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E N D · O F · Y E A R · S H O W · 2 0 1 5

A partial and biref chronique



For the first time in the history of the program, first year students volunteered to organize and put together the MAT End of Year Show 2015.

The team was wonderful and unique: Akshay Cadambi, Kurt Kaminski, Jieliang Luo (Rodger), Intae Hwang, Fabian Offert, Matthias Wagner, Keehong Youn and myself. Working with them was one of the best experiences I've had so far inside our program.

The graphic identity started to take its own form one month and a half before the show. I went to Copenhagen to present the Sound Digestive System, Denmark provided me with fresh air and a clear mind to propose something different. Before the trip, I'd been thinking so much about how the graphic identity should feel, that it led me to a complete paralysis: nothing should be taken that seriously.

After I returned, since we wanted to showcase the source code as well, Fabian Offert proposed Open Source as our main theme, we all liked it. Kurt and I added an 's'. We had a topic, and from there, something to build upon (from the visual aspect). This was the story:


If we remove the first layer of any object, we then come close to its structure. The P and E of "open" are representing this first step.*


* This idea was later abandoned though.


Open-source = open-structure.
Open structure = an object's composition.
Object composition = layers of significance/meaning.
Each layer = a map.
One map = something to learn about the object.

3 of Kurt Kaminski's microscope photographs were selected to generate terrain data. Through each layer every image was rendered differently with a threshold value, to achieve different heights.

A computer code would read these images and place symbols as territory markers/indicators.

The code then creates a moving piece based on the image's topographic location. There are three types of symbols: code related graphics (A), characters in another alphabet using the Cannon Fodder font that I designed, and (C) random markings.




And so came our first posters:




A couple of sketches:







We used to meet constantly at Phelps #3320. We were happy to –finally– have a proper space to meet and get work done. The EoYS could've never happened without it. It also put an end of our constant nomadic quest (i.e. looking all over UCSB's campus for a place to work).

The poster was presented to the team. Kurt suggested adding some color. But something was missing. There was a common feeling the graphic wasn't quite there, we all knew it. And so, after a couple of days the final version revealed itself: layering the title, the very same source!





From this point everything came naturally. Kee, Intae and Rodger went to the mStudio to print all of the copies. This took a couple of days. I ended up designing the following items:


None of the designs were exactly the same. An accute observer would notice the graphics on the catalog's cover are different that the ones in the poster. Or (as will be covered shortly) the stickers required a totally different approach. The proportion and scale of a postcard demands something totally different as –let's say – a vinyl on the wall.

The decission of a grayscale color scheme was taken out of pure intuition (trying to keep the image as clean and decoration-free as possible). This decission played an important role when designing the catalog.

This was – briefly –, how the main identity was built:




All of the text was modelled using a 3D modeling software. The data was then exported as: (A) bitmap, for the next step and (B) vector files, for final composition.



A simple Processing sketch was coded. The sketch would read the image data and distribute it into levels. We exported this data as PDF.



Processing points were then imported into Illustrator to adjust the final stroke width. This allowed us to use different sizes in the final composition. This step was crucial when designing the stickers(since the printing method we decided to use, didn't allow small details in graphics). Coding a Processing animated sketch, allowed us later to implement easily a variation into the CNSI screen on the first floor of Elings Hall.



Everything was finally put together and finely tuned. For the final poster the full line-up of the participating artists and engineers was also included in random positions.



Dark background versions were completely composed from scratch. A dark background allowed more contrast between white and black dots. The gray version only features black dots.



An additional version of the line-up was also designed. This was intended to be included only in the catalog, but was later decided to be featured as a poster.







The vinyl on the wall was placed by the entire team. Since vinyl cut did not allow many details, only the Isometric title was included. However, to distinguish both words, the open surface is black.

Stephanie, at UCSBs mStudio was of great help to get the vinyl cut properly.






To reach a younger and broader audience we decided to print 500 stickers. On the front, only the open word was featured as layers, in order to have a sticker that could properly fit in the 4.5 x 4.5 in. This size was chosen to mantain costs and still preserve a good size where information can be shown. The M-A-T initials are hidden in the front-design.




We decided to print die-cut stickers with Sticker Robot for their great quality. However, their printing method (silkscreen) does not allow for Hi-Res graphics. This is why the dots in the image are notoriously bigger.

Once printed, the layers of ink were clearly visible, a nice touch. Half of the sitcker is fully covered on ink, while the other half is transparent. And additional white ink layer is added as background. This transparent vinyl makes the sticker looks different depending on it's chosen background.











Our exhibition catalog (MAT's first physical book ever) featured 120 pages of selected projects, interviews with Faculty, and complete list of works.
Making this catalog happen was a challenge on it's own:

>> READ "Open Sources Catalog (making of)"<<







Using the 15 screens located in the 1st floor of the California NanoSystem Institute, we prepared a video to greet the EoYS visitors. The video featured a color inverted scheme and the main program of our EoYS. A special animation of the Open Sources and several layers being open-sourced were programmed.














Even when it's a small part of a much bigger whole; a graphic idea, a simple visual gesture can become an intangible container. The power of the image can help relate and connect different parts of a structure. It can make it complete.

Volunteering for our community, gave us the chance to change and propose new things througout our true/concrete actions, that is: with work.

I firmly believe good work must be contagious. Must be a challenge to others. Must be an invitation to do better things and raise the bar, a chance to learn from each other. That is our responsibility with our colleague/friend sitting next to us. I just hope, the work we all did as a team, could be used as inspiration/challenge/reference for the future.





  >> Download CV
>> Previous and further work at Realität
>> "Logics of Elusion" - a photo journal from Cali.

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