GMO crops. Such acts of tactical agriculture begin to question the idea of genetic ownership.




The other important aspect of the use of sensors is that they do not simply register local environmental data, but attempt to map the ecology of pollution, which includes interspecie and intercontinental travel. Along with seed dispersal, are sensors that are intended to be consumed by local fish, bird, and other long travel species. The intent is to map the entire travel of radioactive material through its entire life cycle. As a scenario, one could imagine seeing traces of nuclear isotopes on their next meal of seafood and it is with this immediate relation to danger that may result in a revelation as to the implications of nuclear power.


Photo credit: Ian Besler

This image is from the demo which consisted of detonating a seed bomb (behind glass window) by exposing it to a 35 gram uranium sample.
Above - The spatial setup in the gallery - Compost center is heroicized, standing against the backdrop of a sustainable future, while the fine print sits in silence.





The Product



SPACE vs LAND

This is a speculative project that makes legible a spatial narrative that is consuming the American landscape, where land boundaries are blurred by the evolving invasiveness of corporate reach. Ideas of ownership involves property as well as it’s violation of it—where boundaries are inscribed not in land but rather formed by the legal and economic forces of the space. This is an investigation into how this collision may take form, between the accumulation that capitalism fosters and the finiteness of land.

The language of legal-safe, statement-of-fact is utilized to simultaneously propose an ethical solution to consumer concerns of sustainability, yet cloaks a counter-narrative of corporate tactic designed to bring Monsanto full market dominance over the world’s food supply. For big business, the operation performs at the time scale of quarterly profit, trumping all long term concerns of a sustainable planet. For the consumer, enacted upon the time scope of human interest, corporate engineered image is projected on form only to satiate our last attempts to stave off the idea that we could’ve prevented the end of the anthropocene era.


Closeup of wall mapping the projected locations of the compost centers to infiltrate concentrations of organic farms.

CONTEXT

The way we've practiced agriculture in the last 50 years has seen more changes than the way we've practiced in the last 1000 years. The problem of diminishing topsoil is a direct product of the modern machine of industrial agriculture. According to a Cornell study, by 2050, we will lose at least 30% of our usable soil to nutrient deficiencies.

The case for industry running down natural resources is an old argument. However Monsanto has introduced a unique aspect due to their success at patenting their genetics. The ownership of an artifact is less convoluted than a living system that self replicates and pollinates—simply put, a living being that doesn't observe our capitalist agenda nor ideas of ownership.




By contrast, capitalism encourages quarterly profit; it’s about accumulation in the context of, what is now barely realized, a finite environment. It's not just that, when asked if capitalism tends to stabilize Professor J. Schumpeter said "he believed it was if left to itself, but that in its working it had evolved a mentality in people and a way of arranging and looking at life which undermined the psychological basis necessary to its continuance." So the stability here of a consistent product also collides head first with biodiversity that evolution demands.

Monsanto tactically undermines the perception that corporate decisions are made thousands of miles away where investors dont live with the consequences of those decisions. This project seeks to change that perception. This is Monsanto hittting the ground and shaking hands with local farmers, understanding their concerns and working together to build a sustainable future.

This detachment is one aspect that this design seeks to address. Where the short term interests of consumers are perpetuated through the longer term interests of corporate monopolies. And i say consumers not simply as users of the product, but as those who are being sold the dream that capitalism promised—that it's a self correcting entity and that everyone will come out unscathed at the end.


Above ad for an insurance policy against "unintended breeding of patented genetics" is one example of how Monsanto is essentially packaging and selling air. With the compost centers, cross-pollination (for wind pollinated crops) at some point is inevitable.


This is a project investigating space and form as a method of urban design. It involved working from computer code, narratives, models, and diagrams as a process to extract possible formal strategies of a new urbanism.

The initial mode of research employed models, specifically, I was interested in mycelial structure. Above models depict static snapshots, not of form so much as snapshots of dynamic process. An antiform, which can accommodate change—uncontained and ready to take form.

The romantic idea that nature exists pristine, independent of man is obsolete. the 21st century proved anything but nature's pristine independence; we are nature. The earlier XML exercises dealt with classification and differentiation,which fosters a fixation on objects or categories–the tangible and the understood, rather than the elusive relationships between. This begins to challenge the barrier of an either/or approach in favor of creative synthesis manifesting across time. The result is a synthetic ecosystem which introduces itself to and employs an existing ecology's ability to accommodate and react to change.




The above time sequence shows the consumption of present urban form into an aerial structure. Just as this project references the formal strategies of mycelium, it also strives to reference mycelium's role in ecology, mitigating the introduction between foreign elements and existing ecologies.




Overpopulation and global warming long evolved-out the need for natural elements (i.e. sun, space,) in favor of controlled, secure, and predictable environments. This design will allow the use of gravity to move flows of water, flora, and fauna on the topside of the structure as human habitat is suspended on the underside. This exposes forest/agricultural areas to direct sun, maximizing food, oxygen, and natural insulation—maximizing our planets photosynthetic capacity. The suspended infrastructure allows development over oceans—which becomes less an act of land reclamation to one of land generation.





Limiting factors of fresh water or food require either space or energy intensive processes. Moving away from simply throwing energy at a problem, this proposes utilizing membrane technology to desalinate ocean water through evapotranspiration from the ocean surface as well as stormwater harvesting across vast stretches of 'unoccupied' ocean. Older technologies such as HAARP engineered water cycles are aided with microbe dispersal, which not only hastens storm release, but because of their ability to travel long distances suspended in cloud systems, extends interspecie diversification beyond immediate localities. Waste submerged in ocean serve as important grounds of microbial mutation and production, the first step in disrupting ocean ecology to accommodate human presence. Landscapes are no longer polluted but rather, inoculated.


The above 5 are photograms reflecting the explorations of many of the avant garde artists who, featured in Twentieth Century Type Remix, experimented with cameraless photography. These photograms were entirely blind assembled, in the darkroom, and in some cases exposed 2-3 times. Collaborating with chance ensured the process was not solely generative (which is limited) but is receptive as well. That way I was able to draw on the faculties of both the creative and the responsive. This weaponized the naiveté of "why not" against both known and unknown preconceptions. As a chance operation that removes those preconceptions from the process, it resulted in work that trancended anything I could have merely contrived.

Following lead from creative industries such as film and gaming, these were created utilizing a Wacom tablet in Photoshop. This 2D method offers the fluidity of imagination while pursuing more elusive qualities of space, such as lighting, mood, phenomenon, and atmosphere.















A few conspirators and I had the opportunity to work with 2 exceptional RCA Graduates as a part of Art Center's 2013 Summer Research Program. The above project involved a small amount of preliminary research followed by an intense bout of fabrication. The experience gained was invaluable—where design was not limited by the same quiver of limited abilities (from which I too often draw from), but was slave only to concept and timeframe. Guided by concept and along with the expertise from the lead researchers we prototyped and produced an array of machined devices, pneumatic triggers, and EEG sensors. Most of these were constructed from the ground up or hacked to create an ensemble of machines which not only functioned mechanically, but also emanated the cold precision of an analytic tool whose mere presence and stature lent the credibility to ask users to re-think their preconceptions on precognition.









Check out the other works from our team:
Andrew Friend
Sitraka Rakotoniaina
Greg Ahn
Aaron Fooshee
Gene Lee
Tim Kim
Personal study on reuse of materials in landscape architecture. Broken slabs of concrete increasing percolation, fostering of public art, layered park space all contribute to a richer language of landscape and its ecological and social functions.
This was a project exploration put forth by theorist Benjamin Bratton as part of Critical Frameworks. This was also a collaboration with fellow media designers Ian Besler and Sangwoo Han. The prompt was to consider the implications of a cloud based society. I explored the infrastructure of such a network and what strategies could play out in the contentious relationship between state and the statelessness of the cloud.

The movement of military information to a decentralized network by DARPA, not only produced the internet, but proved a good model strategically. That trajectory would further play out in the cloud. Citizens, if not practiced to some degree already, would provide some partition of their device to serve the cloud. Much like the peer-to-peer service, devices would become partial servers of the cloud, housing cryptic units of partial information. This would directly place the physical territory of the cloud as a ubiquitous entity embedded within a state, safeguarded by it's citizens. The cloud doesn’t resemble contiguous form so much as a thin veneer on physical space which forcefully coexists with state.



Virtual generation of encryption implies a math that can be reverse engineered. Instead, algorithms based on natural occurrences leverage the geographic ubiquity of the physical cloud infrastructure. This would ensure cryptographic generation that will never repeat and will be amorphous, perpetually changing—encryption directly tied to a particular mathematical moment. In essence, unlike the physical design of fortress structure, the new means of mathematic fortification is forever in constant shifting form, thwarting algorithmic attack and impervious to time cloak infiltration. To crack the encryption, is to solve an encryption that is already obsolete, as the rate of change is within the time scale of microseconds. The physical model of this is captured in the space of the Windtunnel. However, analogous to the cloud infrastructure, its presence is not transmittable virtually over the internet.





The decentralization of cloud infrastructure dramatically speeds rates of information transmission, as travel distance is drastically minimized and dispersed among simultaneous feeds. Rate of information transcends our current speeds exponentially. In the present world of Wall Street trades run by algorithms, new metrics of position and advantage are no longer dependent on geography but subject to efficiencies and de-efficiencies of transmission—curated by the cloud. The Windtunnel installation models this time scale by slowing it down to nonillionths of a second, in which light pulses and movement along paths take place over months. During which, passing of the seasons mark various points of light travel along its form.




The All Seeing Eye
Tactical control of the hearts and minds of cloud/state citizens bring about new implications for media design. As virtuality and algorithms of order define a world that is increasingly rigid—in a sense reductive, the movement towards a static and controlled state must be counterbalanced with disruptive acts. While not necessarily teleologic acts, the succession and development of the cloud must codevelop with such agents of change. The reductive practices that technology can strive for serves well towards achieving stability (stasis), but renders the system less able to cope with change—less able to cope with the future.



Landscaped Artifacture is part of a project in which I designed hypothetical print media (posters, postcards, web banner) for the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

"Join us for a tour of the famed explosive test grounds.
Between 1951 and 1992, there were a total of 928
announced nuclear tests at Nevada Test Site. Each of
the underground explosions—some as deep as 5,000
feet—vaporized a large chamber, leaving a cavity filled
with radioactive rubble."



This is another tour package of the famed Packard Motors plant in Detroit.

"Join us for an urban exploration of the Packard Motors
Manufacturing Plant in Detroit, Michigan. Before it closed in
1958 the Packard Motors Plant once employed 40,000
workers. It has since decayed and has become the shining
star of the urban detritus amid the aftermath of globalization.
As the American landscape has shifted from a manufacturing
to a service economy, vast monuments stand as heroic
artifacts of this dream. This tour will examine these past
dreams in order to reflect on our possible futures."
 
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