The Play Station on Market Street

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For a few days in October, Market Street got a little friendlier, a little more colorful, and a little more fun. The Play Station was live on the sidewalk, next to a bus stop just down the block from Powell Street. Our team was selected to join the Market Street Prototyping Festival, with support from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the SF Planning Department.

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Thousands of passersby from all walks of life stopped to interact with our kinetic bike sculptures or to take a spin on one of our three free public exercise bikes. Above, a young girl spins the hand-cranked LED bicycle wheel featuring a programmable LED light display from Berkeley’s own MonkeyLectric.

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We were fortunate to have wonderful weather for the entire installation. Here, visitors take the bikes for a spin, and the last rider plays a game of “Newspaper Delivery”. The game, a simple toss game designed by team mate Ivan Rodriguez, was a crowd pleaser as visitors got competitive about slinging the newspapers into a faux windowbox from the bike.

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A young visitor checks out one of the zoetropes designed by team mate Michael Huang, a popular attraction we placed to create a “soft edge” to our installation and draw people’s attention and interaction. Visitors could even draw their own zoetrope design on receipt paper. The zoetropes are mounted on bike wheels.

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The overhead canopy I designed from 4-way stretch mesh had the unexpected effect of creating dappled light and shade (we didn’t expect much sun), hung on a structure designed by team mate David Yao. It also achieved my personal aim of creating a sense of color and inviting space on drab Market Street.

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The whole design team. Not pictured – friends and significant others who helped load, carry, shop, paint, install, and volunteer on the festival days! We’ll share more insights shortly – data collection led by team mate Deland Chan will reveal more insights on how many visitors we had, how many interacted with various parts of The Play Station, and what their thoughts were about public space and Market Street.

The Play Station SF is coming!

This weekend, my team tested concepts for our upcoming installation, “The Play Station SF”, soon to be a temporary part of the Market Street sidewalk in downtown San Francisco.

We tested interactive kinetic bike sculptures, this one hand cranked and featuring a MonkeyLight Pro 256-LED wheel installation.

We also played with a teammate’s last minute fun addition – two hand made zoetropes created on horizontal spinning bike wheels.

There will also be a kinetic bike sculpture created from corrugated hose, to add a sound element.

A fun canopy to create color and a sense of place . .

And three spin bikes with a box full of games and challenges to play on them!

“Present Ground” now open at Hayes Valley Art Works

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Site-specific art installations by local artists are now live at “Present Ground”, a collection sited at Hayes Valley Art Works from Oct 1- Nov 5. Visit the site from Fri-Mon 12p-5p at the corner of Fell and Laguna Streets.

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I spent one very busy week busily prototyping my piece, OPEN/OPEN. From Lowe’s runs to geometry sessions, to midnight tests in the alleyway outside, it wasn’t clear if the piece would actually work onsite.

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Construction was designed with outdoor use in mind – including a strong wind.

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I learned the challenges of trying to construct a piece of public art in a tiny one-bedroom apartment with not outdoor space. It just doesn’t work. Not only was it impossible to lay out the fabric pieces, we ended up performing some dangerous moves to drill the holes (and hopefully, managed to clean up all the metal filing before the next bath).

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Collaborator Josh was on hand for a very, very hot installation day. Here, we test tensioning the piece. I intended it to be installed at a slant, but higher up. The natural bowing of the nylon webbing over 20 feet made the piece sag more than intended. The manpower you see here was sufficient to tension the piece, but attaching it to the 10-foot EMT conduit pipe caused the pipe to bow, so we decided not to tension it further.

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Here I am “interacting” with my piece.

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As intended, it looks cool in the wind.

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Poke around the construction site to find other unique installations . . like “The Hole To Bury Your Emotions In” and a honeybear.