Time, space and the whole galaxy involved brief

The new brief has to do with time. Guest was inspirational John Fass from IED (Information Experience Design programme at RCA) and Phd Candidate at RCA – I think this was the first time our guest was from the RCA environment.

He started his presentation talking about Inuits in the North part of Canada, Nunavut, and talked about people living there – the passing of time must be different than ours. He then talked about Zeo and monitoring sleep, a phase that you normally don’t monitor or you monitor with a different way, with dreams that is. Sleep is indeed a complicated situation to measure, indeed. Zeo actually intends to make your sleeping behaviour better but how far does that get?

He later talked about his 3-month ‘Lifelogging’ project, using a Sensecam which takes a picture every 20 seconds. I found this interesting, as this would reveal a lot of things that you wouldn’t remember or ‘monitored’ by your own brain.

Resuming his presentation after our crit, he talked about an Inuit not remembering his children date of birth and how Inuits can measure time or navigate with sleep – how many sleeps it gets to go somewhere – or something like that, I don’t remember this exactly. This puts me in totally different way of measuring time, I mean, time in sleeps? I can hardly understand time measured in light..

Eight-hour monument:

How humans measure their everyday time. How would an alien or a more developed being measure a day?

Felix Baumgartner, the first man that broke the sound barrier by making a free fall from space to Earth:

Felix Baumgartner’s ‘Dream machine’ gives the interior sense of time, with eyes closed

And then the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) – quantum particles rotate at 99.99% of the speed of light, as we can’t go beyond that.

I can’t really explain in my words what this LHC thing does but I found something here in LHC’s website that gives me some exciting inside:

The LHC will allow scientists to probe deeper into the heart of matter and further back in time than has been possible using previous colliders.

Researchers think that the Universe originated in the Big Bang (an unimaginably violent explosion) and since then the Universe has been cooling down and becoming less energetic. Very early in the cooling process the matter and forces that make up our world ‘condensed’ out of this ball of energy.

The LHC will produce tiny patches of very high energy by colliding together atomic particles that are travelling at very high speed. The more energy produced in the collisions the further back we can look towards the very high energies that existed early in the evolution of the Universe. Collisions in the LHC will have up to 7x the energy of those produced in previous machines; recreating energies and conditions that existed billionths of a second after the start of the Big Bang.

And then Einstein’s theories about relativity and subjective time: some things feel that take longer that others. The 4th dimension: the space-time.

And the brief in the form of many questions:

What shape is time? Design a system or device that measures and represents time and space as one quantity. Is our time influenced by someone else talking to us? How do your own experiences and perspectives change time? Do you influence other people’s time? Is there atomic time? Body time? How fast are you travelling? (I’m probably still on my chair now but I’m moving through time). Think about shared experience of time and space. How do we measure time? (maybe a short research on that will give me inspiration. Measure conception of time? How us, as beings, measure time?

This whole thing has to do with personal interpretation of time of course, I’m not going to invent a whole new device. It’s a really interesting project that a week is only enough to touch on things! Maybe just by challenging my perception of time will give some answers.

Let’s see..


‘Music for 3 colours and 1 kazoo’ feedback

So this is my response for last week’s brief, that asked to do a sound piece with a kazoo.

Music for three colours and one kazoo from Savvas Zinonos on Vimeo.

As I have done with a previous project, I have this tendency to visualise sound, or use sound as part of an image. The simplest idea I had was to link a pitch of sound with a colour. So 3 colours, 3 vocal notes and then make music with these 3 notes. The feedback I got was overall constructive, people seemed they liked it (they laughed which it’s positive), but there are few things that could be done:

  • the three primary colours brings in complexed meanings
  • also the ink mixing in the beginning is such an overused thing that I should probably drop – the reason I’ve included it is to show the process
  • composition is probably missing something/ something is not explored enough. There’s a repetitive part in the footage I’ve used which shows that I was going back to the same tune just because I wanted to be safe – the actual reason I used that 2-3 times was to show there’s the slightest form of a system in the ‘music’ I created and I haven’t made it randomly
  • at some point it feels like the video it’s about the editing and not the actual content
  • videos could be over-layed instead of showing them in different frames. This way I could create different colours related to the sound I have!
  • I could also consider density of colour, making a form of a language, consider how sound passes through air or water or different kind of elements
  • consider the dispersion between sound and image and the duration of time, the composition
  • this could also be developed in a game or an interactive project which would allow people to make music related to the colour – there could be a bar that you could move from the blue jar to the yellow one (and all the in between colours) and it could create music – just a starting point idea

‘Music for three colours and one Kazoo’ – in progress

It’s Tuesday, a few last hours before Wednesday’s crit.

Idea is there, and I’ve been working on it since last night. Unfortunately, I haven’t worked on any performances or public interventions as I would like to, although I’m still doing something funny and enjoyable.

To be honest I’ve been really lazy the last few days, since I was given this brief. I don’t want to say it was an easy brief, but as the brief seemed funny I thought I should leave the idea come randomly to me!


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Surprise surprise, the project for next Wednesday is to make a sound or a performance with a kazoo!!

Howard Bernstein (Howie B) was the guest for this Wednesday, a sound producer/musician/deejay/mixer (I don’t know how to define him really) and this is a glimpse from his work:

Night Nice from Howie B on Vimeo.

At the brief intro he talked about how a sound can change the feeling of an image, how can manipulate emotions and situations. A simple repetitive sound can be really effective. So he gave us a kazoo, a really simple instrument, to express a feeling or emotion or make music with it. This is the first time we have a medium but we are going to provide the subject. So it can be

  • a sound recording
  • a live recording
  • a live orchestra
  • a film clip
  • a sound effect
  • a collage of different things
  • a performance
  • a sound installation
  • a poem
  • a band!

I was imagining really stupid stuff, as this is the first time we are given such a fun project to do. As a really loud person I would like to make interventions, like in the mornings when I’m on the train it annoys me when everyone is so calm reading their books, it could be really exciting for me to shake them up with a kazoo !

Other ideas I had are collaborative, I was imagining a choir in Saint Paul’s or Royal Albert Hall or flash mob! But then the rest of the group is busy and not everyone can do it (as proved from yesterday’s meeting when only 5-6 persons turned up to discuss ideas, so it’s not happening).

One other student had the idea to go all together outside Buckingham Palace and make a performance playing our national anthems at the same time, as everyone is from a different country. I also had this idea to go next to those guards that are not allowed to move and play the national anthem there and scare them. Something exciting, something fun, stupid, some intervention could be perfect for this project!

It’s Friday and I’m still thinking about – as always.

Let’s see..

Some inspiration I found on youtube:

Drawing by touching

Week 3 brief:

“Choose the features of your own subjective reality. Engage critically with the possibility of the widespread adoption of your own personalised sensorium. Consider a desirable or a probable form of perceptual augmentation”

my response:

  • I couldn’t invent something new as
  • I was struggling with the idea that I have to create something technological
  • after having a long thinking, I came up with the idea that it will all come to me from the opposite side: instead of enhancing one of our senses, take away one!
  • I chose vision as it’s the main sense we use today
  • the idea was to draw several objects by touching them, using only the tactile sense
  • one rule is to be given objects I’m not familiar with, as this would relate to either memories/emotions/events and this way I would recognise the object

By experiencing only with the tactile sense, everything becomes shape and texture. One rule I had to follow is to ask people give me objects I’m not familiar with, as the experiment could be more effective – this way I wouldn’t relate to any memories or background information.

Further questioning about this experiment is how blind people experience stuff – the ones that were born blind – and how they translate/transfer this information to their brains. I came up with a starting point of an invention idea, a sort of hands-like-scanner thing, that could ‘scan’ objects and the world around them, and a chip-kind-of-thing inserted in their hands including all the information you get from touching stuff (shape, texture etc) and transfer them to their brains as images. As this seemed really complicated to me, and not one of the things I do, I concentrated on this experiment, discovered (something obvious) that understanding the world around us is a process of combining the senses. Taking out the visual you loose the scale of the objects and you get in a whole different mentality.

Drawing by touching from Savvas Zinonos on Vimeo.


I didn’t get much feedback to be honest, people were laughing and I think that’s a good sign – I think. I also gave to the group the actual drawings and they found interesting the freedom of the lines – usually we draw consciously.

Another interesting aspect was that in the film I reorganise the stack of papers all the time, that raises questions like, where is the end of the paper, the frame and the frame of the projection? – as I was blind, how could I define these?

I was encouraged to use two objects at the same time, or maybe use the same paper for more objects.

One idea it was raised it was to make the drawing blindfold, then take away the object without seeing it, open my eyes and try to redraw the object from my memory

I had some fun with this brief, and I think I should adopt this way of working for all the upcoming briefs as I had a really tough time since the beginning of the term! I also had the idea of making large scale drawings and use different media.

Intimacy of architecture

It’s been busy around here. Very.

I will try to keep up with the uni briefs. I’m skipping the first brief as it was a total fail!

The second brief for the Design Without elective was set by the chief director of the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and was asking to ‘demonstrate the intimacy of architecture without building anything’. Tricky..

First things that came to my mind were

  • space is an experience
  • an event
  • I can make people think of a place or imagine a place
  • sound can take you to a place
  • space can be performative
  • a feeling
  • interaction

My initial idea was to visit a place, describe it in a text and relate to a personal experience I had with that place. I also recorded some sound from the location. My intention was to make people, by reading the text and listening to the sound, create their own place in their minds. As I learnt from the Sound Space AcrossRCA project, each one of us can create a different narrative in our minds when listening to a sound.

So this is my text :


After having a breakdown about not responding well to the briefs, I requested a tutorial with my personal tutor, Teal Triggs. The feedback I got is that I made something different than anyone would respond as intimacy of architecture. After some corrections to the text (the picture above is the final version of the text), the big issue to engage with, is how to present this piece of text and how to define intimacy for the reader.

We agreed that what the text was trying to do, was to create an intimacy between the reader, the author and the space with the event presented at the end/personal relation to a place. I realise that this text defines intimacy as a personal experiential relation, even maybe emotional. It invites the viewer to enter my personal/emotional space.

The text also talks about small details that create something huge and that represents a kind of intimacy. Something small is intimate. It also links to the last part of the text, the story revealed is a bit dramatic, as the dome and the huge building created by small details.

But where this text should be applied?

My first experiment was placing this text in the entrance of the Stevens building, which is used for exhibitions


I also had the idea of filming people responding to it.

But this idea is not challengeable enough, it should work as a public intervention. Trying to find an intimate space to place this text, I was thinking about something discreet, even maybe toilet!

As I was thinking this, the days were passing by (not the best thing), so I decided to place my text in a corridor because is a more intimate place than the entrance of the building. While I was placing the text on the wall I noticed that people weren’t looking at it and they were looking on the floor instead. So I came with the idea to draw attention from the floor to the wall. So I’ve put a part of the text on the floor, right where people were passing so there’s no chance they wouldn’t see it. Then the next bit was a bit closer to the last bit of text , but on the wall.  I also had the idea of placing the text, very small, in other places, for example next to the lift (check the slide show).

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The feedback I got:

  • this was a starting point, a ‘light’ touch on something
  • the place I chose to place the text wasn’t the right one
  • keep working on this, make interventions
  • the solution was a bit ‘safe’ (I didn’t include the sound as it would make it more complicates etc)