Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Journal Has Moved to

My journal has officially moved to Please visit my new site and change your bookmarks accordingly. Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Video Recipe Learnings

While working on the kibe video recipe over the past two months I developed a list of learnings that will guide my future video projects. These include design and production insights that range from tactical to conceptual. Some of these learnings are specific to video recipe projects while others are more general in nature. Many of these seem obvious in retrospect.

Here I will also briefly share my experience working in Final Cut. This was my first time editing video using this powerful application (in the two video projects from this past semester I took a co-pilot seat during the editing phase). There was definitely a steep learning curve compared to simpler editing applications such as iMovie.

During Comm Lab class this past semester we covered a lot of strategies and approaches for planning video and animation projects. However, I did not apply any of these strategies to my work on this video because I decided to take on this project in a last-minute moment of inspiration. Anyways, the following activities would have greatly helped:

  • Write down the recipe before hand to serve as a basis for development of a storyboard and shot list. Make sure to identify whether different shots are needed of the same scene, and to consider still picture requirements as well.
  • Use storyboard and shot list to identify the shots where the presenter will be speaking on camera. Plan for these shots by writing a script or at least key points that should be mentioned.
  • Make a requirements list of all equipment that will be needed for the shoot based on the storyboard and shot list. Don’t forget to include power and connection cords, tripods, and other secondary elements.

Explore content and presentation ideas that make the final video more compelling and/or effective. There is no easy recipe for improvement in this area because the strategies required will vary considerably depending on the objective and audience of any given project.

Some obvious areas of exploration that I will consider for future projects include: addition of music or other types of sound effects; use of animation and other visual strategies (such as stop motion); and leveraging existing content that can be mashed-up.

From a production standpoint, there are many things that I can do to improve the quality and efficiency of my work. First off, better planning would definitely have improved the production of my kibe video. Here is a list of many specific tactical considerations for me keep in mind:

First and foremost, I need to remember the importance of having control over the environment for the type of shoot that I was doing for the kibe video (in other instances lacking control may be more beneficial). Specifically I need to minimize my talking during the recording, unless it is planned beforehand. For example, I took a lot of shots that I was not able to use because of my talking on camera. I need to ensure that there will be no background movement during the shoot. Background music can also pose problems if I plan on using sound recorded during the shoot for in the final video.

Having the right equipment is key to controlling the environment. For example, proper lighting is very important to ensure that the colors come across well. Microphones are necessary to capture high-quality audio from the shoot. Using the same camera with the proper settings ensures that all shots have a consistent look, and help save rendering time during the editing process. One specific setting that I forgot to set properly in the kibe video was the auto-focus (which should have been turned off).

One last production consideration is the importance of writing down copy for the voiceover before starting to record. I wrote down this rule after it took me 15 takes to record a 5 second voiceover. That is not to say that the copy needs to be written down verbatim (this depends on the experience and comfort level of the host).

Final Cut
My initial sessions using Final Cut were highly frustrating. I was not used to the long delays required for rendering files and I had no familiarity with the shortcuts, which are crucial to working effectively in this environment. That said, after a good bit a patience (and 4 to 5 hours of practice) I started to enjoy working with Final Cut.

Final Cut is ideal for complex video projects where there are multiple camera angles used to capture the same action. It enables you to easily switch between camera angles once you’ve got the cameras synched. This was an important requirement for this project.

Final Cut has a great selection of shortcuts that enables the user to quickly switch between different tools from the palette, and to perform common tasks such as adding in and out points for any given video. Once you learn the shortcuts the editing process speeds up considerably. Another capability that makes the editing process much more efficient is the ability to cut and paste effects and other type of levels (e.g. opacity, size, keyframes, etc) from one clip to another.

The most complex parts of Final Cut, which were the most frustrating to deal with, include the system settings (such as scratch disk, etc) and project settings (such as frame rate, frame size, and pixel aspect ratio). I’m sure these will become easier to manage once I have a few projects under my belt.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kibe Assado - Video Recipe

Earlier today I finished editing a video recipe for kibe that I had been working on for the past two months. I took on this project because I wanted to share this delicious recipe that I have developed over the past several months. Thanks to everyone who has served as guinea pigs along the way. Without further delay here is the video along with a written version of the recipe.

Recipe serves: 6 normal people (3 crazy kibe lovers)

• 1 pound of ground beef
• ½ pound of bulgur
• 1 large onion
• 1 bunch of mint
• 2 teaspoons of salt
• 2 teaspoons of butter and olive oil
• A pinch of ground pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg

Prepare the Outer Mixture: start by soaking the bulgur in water for two to three hours. Clean the mint and separate the leaves from the stems. Prepare the onions by removing the outer skin. Chop the mint and onions using a food processor or knife. Mix the chopped mint and half of the onions together.

Combine half a pound of ground beef with the bulgur. Add chopped mint, onions, salt and spices to ground beef and bulgur mixture. Make sure to mix all the ingredients thoroughly. A food processor or meat grinder is ideal for this step.

Sautee the Filling: heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, butter and remaining half of the chopped onion to the pan. Sautee the onion until it has become translucent. Add the remaining ground beef to the pan. After a few minutes add the pine nuts. Sautee the meat until the liquid that arises has evaporated. Then remove the beef from the stovetop.

Prepare the Pan: First coat the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Then add a layer of the beef and bulgur mixture to the bottom and sides of the pan. Next add a layer of the sautéed ground beef filling. Then top off the pan with the remaining beef and bulgur mixture. Use a spoon to pat down each layer to make sure they are properly packed.

Once the pan is prepared take a knife and cut diamond-shaped patterns into the top layer (you can actually cut any shape that you want). Then drizzle some olive oil on top. Now the pan is ready to go into the oven.

Bake the Kibe: preheat the oven to 375 degrees then bake for 40 minutes. Turn on the broiler and bake for 5 to 10 minutes to brown the top.

Kibe Crazy
Using this same basic recipe you can also create two other types of kibe dishes: Kibe Cru (raw kibe) and Kibe Frito (fried kibe). Kibe cru is essentially the bulgur and beef mixture described above, served raw and garnished with mint leaves and sliced onions. Kibe frito consists of the same elements as baked kibe. However, the bulgur and beef mixture is shaped into a ball that contains the sautéed beef filling. These kibe balls are then fried.

Other Motivations
A secondary motivation for this project was a desire to learn how to use Final Cut Pro. This consideration ultimately led to my selection of media. In a separate post I will cover the learnings I gained from this project, both in relation to working with video in general and with Final Cut specifically.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sao Paulo Street Art Experience

Following up to my post a few weeks back regarding the Sao Paulo Street Art installation, I have come across an interesting video on Vimeo about Brazilian graffiti art. This great little video provides an overview of the history of this artform in general, along with an interesting investigation regarding why graffiti in Brasil has an unique vibrancy, and how this art is changing as it is increasingly accepted in the art and media worlds.

As part of my project idea, I would like to develop a similar short documentary but with a slightly different focus. Specifically I would like to investigate further the influences and motivations that generated the specific flavor and style that is unique to Brazilian street art. What are the cultural, geographical, physical, social, and other factors that are at play here.

Next week I plan to discuss this project with several more people here in Sao Paulo. Hopefully I will be able to generate some interest and identify some leads that will help me transform this idea into a reality.

Design of the Cat Toy Base

Here is an update regarding the design of the base for the cat toy that I have been building for my Introduction to Physical Computing final project. This post is a long time coming - I planned to post this information several weeks ago but was forced to wait due to the general workload surrounding finals.

Unfortunately, I was not able to finalize this project by the end of the semester due to issues that I encountered with the stepper motors, and creating a system of gears and pulleys that are able to move the cat toy structure (I've already created a post with information regarding the stepper motor-related issues, I will review the issues encountered when creating the gear and pulley systems here). That said, first let's take a look at the design for the cat toy base.

The Design of the Cat Toy Base
When I started working on the design for this device I envisioned using an existing cat scratching post as the base for my creation. This was an ideal solution since these toys feature a strong base that can withstand the tug from cats. Unfortunately, I did not find any existing products in a form factor that can work with my vision of this toy.

Once I realized that I had to create my own base structure, I decided that I wanted to build it using recycled materials. Considering how much Sasha likes cardboard scratching posts and the amount of cardboard boxes that are discarded in NY, I decided to use cardboard as the primary material for the base. The main considerations that drove my design included: allowing sufficient space to house the arm, laser, speaker, and proximity sensor; creating a shape that would appeal to the cat and allow for easy scratching; and making sure that the base was stable enough to withstand a beating from Sasha.

Here are a few important notes about the sketch designs featured below: first off, the light brown areas illustrate the internal compartment of the toy base where the chips, sensors, and motors will be stored; secondly, the two protruding structures at the top of the base will hold the toy wand and the laser; lastly, for the initial version of the toy I have decided to remove the cat laser (this will of course be reflected in all future pictures related to this prototype).

The Structure that Supports Movement
The biggest challenge I have encountered in developing this prototype is designing and building the mechanism of motion for the wand. Once I was able to get the motors working properly (which was a challenge in and of itself), I started working on finding a solution for the structure that would hold the wand, and for transferring the motion from the motors to move the wand.

After a considerable amount of research I decided to purchase an erector to create the structure for the wand. The specific set that I purchased is pictured here. This is a great solution because the parts in this set can be easily combined and recombined to created a strong structure that supports different types of movement.

Finding a solution for the gear and pulley mechanism was much tougher. The first challenge was to understand how gears and pulleys work together, so that I could design a system and find the appropriate parts. After doing some initial research, I decided to use Lego Mindstorm gears to build my initial prototype. Unfortunately, this approach did not work because the gear connection to the shafts was too loose, especially after the motor heated up.

After talking to some colleagues at ITP (thank you Michael K), I realized that what I needed was gears with hubs and set screws similar to the one featured on this page. These types of gears can be fastened securely to shafts of slightly varying thickness. SDP-SI has by far the largest selection of gears and pulleys on the web. Unfortunately, these components are not cheap.

The solution that I ultimately selected was to purchase a set of gears from Eitech that is compatible with the shafts from my erector set. The Girders and Gears website was a great resource that helped me find this solution. This site features useful information about various types of building sets and related gears and pulleys. Unfortunately, I have not yet had a chance to test these new gears. I plan on doing so as soon as I return to New York in mid-January.

One additional approach that I considered was creating my own gears, using a 3D sketching program and a laser cuter. Here is a link to step-by-step instructions for designing and producing custom gear sets.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Here is a short video that I created to wish everyone a very happy new year. May 2010 bring much success, wealth, fullfilment and enjoyment to all of my friends, colleagues, and readers (if there are any of you out there). All the best to you and your families.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Creating a Collaborative Storytelling Experience

As luck would have it, I was assigned to present in Red's Application class during the last week of school. Needless to say, I was dreading having to juggles multiple final projects with this important assignment. This anxiety was only heightened by the stories of suffering from many of the groups that preceded us.

Now that I have lived through this insanely busy time I am happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project. It gave me a chance to collaborate with an awesome group of people, we were provided with the opportunity to respond to a very interesting speaker, and we were able to create a fun and collaborative way to end of semester.

Our task was to create a response to Jake Barton's presentation, which focused on collaborative storytelling installations and projects. Here is a link to my detailed notes from this class. To get started working on the presentation we met right after Jake's presentation. We quickly settled on a general direction - creating a collaborative experience that engaged the entire class in a storytelling exercise.

Development and Execution of Installation

After meeting with Todd and holding some additional brainstorm sessions, we decided to focus our response on creating a platform for first-year students to contribute their ITP stories for the development of a meta-narrative. After additional discussions we decided to keep things low-tech, and to limit the activities to the time and physical space of the class itself (we did not want to give other student's "homework" during finals).

The design of our installation was focused around a physical timeline, to which students would add their own stories using stickies or by drawing directly onto the surface itself. To inspire our peers we added a few initial elements to the timeline and we created a video featuring work from first-year students developed throughout the semester. Below you will find a short video overview of our development process, along with the video we developed for the event itself, and some pictures from the event.

Video Featuring Work from 1st Year Students

Pictures from Collaborative Storytelling Event

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunnyside Animation - Learning After Effects

For my final project in Comm Lab I partnered with Tamar Ziv to put the finishing touches on our After Effects animation. This project was inspired by Brazilian graffiti, old Library of Congress photos, and music from Deerhoof.

The graffiti images were all curated from a large selection of pictures I have collected from my trips to Brazil (here is a link to some of the original source materials); the LoC pictures were found on flickr; the Deerhoof track comes from Tamar's meticulous selection of this band's releases.

It took us two weeks and about 40 hours of work to put this 30-second piece together - I never knew how much work it took to put one of these together. The first week was extremely frustrating, we spent most of the time struggling to learn how to use After Effects. The second week was much more productive and effortless. I was actually enjoying working in After Effects when we wrapped up this project.

The biggest problem we encountered was associated to synching the music with the animation. To get these elements synched as best as possible we exported individual animation sequences and then put them together in Final Cut. In the coming weeks I plan on sharing my early notes and learnings regarding After Effects and Final Cut.

Cats vs. Bat Game - My Final ICM Final

Now that finals are finished I finally have some time to devote to this journal. Needless to say, a lot has happened during the last month that I have not yet shared here. Let's begin with an update regarding the ICM final.

Over the weekend I finished my final project for ICM, which is an updated version of the fangs invaders game that is titled "Cats vs Bats". This updated version of the game is almost unrecognizable from the previous one. Here is a link to an online version of the game (please note that you need to have a fast internet connection to play it because it is not web optimized), followed by a brief description of the game coupled with a list of the latest updates.

You can also download the game here: mac version | windows version.

Project overview: cats vs bats is simple space invader-like game. In this game, a small oriental shorthair cat named Sasha is our only hope to save the world against a swarm of diseased bats.

Though currently this project is screen-based only, I am working on developing a cat toy that will be used in conjunction with this application. A single joystick controller has been created that can be used to control either or both of these projects (so that you can play the game and with your cat at the same time). Also, the proximity of the cat to the toy will enable a player to earn bonus points in the Cats vs. Bats game.

Main updates: Here is an overview of the main updates that I have been working on over the past several weeks. Over the winter break I plan on delving deeper into a few of these areas (such as use of vectors to drive bat motion).
• Improve game scoring logic and add score to game play environment.
• Create an online high-score database.
• Improve animation by making flight patter more random and natural.
• Update look and feel of the game by adding back images and improving design.
• Include bonus points opportunities.
• Add stages with increasing levels of difficulty.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Creating Movement for the Cat Toy

Over the past couple of days I have struggled in my attempts to set up a stepper motor. Late last week my struggle continued as I tried to set-up three new stepper motors that I received for the cat that I am building. Having come home defeated I decided that the best course of action was for me to do some research regarding how stepper motors work so that I can improve my understanding and conceptual model of this component.

In the last hour I have discovered two really good overviews of how steppers work. The first is Mike Cook’s overview on his instructional blog; this is the second time that I link to Mike’s blog, he has a lot of great content for beginner's like me. This tutorial helped me finally understand how the coils are arranged and organized within the motor and how the stepping sequence is able to move the motor rotor through different positions. In retrospect it all seems obvious.

Another website that has content that is worth checking out is The tutorial here does not provide as thorough an overview of the inner workings of stepper motors. However, it does a better job at providing guidance for figuring out the proper wiring sequence of a stepper motor.

So what the hell did I learn about the topics mentioned above? Here is a brief overview but for more in-depth information check out the two links above.

Structure of the coils inside the motor
The coils in stepper motors are wrapped around a structure that surrounds the rotor. The number of times that the coils are wrapped around the rotor determines the number of steps required for the motor to make one full rotation. For example if the coils are wrapped around 48 times, then the motor would take 48 steps to complete one full rotation. Here is an image from Mike Cook’s site that illustrates this design.

To move the motor the coils are energized in sequence. Motors can be used in two different modes: full-step and half-step. When two coils are energized at any given time the motor moves in full step, which provides greater torque but less precision. When the motor is energized one coil at a time it provides greater precision of movement (twice the number of steps per rotation) but less torque. Here is another image from Mike's blog that demonstrates how full-step movement works.

Now that I understood how stepper motors work, I had to figure out the proper step and wiring sequence to get the motor to work properly. I started by re-checking all wire connections to ensure that I attached the leads from the motors to the appropriate control pins (via the transistors) and power source pins. This was a good thing because I realized that I had attached one of the power wires to a control pin.

Once I the wiring was set-up properly I was still experiencing issues with the stepper motors. They would turn on and spin for 10 to 20 seconds, then they would stop working. I met with Xiaoyang, one of ITP's residents, regarding this issue. He recommended that I test the power source voltage and amperage. The motor’s rating is 5 volts at 1 amp. Based on Xioayang’s advice and my research online, I decided that I needed to find a power source that delivered twice the current required by the motor.

I purchased a 2 amp transformer from Radio Shack that can be set to output between 3v to 7v. It is a great little tool, and it brought my motors to life! I was dancing around the table when this happened. It seems like I may actually be able to bring my cat toy to life. My next challenge was getting multiple motors to run smoothly together smoothly. The code samples that I've found and the stepper motor library are not appropriate for controlling multiple motors - more on this on my next post on this subject.

[note: most of this post was written during last weekend on December 4th]

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jake Barton Presentation Notes

So this week I am on the hook for Red's class presentation. Earlier today I attended class and got a chance to watch Jake Barton, founder and principal at Local Project, whose presentation we will need to respond to. Here are my notes from tonight's class. I'm keeping the presentation ideas private for now.

Local Project is a design firm that is focused on developing collaborative storytelling experiences using spatial and virtual media. Company focuses on media design portion of the equation; they partner with architecture and installation design firms to develop the physical design of the experiences.

Overview and reactions to key projects:

(1) Caring Aspiration - J&J Pavilion at the Beijing Olympics: Installation featured a series of stories told by people from many different parts of the world in their native tongue. Each story was captured in video in a vertical format and featured subtitles in two languages. The stories had been professionally video-taped and curated in the months leading up to the Olympics.

Reaction: this exhibition was Jake's least inspiring work in large part because the interaction has a strong top-down control structure compared to his other projects (e.g. StoryCorps, and 9/11 Memorial Museum). The stories that are featured are small in number and have all been recorded in a similar style. Due to the highly curated nature of this installation it is not able to reach collaborative storytelling platform status - it remains in the category of collaborative storytelling "installation".

(2) Official NYC Information Center: This city-funded information center was created to help tourists explore New York City. It was designed to bring an enhanced version of online-like browsing into the physical world. The space features numerous tabletop interactive maps, physical computing icons that represent virtual information, and other large screen displays (of course, all of these devices support eight languages). At the end of the experience tourists are able to get a customized NY guide or information printed, emailed, or sent via text message.

Reaction: I like the idea of this project because it focuses on leveraging physical space to help people navigate, interact with, and understand information related to New York City. I also appreciate how the project enables people to take with them a digital product of their interaction with the devices at this highly specialized location. I look forward to visiting this information center in the next couple of days.

(3) Brooklyn Historical Society: This project focused on highlighting Brooklyn's relationship to the abolition movement by highlighting specific locations in the neighborhood that have historical significance. These points of interests were used as sites for projections of pictures of residents of these areas from those times long past.

Reaction: I felt that this is one of Jake's less inspired projects. It's focus is primarily on the augmenting these locations with information about the past, there is no collaborative element in this piece.

(4) Jewish-Polish American Museum (? not sure about this name) - multiple exhibitions. The two projects that caught my attention included one that explored stories of Jewish immigrants to America with a focus on their reasons for migrating; and a second that created a space for museum goers where they could have a mediated interactions with others in their community to discuss important questions.

Reaction: I am really impressed by the second project that mentioned above because it totally changes the role of a museum within a community. It makes the museum a much a more progressive institution that embraces the community in a conversation about the current state of our society - rather than a space that offers an singular (even if sometimes varied) institutional perspective.

(5) StoryCorps [Link to Project Page]: This is an awesome project that was developed to capture stories about the lives of everyday american people, from their own perspective using physical installations in high-traffic areas. It provides two friends or family members with a recording booth for 45 minutes, offering the chance for one participant to interview the other. At the end of the session the two participants leave with a DVD copy of the conversation, and the recording is saved in the Library of Congress. All of this takes place in a relatively small recording booth that lives in kiosks located in several major US cities.

Reaction: I have known about this project for a long time from NPR, it is truly an amazing idea. I actually always wondered who had created StoryCorps. It is one of the coolest and best executed collaborative storytelling projects around. The physical aspect of the execution is a crucial element to the success of this project. The context adds a lot of meaning (importance) to the conversation.

(6) Make History 911 [Link to Project Page]: This is a web-based collaborative storytelling project about the history of september 11th. It allows users to add their stories, pictures and videos to the tapestry of stories that already exist on the site.

Reaction: This project has successfully provided people from all over the world with an opportunity to share their experiences related to september 11th. In the process each person has the opportunity to take part in writing the history about this important moment in our shared lifetime. I think this is a pretty cool way to change the way that history is written. It is definitely a storytelling platform.

(7) September 11 Memorial Museum: This large project features some interesting combinations of environmental media and collaborative storytelling. I was specifically interested by the way in which they are integrating the ability to post verbal comments (a behavior that is common only in virtual spaces) into the physical space. I also appreciate the plans to have people's interaction with the exhibition, and current events, to automatically impact the exhibition itself. This creates a much more dynamic experience that repositions museums as I previously pointed out).

Key Concepts:
  • Notion that we should use a collaborative approach to creating a public history.
  • Difference between a collaborative storytelling platform that enables people to tell their story to an installation that features small selection of curated stories.
  • Need for physical interfaces to be "walk-up" ready - this means that first time users are able to interact with the interface with little difficulty or embarassment.
  • Museums should look for ways to extend the experience beyond their walls by giving people something to take with them, such is information in a cell phone.
  • Museums re-envisioned as interactive spaces where communities can communicate about important issues and in the process impact the space (installation) itself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sao Paulo Street Art Experience

I have been a fan of graffiti for a long time. Since the 80’s I’ve been interested in urban culture with a special passion for graffiti. I am in no way an expert in this realm but I have enjoyed taking friends and family on graffiti hunting excursions in every major city that I visit.

I have long taken pride in opening my friends’ eyes to the art that can be found on grimy street corners and dilapidated buildings (not to mention the sewer, though I’ve never toured one of those). Sao Paulo is one of my favorite cities for street art, its graffiti is brimming with colorful excitement and wonderful storylines.

Concept: To share my experience of standing on the streets of Sao Paulo in front long expanses of wall covered with graffiti, I would like to create an outdoor installation in New York that features the sights and sounds of Sao Paulo.

Mechanism: I have not finalized the vision for this project so here is an overview of its initial form and processes.

The source material for the exhibition would be created during my trip to Sao Paulo from late December through mid January. Assets will include pictures that can be stitched together to create continuous renditions of bombed walls, sounds from each location will be recorded to capture the happenings and mood of each locale, and videos of interviews with local residents and artists.

The interviews with residents would focus on their perspective on this art form. The interviews with artists would also encompass an exploration of their inspirations from the streets and other media such as music, video, art, design, etc.

All of these assets would be used to synthesize two separate experiences. The installation would be designed to re-create immersive life-sized experiences of the graffiti. There would be two to four separate locations that could be set in the same space or spread throughout the city. For maximum effect the audience will be surrounded on two sides by video screens projecting specific locations in Sao Paulo.

Each location would feature art and sounds from specific neighborhoods coupled with Brazilian artifacts and delicacies such as street foods, beverages, signage, and even garbage. I would also like to explore enabling the audience to interact with the photos by casting shadows, or by touching the panels to leave imprints and their own “graffiti” on the pictures.

The online experience would feature all of the pictures and sounds from the installation. They would also be able to view the new “graffiti” added to the panels by gallery visitors. Videos that feature the interviews and other behind the scenes content would also be featured online, uploaded through YouTube or another similar service (, vimeo, etc).

A short list of ideal locations for this installation idea in New York include: roofdeck of the New Design High School, the lobby of the AIC Center (unlikely unless I take the big screens class), Bar 89, Rooftop Films (summer only).

Why Sao Paulo? I have to come clean and admit what most of you all already know: I am biased towards this city because I am originally from Sao Paulo and my family still lives there. It is also interesting to note that graffiti culture has thrived in Sao Paulo for a long time. Recently graffiti outnumbers outdoor advertisements in this city, since outdoor ads were banned a few years back (within city limits).

Next Steps: To create the my full vision will take several months of planning, however, I would like to do a mini trial run during my trip to Sao Paulo in December. Here is what I got take care of before I take off: enroll my cousin to join me on this project, contact the Choque Cultural gallery in SP to make initial contact, map out neighborhoods to scout for project.