Project Type: inquiry / research

Public Time


Plastic Time Project - Daniel Lara

One of The Long Now Foundation‘s primary functions is to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility. One of the most important and famous projects is the 10,000 year clock.  It is being built and has triggered a lot of controversy because of the cost and technological limitations.  So, I decided to make a series of cheap clocks that would trigger some time meditations. With a super-low budget.

plasticTime_02 plasticTime_03 plasticTime_04

plasticTime_05 plasticTime_06b

Public Installation video-prototype:

Sitting 1.9



The desktop metaphor has been used to establish our relationship with the ordinary computer and it has carried strong implications, such as the definition of the workspace, the body physical posture during the day, and the mouse as a pervasive pointer.

One of the open paths of inquiry triggered by my thesis project “Body 2.0”, is precisely what could be the evolution of the desktop model in a future where people are fully immersed in a networked world. As a way to look for innovation, I consciously stepped away from the affordances of interactive tables and touch screens and put the control of the devices in fictional digit-implants.  What remain was a new relationship with the chair:

Can the interactivity of the mouse/keyboard/table be translated or transposed to the chair?Could it offer new possibilities to the desktop model?
Could we include different parts of our body while using the computer instead of just the wrists and fingers?

a-Non_Existent_Chair_web a-Sand_Stool_001_web p-Constant_Sitting_Chair_web



Body 2.0


What would be the mundane realities of a fully networked future? What is going to happen when electronic implants become as feasible as pacemakers or breast implants?

Body 2.0 is a set of 5 medical cases and 1 conversation that focus on unique features, uncommon banalities and possible absurdities of our near future, where our actions are integrated to the internet, and where new paradigms exist for privacy, social control and human interactions.

Beyond optimistic and glossy visions of the future, this video investigates our dependence on technology and our complex evolution with it.

Some preliminary video prototypes:


Installation views:


Some process projects:

OnOff bodyNewtworkedMed aStory_v2

The AniThings


[ Summer Research Team: Brooklyn Brown, Hye Mi Kim, Salvador Orara, Bora Shin and me. ]
[ AniThings team: Brooklyn Brown, Hye Mi Kim and me. ]

This highly speculative research project focused on imagining devices that have personalities and a suggestion of an inner life. There are 6 different devices in the system: The Nerd, The Nostalgic, The Neophile, The Needy, and The Networker.






What if an audience could really become a player in a game?

[ In collaboration with Hoon Oh, at the MDP ]

Made the NetLAB Toolkit, a projector, two smartphones and Breath to OSC app.


2 Way Gun



This project is about modifying perspectives. A gun is an object that establishes a relationship from A to B in one fixed direction. What happens when you modify that relationship? Which shifts of perspective can we hack with today’s technology? Which mental shifts are demanding technologies to be developed?





One possible scenario:

Dangerous Diagrams



While trying to understand some of my influences in art, design, technology and economics I started drawing 4 overlapping circles.  I then realize that this kind of diagram was too flat and simplistic to serve my purpose, since there were missing “overlaps”.  For instance, in the graph below right there is no area where economics and art meet each other without involving technology and design.  At the end I figure a graph/drawing that matched my vision of the relationship of these fields and that is in tune with the complexities of the fields.

Some weeks after I attended Johanna Drucker talk at UCLA Design Media Arts about diagramming interpretation and realize how dangerous could be to flatten information.





complexIntersections_05  complexIntersections_07


z complexIntersections_00

Multiple Futures



At the Media Design Program colloquium, in the context of HCI and Sci-fi, Julian Bleecker mention the idea of diversified futures, as a challenge to the idea of a single, big, collective future where all humanity should go.

Next Monday, I asked Norman Klein to talk about this idea and he started by mentioning Darwin as a unifying path for all humanity. Since there is one evolutionary line, Darwin’s path is closer to a pantheistic point of view, and to globalism (aiming to ONE thing).

In contrast, there are/were polytheistic societies (like India, or the Aztecs). That made me think that societies have their own visions and fantasies of the future and that the future is non-homogeneous.  If we add that globalism is fractured, then the idea of multiple futures becomes very tangible.

Norman then mentioned the inevitable presence of a “master plan”, (governments, global economics…) and how in many cases suppresses the local interests, or in this case, the multiple futures. The ideal case would be that the initiatives from the local would work with the interests of the global, but that is the same that having all the multiple futures aligned in ONE future.

This made me think of overlapping futures (making a common one) but  leaving room for the local interests and pursuits.  I am aware that the idea of local and global is nothing new (it almost seems unavoidable), but this model seems to help me in thinking and imagining possibilities for collaborations in macro scales.





Collective Game


In this simple game, each member of a team has a mouse as a controller. The movements of the mice overlap, so the players have to adapt to their own team members’ movements in order to accomplish the task of matching the brain icon with the body-figure without touching the lines.

How quickly would the the “team-mind” adjust to the collective task? Would strong wills get in the way? What could be an effective strategy?

Cult Design


[ With: Ingrid Hora, Daniel Salomon, Dee Kim and Ana Rifa. ]

What are the elements that form a Cult?  During the summer of 2010 we investigated how religions, cults, brands and personalities design a suspension of disbelief around them.  The result was a movie shot in the desert of California.

Video Stills:

cultStill1 cultStill2 cultStill3 cultStill4