“grillz” is an exploration and analysis of the usage of language in mainstream hip-hop lyricism, with particular attention paid to mentions of money and income.
individual songs are algorithmically analyzed for references to extreme poverty—the projects, drug dealing, prostitution—as well as extreme wealth—cars, cash, jewelry and the like. mentions in each category are scored according to relative distance from words of the opposite polarity; the closer together a poverty reference and a wealth reference are to each other, the higher the score, and the number accumulates the more references there are in close proximity.
the resulting landscape formed is extruded into a 3D shape and printed as wearable grills: jewelry designed to fit over one’s teeth, and which have become inextricably linked to hip-hop culture over the years as a symbol of over-the-top, ostentatious wealth.
the language was processed using custom software (and with the assistance of my own pygenius python library), and the models were created in processing, with the assistance of the geomerative and modelbuilder libraries. the pieces were 3D printed in polished gold steel.
"office hours" at the dumbo arts festival (brooklyn), september 2014
"heavily scripted" at little berlin (philadelphia), october 2014
"death by art" at death by audio (brooklyn), november 2014
data visualization showcase, strata hadoop conference (san jose), february 2015 [UPCOMING]
"hate couture" is a series of high-fashion garments created through analysis of the usage and context of hate speech on the internet.
language is a key device used to ostracize and dehumanize groups of people based on criteria that are largely unchangeable: race, gender, sexuality, religion. in real life, the use of hate speech is a universal taboo. but how much attention do we really pay to it online, where everything we say is divorced from traditional social consequences? "hate couture" is an attempt to examine the use of hateful language on the internet.
one week of hate speech against a single demographic was scraped from twitter, reddit, and youtube between march 25-31, 2013, and analyzed using algorithmic language processing and sentiment analysis to determine the severity of each instance. each comment was assigned a sentiment score, which was used to place it on a 5-shade spectrum of a single hue; the lighter the color, the more benign, educational, out of context, or re-appropriative the usage was, and the darker the color got, the closer the context is to the speech's original, disparaging and dehumanizing meaning.
a visualization of the entire week was then printed on a bolt of fabric, the length corresponding to the total volume of text collected. in collaboration with a fashion designer from the group attacked, a single garment was then constructed from the entire length that was inspired by the impact of the language itself. the voluminous, impractical, and cumbersome nature of the clothing is meant to reflect the sheer volume of the data found online; the anonymity of the internet, which allows people to use hate speech more freely than in real life; and the burden that this language places on those it is used against.
the project was built using python for data mining and natural language processing, and processing to generate the visuals. the visuals are then printed on cotton silk.
special thanks to the fashion designers that i have worked with over the course of my project: timothy brucato ("faggot" garment, pictured, pink); avery reed ("cunt" garment, pictured, lavender); ari fulton ("nigger" garment, fabric pictured, grayscale); ruann ibrahim (muslim garment, fabric pictured, green).
"hate couture" was my thesis project for the interactive telecommunications program at NYU.
exhibitions & presentations:
ITP thesis week & spring show (new york), may 2013
world maker faire new york, september 2013
wearable tech fashion show, women 2.0: 2020 vision, bellagio (las vegas), november 2013
"MAKE: wearables on the runway" at engadget expand, javits center (new york), november 2014
"all-american girls" is a series of cross-stitched panels depicting women's voting patterns in the 2012 united states presidential election. the project juxtaposes the very traditional and stereotypically "feminine" craft of needlepoint with evidence of increasing female activity in american politics.
the number of colored stitches in each candidate's name corresponds to the exact percentage of women who voted for that candidate in the selected state. each pattern was generated with processing, using data from CNN exit polls taken on election night (november 6, 2012). the patterns were then each embroidered by hand.
"all-american girls" was created for data representation during the fall 2012 semester at NYU's interactive telecommunications program. it was presented at the 2012 ITP winter show, as well as o'reilly's strata conference in santa clara, CA, in february of 2013, and tedxnyu in may of 2013.
“sluts across america: a birth control advocacy project” is a participatory internet project designed to highlight the absurdity of the “war on women” waged by conservative members of american society, and designed to highlight the universality of support for accessible contraception. The homepage is a large map of the united states, littered with markers indicating the locations of women and men who self-identify as supporters of birth control.
submitters call themselves “sluts” in an effort to reclaim this derogatory name and classification from those who use it to assassinate the character of the people who choose to protect themselves and be responsible about sexual health. site users across the country can upload their stories (including recording a video into the browser if they choose) and automatically have their markers included on the map.
the site was built with ruby (using the sinatra framework), and uses HTML5 and the google maps API on the front end.
“sluts across america” was created for collective storytelling, during the spring 2012 semester at NYU’s interactive telecommunications program. it went viral within 48 hours of official launch and has gathered over 9,000 submissions since April 23, 2012. the site was also presented at the 2012 ITP spring show.
the data collected from the project was used to create a sister site, "slut solidarity", which remixes all of the collected text using markov chains to create new posts every time the page is refreshed. the intent is to illuminate the striking similarity between the reasons that individual contributors have given for supporting birth control. each new post that is under 140 characters is cross-posted to a twitter feed. "slut solidarity" was built with python (using the flask framework) and the twitter API.
pygenius is a python library that returns data from rap and hip hop songs in a clean, easy-to-read and understand format that allows for the data to be used in other projects.
users can access song lyrics, album lists by artists, annotations and notes about lyrics' meanings, album release dates, and metadata about artists and their recordings.
to use pygenius, use setuptools or pip to install via the command line, or download the source code.
“gaze” is a performance piece designed to serve as a commentary on misogyny in american society, through the remixing and re-appropriation of popular music and culture. the piece was created using microsoft’s kinect sensor, max/MSP, and processing.
i control and remix a series of misogynistic songs, videos, and sound bites through the use of provocative motion as well as an unzippable bodysuit that controls the speed and glitchiness of the music. through this layering and intentionally pointed combination, i aim to make the audience aware of just how much anti-woman sentiment exists in the media we consume, and how much of the way that society views women is not controlled by them.
“gaze” was created for new interfaces for musical expression (NIME) during the fall 2012 semester at NYU’s interactive telecommunications program. it was performed at glasslands gallery in brooklyn, NY on december 9, 2012.
a poetic ode to one of the greatest scientists and inventors of our time.
named for one of the approximately 300 patents that he put on file in his lifetime, this piece serves as an abstract representation of the life, inventions and legacy of nikola tesla, one of the most prolific and brilliant scientists the world has ever known. evocative images reflecting on the successes of his work and his personal and professional struggles (both with his peers and with his own mental stability) are depicted, using traditional digital animation techniques as well as generative images designed with code.
"no. 382,280. electrical transmission of power" was created with amik ahmad and alex samoilescu for big screens during the fall 2012 semester at NYU's interactive telecommunications program. it was presented on march 1, 2013 at interactive corps' headquarters in manhattan, on their 120-foot wide. high-resolution video wall.
"sex ed mannequin" is an interactive installation built into a display mannequin. the user opens the doors and manipulates sensors inside the form to control a flow of information about sexual health.
the project is intended to give teenagers and young adults an engaging way to learn about reproductive health and safe sex practices. the installation enables the user to find information and answers about many common questions without having to feel embarrassed, judged, or shameful about asking someone else outright.
“sex ed mannequin” was created for introduction to computational media & introduction to physical computing during the fall 2011 semester at NYU’s interactive telecommunications program. it was presented at the 2011 ITP winter show.
“tenement” is a proposal for an after-hours exhibit for the lower east side tenement museum, located on orchard street in new york city.
the tenement museum is a source of an incredibly rich history of new york, but as the culture of the lower east side changes into one predominantly focused on nightlife, there are many visitors to the area who pass by the building without knowing what lies inside. “tenement” proposes to expose these visitors to the stories and internal life of the museum by projecting images, video and audio out through the windows, which will then be triggered by people passing by the museum at night.
as visitors pass by, they are beckoned to come closer to the windows; when they do, they are rewarded with audio and imagery indicative of the nature of what lies inside the building’s walls.
“tenement” was created with diana huang for spatial media, during the spring 2012 semester at NYU’s interactive telecommunications program. it was built using microsoft’s kinect sensor and processing.
projects completed as a freelance software developer for other clients and/or artists. roles are specified under each listing.
1. "love unknown," a project by angie waller. computer generated, location themed romance novels created from online personal ads. role: python programming and language processing. more info: loveunknown.org. github repo here.
2. "airbare." created with urban matter inc., commissioned by creative commons and the robert wood johnson foundation. airbare is a data art project that visualizes data collected from air quality sensors deployed throughout the city of louisville, KY. role: openFrameworks programming and interface design. github repo here.
3. innovid multi-screen display. client: innovid. presents video and interactive content across multiple devices. roles: programming of the iOS/OSX apps (openFrameworks) and online video upload interface (python), as well as design and production of the adobe after effects template for production of content. a collaboration with johann diedrick.
projects completed as a freelance video editor, animator, and/or motion designer. software used specified under each listing.
1. "what's in it: protein bars." created for the new york times, january 2014. co-animator & co-producer. using adobe after effects.
3. "big screens 2013: titles." fall 2013. exhibited on december 6, 2013 at interactive corps' headquarters, on their 120 ft X 12 ft video wall. using adobe after effects.
4. "lens inro videos." created with local projects for the cleveland museum of art's gallery one interactives, 2012. using adobe after effects.
5. "building a new bridge." created for the new york times, march 2014. animator & editor. using adobe after effects and adobe premiere.
6. "herehere concept video." created for microsoft research, march 2014. animator and editor. using adobe after effects.
7. "super bowl 2014 by the numbers." created for the new york times, january 2014. editor. using adobe premiere.
8. "sticky love story." a collaboration with federico zannier, fall 2011. using dragon stop motion and final cut pro 7.
9. "enter the hot dog." a collaboration with sarah hallacher, fall 2011. using adobe after effects and final cut pro 7.
worked mainly on MTV's award-winning documentary series true life between 2008 and 2011. credits include:
true life: i'm a sex offender, producer-director
true life: i'm allergic to everything, producer-director
true life: i'm addicted to food, producer
true life: i'm changing my sex, segment producer
true life: i have neurofibromatosis, segment producer
additional credits include true life: i'm a gambler, true life: i'm living off the grid, ice queens, and MTV news' sexting in america: when privates go public.