— sarah makes a blog

This past Saturday, I worked as a mentor with Hack it Back: a program created by Paty Zablah that aims to teach media literacy to teen girls by helping them identify sexism & create a project to re-appropriate the offensive messages. I worked with two extremely bright and talented students, Petal (12) and Lauren (14).

Our conversation began with a discussion about dress code in schools, but quickly moved to video games. Both girls are gamers, and they were incredibly in tune with which games used only male characters or favored male audiences. They taught me so much! I learned that Pokemon was one of the first games to start including more diversity in their characters. We all agreed that this was a smart marketing tactic, but that it also shows that female and non-white audiences want to play games as much as the male, white audience. Another cool fact they shared was that Super Smash Bros. designer Masahiro Sakurai was inspired to add more female characters to the next version of the game after the birth of his daughter. They had dozens of stories and references about how women are represented in games. Fantastic.

So we decided to create something that re-imagined female game characters as women in the real world with high-powered careers. Because of our time constraint, we decided to choose 1 character to make a project about: Princess Peach: CEO of DelMonte Peaches. Lauren was interested in working with animation & illustration, and Petal wanted to learn code. Lauren created storyboards, grabbed a Wacom tablet, and started expertly drawing out the characters.

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I thought working in Processing would allow Petal to experiment with code, and also assemble Lauren’s illustrations into an animation. Petal had never programmed before, so it was an exciting challenge getting her introduced to the syntax. She wanted to create a Warhol-inspired picture of peach cans to be on display in Princess Peach’s office. We started with 1 picture to help her understand how to create a variable, load an image, draw an image, and put a filter on it. She took off and did the rest herself!


We then loaded Lauren’s images into a sketch and created a simple timer to display them as an animation, added some sound, and voila!

Here is the finished product:

In the beginning we wanted the viewer to believe Princess Peach was yelling for help, assuming her usual role as the damsel in distress. After Mario comes running, it’s revealed that he’s actually an employee of Peach’s. Lauren and Petal also discussed that they didn’t want the project to suggest role reversal as a solution to anti-feminist media, which I thought was an incredibly insightful note on their part.

I was so proud of all of their hard work! It was amazing how much they completed in just a few hours. Looking forward to mentoring with Hack it Back again soon!


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CLOUDS is screening at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23rd, 9PM. Tickets are free! Visit cloudsdocumentary.com for more info. So proud to have been one of the many collaborators on this film.

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Pet project based on lyrics from Drake’s  Nothing Was The Same and ridiculous conversations with Roopa V.

more to come!


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Proud to be one of the top 25 outstanding thesis projects chosen by the faculty last year. Congrats to my colleagues! You can read more about my project #nightTweets on my website.

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I’ve decided to leave the FUSE team at MSR to spend more time at my artist/research residency at ITP. (In a strangely timely way, it was three years ago today I found out I was accepted to ITP!) My last day was Friday, after a week of exciting press publishing the project I worked on with Kati London. I also had the great fortune of working with Cory Forsyth and Matthew Beale of 201-Created.

Our site, HereHere, pulls in data from NYC’s 311 calls and gives the neighborhoods of New York personalities & opinions about what’s happening in their local area. We’re hoping to give residents of NYC a little more insight as to what’s happening around them, and the ability to track the chatter of their neighbors in an interesting way. The project has a lot of potential and it’s tough to be leaving just after launch, but I’m looking forward to following its progress.

You can learn more about our site in the articles below and of course at herehere.co. Thanks again to the FUSE Team for their ongoing support– Lili, Colleen, Jenny, et al– and of course to Kati for starting this whole crazy journey. It’s been a great run! So glad to have been a part.





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A few students from a course I co-taught at ITP last semester got their emotive pedestrian crossing signal project written up on FastCo! Way proud.


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The Big Screens show was hurricane-free this year, and the night went swimmingly! Some shots of the programs & visuals I designed with Danne Woo.






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The second ITP Big Screens Show in 2013 is coming up! I designed the email invite, and Danne and I spray-painted the old TV which we’ll use to preview the projects the night of the event.


the TV


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This week, Tom Igoe asked me to create a template for his students so they could laser-cut a piece that fit tightly on the standard 12V stepper motor pictured below. After a bit of trial and error (see also: misreading the calipers ~8x) I was able to get a piece with a tight fit. I designed it into an arrow for Tom’s demonstration After handing it over to Tom, he said “this is exactly how I would’ve done it!” which is probably the best compliment I’ve received all year, short of hearing him laughing hysterically during my thesis presentation in May.

Download the PDF template with preserved illustrator editing capabilities here! > stepper_arrow

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Red Burns’ memorial for the ITP family was held at NYU on November 2nd. With help from my colleague Antonius Wiriadjaja, I designed a wearable LED throwie kit for each of the guests to assemble & wear in honor of Red. We wanted the guests to be able to make something with their hands, as well as have the final result embody the “maker” spirit of ITP.

We were so pleased with the final result! People had fun putting the kits together, and seeing all the little red lights glowing in the auditorium was a very unifying experience. Photos from the event to come.

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