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Green Living Show update. Recycling is a lot of work.

22 Mar

The updated urban agriculture fence is pictured above below. We’ve decided to build the whole thing out of wood reclaimed from skids, or pallets. You can find them behind Home Depot, at Home Hardware, and art stores. Basically any place that gets large product deliveries will have piles of these things. And since it’s a hassle for the store/warehouse to dispose of them, they’ve been more than happy to let us haul them away. I’ve been working with Peter from J&B Landscaping to collect and disassemble the skids, and so far we’ve spent about 13 hours over two days to harvest about 600 boards. Considering our calculated need of about 2000 boards, it will take us approximately 3 more full working days just to break down enough skids for the fence. (keep in mind that we’ll need about 8 of these panels to make the fence.)

Why are we using skids?

I’ve been curious about using skids as building material for a while. Indeed, I’ve been experimenting with scrap for a while as well. You can find all sorts of projects that use skid board as material, but I was personally inspired by Faye Mullen’s Skid Collector project (, which I got to see at XPACE last year. The skid collector is a story of obsession, love and redemption, in which the principle characters are Faye(or you) and those forlorn, abandoned skids. With love, a sharp plane, bees wax (or danish oil, whichever you prefer), and some buffin’, those lowly mules of our supply chain industry were restored, nay raised to a nobility that they previously did not possess. In short, they clean up well.

However, I realized my folly on the first day, when, after 7 hours of hard labour, we had about 340 boards. It’s one thing to disassemble and restore 5 pallets. It’s quite another thing to dismantle, de-nail, trim the edges, cut to length, and plane 2000 pieces of board. I’m estimating that it will take well over 102 man hours just to harvest enough wood. I will post pictures of the refinished wood, as well as the work-in-progress fence.

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Other things I have made. Kimchi, ribs, CRACKLING

21 Mar

I’m not a hobbyist, I’m a foodist. I cook because I want to EAT.

Gadeokdo Competition: Entry poster and document now online.

10 Mar

Augmented Reality maps from Microsoft

2 Mar

ToDo: Green Living show

1 Mar

Part of my work at Sander Design includes the design and building of a unique fence to give a garden feel to the booth they are designing for this year’s Green Living Show.

Urban agriculture fence. The shelves also pivot to close the fence when you’re not growing anything, so that you can choose when you want to be social, and when you want to be private. The fence takes sprout and herb growing vertical. An important part of the design work for this project will be to test whether or not it’s worth it to grow plants out of the ground outside. Vertical growing is likely to become important in our urban setting, but I suspect that growing in the ground outdoor and in the sunlight yields more than container growing. I would like to find out how a healthy, robust rhizosphere could be nurtured in a container environment, given a limited soil depth and area.

The other, almost larger portion of my work will be to design/build a community harvest table for 20 people. The table will be a part of the Urban Forests booth, which will be shared by 10 environmental NGOs or ENGOS. I’m quite excited and nervous about this piece, because it will be built from irregular pieces of reclaimed, dredged from the bottom of the lake wood, and it will live in a public park in north Toronto called Ben Nobleman park. Growing For Green has planted a community orchard in the park, and the table will be used for sorting the harvest, picnics, events and so forth.

AR Toronto – AR Bootcamp thought provoking, spawns many puns. pt. 1

1 Mar

ARmani Suit

Minds were blown this Saturday at MEIC‘s AR Bootcamp.

Augmented reality ties in a lot of fields, from computer shape and motion recognition and tracking, to platform and interoperability issues, to ethics and privacy issues, and the attendees spanned the same range. Attendees ranged from complete n00bs like me to AR godfather and cyborg Steve Mann.

The above image is my immediate reaction to the assumption that AR markers are ugly. Like barcodes and QR codes, AR markers can have a certain tech chic about them. Imagine a suit that you could infinitely change, or use to display information.

I took a lot of notes from the event, mostly in the form of doodles and ideas. I’ll be synthesizing them in the next few posts. The following is a taste of what’s to come.

AR + Tattoos

AR + Porn

The success or failure of a new standard or medium is determined by its acceptance by the porn industry. With the mainstream adult entertainment industry struggling, adoption of AR could be a brand new way of attracting viewers again.

This would be a wearable marker. (it says PRAN which would be the chan/l337 version of pARn)

This would be how you use it.

GadeokDUE – Gadeok Island Masterplan competition sneak Preview.

1 Mar

Last month I worked with Sander Design and Breathe Architects on a competition for a masterplan for an island off the coast of Busan, South Korea.

Among the design considerations was our wish for the buildings to add to nature, and provide habitat for fish and sea life as well as humans. They would also generate their own energy and process waste onsite. I will post more images of our gorgeous panels after the competition results are announced.

Sunday Digest – XCamp

1 Mar

Xcamp for XClinic (jargon alert)

On February 25th we had a changecamp style unconference on establishing guidelines on both the porting of Natalie Jeremijenko’s environmental health clinic project, XClinic, to Toronto, and the development of a start up kit to help spawn other XClinics in other cities.

The event was very successful, with “many gifts” in the room, and fantastic discussion.

Basic bullet points.

XClinic thesis – Health is a factor of our environment, not just our genes and individual behaviour.

XCamp issues

– The scalability of an art/design environmental project to larger audiences, esp. in the absence of direction from Natalie Jeremijenko

– The goal of XClinics: quirky art (potentially meaningless) projects , or effective (potentially boring) projects? I say neither and both are necessary and sufficient.

– Related to above, we had a lot of conversation about whether there was a formula for the NJ magic. I think there is, but I also think it would be meaningless to try and reproduce it.

– Ibid, we also talked a little about metrics. How would we gauge success of a project.

For more information on XClinic in Toronto, subscribe to this blog or visit

Event photos here.

Kinoko-an: Subterranean Teahouse

1 Mar

View more presentations from caseywong.

Baby steps toward a non-uniform 3D cell packing to model bone structure.

27 Jan

Since before I started studying biomimicry I’ve been interested in the structure and strength of bone. From the first time I saw an image of a cross section of  the femur, I’ve understood that the shape and arrangement of the bone and its holes gives bone its strength.

I feel like I’ve been working towards something with everything I’ve been doing, at least in terms of materials and software research.

I’ve been reading a lot about surface subdivision, with voronoi diagrams (we’re going to get sick of them quite soon I think) fractal patterning etc. There has been a lot of work on modeling complex surfaces that are made of individual, non-uniform pieces, particularly in architecture. I would even venture to say that experimental architecture today has succumbed to glossy, spiky, morphed and twisted “render wank”.

The following are my baby steps toward understanding the computer modeling process enough to successfully model bone. Since all the examples that I can find are architectural, you’ll forgive the fact that I too am dabbling in glossy morphed render wank.

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