Design Inquiry’s Futurespective Exhibition Opens October 4 at MECA Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, Maine

The Futurespective Exhibition is “a series of installations that rethink the past in the present to point to the future.” The exhibition shows current work of those that have participated in Design Inquiry gatherings and have made work in responses to those experiences.

I had two projects featured in the show: The Experimentations of a Drawing Robot and Wind Drawing Transformations (see video montage below). The exhibition opened on October 4 at MECA Institute of Contemporary Art. The show is open through December 13, 2019.

Some background on the work:
In 2016, Rebecca Tegtmeyer and I presented our research of collaborative drawing robots that foster remote making in the physical space at Design Inquiry, Wildness Weirdness, August 7-13, Bamfield, British Columbia, Canada. During this gathering, Rebecca and I were interested in exploring how nature could act as a mediator in making.

I’m thankful for the experiences and opportunities that have emerged because of my participation with Design Inquiry gatherings. I participated in two Design Inquiries: Stations 2013 and Wildness Weirdness 2016.

The work above (on view in Futurespective) was an evolution of the work completed during the Wildness Weirdness gathering in 2016 to explore nature as a mediator for making. I continued this investigation on the island of Horn Island, MS, May 17-23, 2018 and thereafter as a series of 3D and 4D transformations.

An article from Design Observer about Design Inquiry’s Futurespective:

To learn more about the Futurespective Exhibition, click here:

To learn more about Design Inquiry, visit their website here:

Research Travel

Exploring the Wild and Weird on Vancouver Island with Design Inquiry


Traveling to West Bamfield on Vancouver Island is no easy feat. The trip took two days, but well worth the journey. After flying into Vancouver on Friday evening, I met up with my robot-making design collaborator, Rebecca Tegtmeyer, and we took the Skytrain downtown to our hotel. Nick Liadis, a fellow Design Inquiry (DI)-er, met up with us Saturday afternoon (from Pittsburg), and the three of us caught the bus from downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay to catch the BC Ferry to the island. We arrived on the east coast of the Island in Nanaimo. We were picked up at the port and driven to Port Alberni by our fellow DI hosts, Emily Luce and Rod Sayers who offered us a place to stay the night before we could make the last leg over to the west coast of the island. That evening, we were also joined by DI-ers, Dagmar Dahle, Hester Jiskoot, Lewis Nicholson, and Gwen MacGregor. The next morning, we all took the Frances Barkley from Port Alberni to West Bamfield.

We arrived in West Bamfield on Sunday afternoon.

We presented our research to DI-ers and shared the development of our collaborative drawing robot that fosters remote making in the physical space. We framed the work by thinking about how technology can act as a mediator between collaborators, and if we were completely limited to technical tools in remote collaborations, how could remote collaborators make physical artifacts together in real-time situations. Look for a future article post, where I will include some updated imagery, learnings, and outcomes of this research. 

On the island, and as a way to contribute to the discussions of the wild and weird, we thought it would be interesting to explore collaborative work mediated by nature. As it was the first time Rebecca and I actually met in person (we have been working remotely since 2013), we planned to work on site together and think about ways that nature might play a role in our collaborative design making activities. Our inquiries that led the making activities were: How can we speculate on ways to collaborate without technology? and How can nature be a mediator in our collaborations?

See also an article on Design Inquiry’s website.

We experimented with making our own ink and paper from found berries and pulp on the island. Rebecca explored photo manipulation from natural compositions found in the sand. I explored screen-printing by sewing natural found objects to paper.

For our main project, we created a (very lo-res) wind drawing machine that we set up on the shore of Brady Beach by the DI house. We hung mark-making tools from a tree above and allowed the wind to move the markers around on the fabric canvas that lay below. The wind drawing machine sat out at the beach for about 3 days.

During the week, we also participated in other DI-ers making activities.

And, we spent a lot of time on the shore. The landscape of the Pacific Northwest is stunning; we saw numerous orca whales, eagles, and wolves along the coast throughout the week.

Many thanks to my fellow DI’ers: Rebecca Tegtmeyer, Nick Liadis, Emily Luce, Rod Sayers, Dagmar Dahle, Hester Jiskoot, Lewis Nicholson, Gwen MacGregor, Anthony Hawley, and Tawney Lem. It was an incredibly memorable week; I feel so lucky to be part of the DI family and I hope to see you all soon.



The Role of Technology in Stations: Research Prepared for Presentation at Design Inquiry

I define “stations” as a place of experience. A destination in which to interact, play, and ponder. The role of technology has enhanced elements of stations, creating more complex experiences between agents and stations. It has reshaped the way place is perceived and used.

The Problem

Issues arise when technology disrupts the experiences and interactions of a station, causing conflict and distraction between agents of the station, the physical station and the experience.

Designing Stations

Bernard Tshumi taught us that our built environments should be designed to support program (or events).


Designing Stations with Technology

Stations that are augmented with technological elements that enhance experiences for its agents in continuity with the physical elements of a station can be successful. If executed correctly, technology should not distract its agents from the experiences at hand but instead enhance them.  A true understanding of the station and its purpose must be considered before proposing augmentation.

This research was prepared in collaboration with colleague, Cotter Christian, Interior Design Professor at SCAD, Hong Kong.

I will present this research at the 2013 Design Inquiry Conference in Vinalhaven, Maine with intentions to explore and discover the island of Vinalhaven in search of inspiration for new work in this context.

About the Conference

STATION: Pause, Ponder, Play
2013 June 22-29

“What are the “stations” of our work, interactions, and play? When our networks are not only local but also regional, global, and frequently “virtual,” where is activity situated? Do we yearn for both fixity of place and transitory freedom? What are the tensions, if any, between these extremes?”  Read more on their website: Design Inquiry

About Design Inquiry

“DesignInquiry is a non-profit educational organization devoted to researching design issues in intensive team-based gatherings. An alternative to the design conference, it brings together practitioners from disparate fields to generate new work and ideas around a single topic.” Read more on their website: Design Inquiry


Mapping Moments with Design Inquiry: An exhibition of experimental mapping opens January 10

About the Show
Maps are representations of a place in time. They are often subjective of the cartographer. In many ways, mapping is a format for discovery and documentation. My work attempts to explore the relationships between the map, the process of mapping, and the cartographer.

This show maps points of intersections of the small island of Vinalhaven off the coast of Rockland, Maine over the course of a week from June 23-29, 2013 with Design Inquiry. Video capture, photography, personal journal entries, and conversations across place and time are overlaid to make interesting connections with time-based information. The result is a series of subjective mapped moments from the lens of the artist.

Mapping Exercises

Video Capture
Sample of slowed down video capture used to examine the activity of the secret garden in Vinalhaven. Activity was discovered and documented.


Exhibition Details

The exhibition will run from January 10 – March 2 at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis TN.
Monday – Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1–5 p.m.

Channel 5 News will feature a morning segment on the exhibition at 8:00am, January 11 with artist, Cat Normoyle.

Gallery Photos