Archive for the ‘Interactive’ Category

Both Sides

Both Sides ( is a website I built to show evidence of votes where Republican and Democratic legislators in Congress have differed greatly. The aim is to show cases where the “both sides” narrative (ie, “both sides are really just two sides of the same coin”) falls apart. The hope is that prospective voters and non-voters, no matter their political stripe, will see that the balance of power between the two parties can and does make a difference.

This site was inspired by a classic reddit post showing a list of important votes where both parties dramatically diverged in their votes. I’m hoping to provide a lasting, easy-to-find archive of these votes, one that will grow over time through a feature where users can suggest more Congressional votes that fit the bill (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Covid By State is a covid tracker I built to view normalized curves of covid cases for US states overlaid against one another. The site has received over 100,000 visits by over 60,000 unique visitors.

The site uses the wonderful Covid Tracking Project, an open-source tracking and data API project supported by The Atlantic.

Check out the project on github.

CRA Newserator

Newserator is a custom RSS aggregator that I built to break the filter bubble effect in online news consumption.  It allows a user to simultaneously view news feeds from both sides of the political spectrum, filtered by reputation and also keywords.

The feeds are curated in an evolving list of media sources, according to a private set of criteria.  At some point, convening an actual editorial board to oversee the list of feeds is planned.

The host site, Citizens Rights Alliance, is an advocacy site dedicated to the intersection of the Horseshoe Theory as it pertains to Civil Rights.

The goal is to expand minds and illuminate common ground.

Give it a try.

FF Draft Mocker

In the world of Fantasy Football, draft prep is everything.  Here’s a little tool I built for a friend; it consumes draft position data and helps the user predict their team based on position and depth chart.

The tool runs draft simulations from any or all spots in a given draft, and also allows the user to select form various common scoring systems and snake vs straight-line draft formats.  (For an interesting look at the math of the snake pattern, see this stackoverflow thread).

Draft Mocker

Draft Mocker

N^ The Game

N^ The Game

N^ The Game is an original board game in development, currently in the playtesting phase.  N^ comes out of some thoughts about game design, resources, and geography: N^ is a game where players compete for resources, but they do not dominate or take away one another’s territory.  Don’t worry – there is plenty of deviousness and strategy, and common resources are limited.  In my mind, this represents a close analog to our current geopolitical situation, where major powers are unlikely to risk all out war, but will formulate and reformulate devious plans to capture resources / deny competitors.  The direct cartographic inspiration is the situation at the north pole of our planet (hence the name).  This is a game for 2, 3, 4, or 6 players, and alliances will naturally form and break (heh heh).  This mechanics / play of the game also take some inspiration from cellular automata, particularly Conway’s Game of Life, and the idea of game pieces “surviving” based on certain population criteria.  (There are also certain similarities here with the venerable game of Go.)  As for the winning conditions, there are also ideas operating in this game about cooperation and resources.  The competition is strident, but everyone ends the game with the same pieces and territory as they started with.

N Logo
The single logo
Preparation of the game pieces
Preparation of the game pieces

Update 7/23/2015: Chicago Playtesting


A new board direction, and getting some rule tweaks down.  An interesting iteration.

Update 7/17/2014: Chicago Playtesting

Winning Position from July 17 Playtesting; second iteration
Winning Position from July 17 Playtesting; second iteration

Here’s the winning position from our July 17 playtesting session, working with a 5-player version and some great new rules iterations.  Coming along nicely now, working on the balancing out.

Update 3/24/2014: ProtoSpiel Milwaukee

Playtesting N^ at ProtoSpiel Milwaukee
Playtesting N^ at ProtoSpiel Milwaukee

Had a great time playtesting N^ The Game (among others) at ProtoSpiel Milwaukee this weekend.  We went through a couple of different rules iterations, and overall I was quite pleased with the way the game played out.  Thanks to Scott and Wooz especially for their insightful comments and gameplay, and we had a great time playing their games as well!

BRCA Code Animation

Arts of Courage Fundraiser.  Projected Animation.  Chicago, 2013.

This regenerating bit of code art was originally intended to be a more literal simulation of various rates and statistics among BRCA gene carriers. When doing initial research, however, I was astounded at some of the figures – the relative rarity of this mutation in the general population, and the people in my life who are among those facing this challenge. What does it mean to be selected for a life of vigilance, to contemplate one’s own likely distress? I decided to keep the variables in the piece closer to where my imagination placed them while building it, because to me, that says something as well. The simulation – such as it is – runs independently and differently every iteration, and is so – like one’s own genetics – largely beyond direct control. I find myself watching the various “lives” of the iterations and rooting for them.

View a live demo here.

A still from a run of the BRCA animation
A still from a run of the BRCA animation

Flowering Open

This is an application I wrote in Processing to act as a meditative visualizer for my wife during our pre-labor practice and meditation.

After hearing that it can be helpful for a laboring woman to have a point of visual focus and to concentrate on imagery of an opening flower (to help everything open up that needs to), I built this full-screen visualizer to play during our breathing sessions.  We brought it along to the delivery room, but let’s just say anyone who wants to whip out a laptop on a woman in active labor has my sympathy for what follows.

Fluids – A Vector-Based Particle System

This project began as an exploration into programming for fluid dynamics.  That research acquainted me with the subject of vector fields and how they represent the behavior of fluids and gases.  This thread of investigation led me to the world of cellular automata, including Conway’s beautiful Game of Life.

While this project doesn’t approach the subletly or revelatory power of that fundamental experiment, it does include dozens of discrete particle objects, each following its own destiny through the vector field, becoming affected by what it travels through, by the other particles that it meets along the way, and leaving trails as it veers around.  There’s also a certain amount of intrinsic randomness built into the system, some of which can be adjusted by the performer in real time.

The system is also built to accept an incoming stereo audio signal and adjust the particles based upon the audio feed, which can be run in live through an input or make use of a computer’s built-in mic.

This project was originally created to be a stand-alone app meant to run full-screen on a laptop hooked to a projector for a performance. There was also a web-friendly version created, although it’s no longer as web-friendly as it was when created, since that version was in Flash.

Future plans are to port the project to Processing or WebGL.

Bride of Acacias

Chopin Theatre. Design / Video / Sound. Chicago, 2006

A whilrwind of a one-woman play, this biographic piece traveled around Iran and to Europe and back, following the life of legendary Iranian film-maker Forough Farrokhzad.

Working with source video brought from Iran by the playwright and my own thematic motion graphics, the designer and I came up with a model that would work both as a scenic backdrop and as a metaphor for a woman who often looked at the world through the barriers of her identity.

{ photos by gretchen werner }

Window Gazing

Glass Curtain Gallery.  Interactive Media Installation. Chicago, 2006.

This piece was created using Director and an EZIO device for the physical sensors, which were activated by touchable objects arrayed before the viewer.  All the video clips were triggered by interactivity with the viewer touching elements arrayed on a sculptural table-window assembly.  The video itself was a rear projection through the assembly using a coated glass preparation on a repurposed window.

Sounds and video clips are grouped into narrative “chapters” telling the story of the loss of a loved one.  The sound and video groups are randomly played depending on what the user touches, so the user is participating in a free-flowing montage of appropriated “memory”.

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