Golan Levin: And we’re back. I’m Golan Levin, direc­tor of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon, and direc­tor of the Art && Code Festival. This is the final pre­sen­ta­tion at Art && Code: Homemade: Digital Tools, Crafty Approaches, Janury of 2021. And our final pre­sen­ter tonight is Kelli Anderson. 

Kelli Anderson is an artist, design­er, ani­ma­tor, and tin­ker­er who push­es the lim­its of ordi­nary mate­ri­als by seek­ing out pos­si­bil­i­ties hid­den in plain view. Her books have includ­ed a pop-up paper plan­e­tar­i­um, a book that trans­forms into a pin­hole cam­era, and a work­ing paper record. Intentionally low-fidelity, she believes that hum­ble mate­ri­als can undo black box­es and make the mag­ic of our world acces­si­ble. Ladies and gen­tle­men, and all friends, Kelli Anderson. 

Kelli Anderson: Hey you all. So, I want­ed to start here with the paper ani­mat­ed GIF that I con­tributed to the awe­some zine that we col­lec­tive­ly made. So this is a good thing to per­haps print out at home and make for a friend who needs a lit­tle help remem­ber­ing not to doom­scroll all day. 

So, thank you so much for hav­ing me, every­one. So I’ve been mak­ing home­made things from my one-room stu­dio apart­ment for over a decade now as I’ve been work­ing as an artist and exper­i­men­tal printmaker. 

A coder and animator. 

A pro­fes­sor and author. 

A paper­craft music video maker. 

And with­in these four walls, I’ve worked on secret brand redesigns from my desk. 

And then I’ve also designed everything—logos, menus, bags, wall­pa­pers, archi­tec­tur­al facades—for things like this one hun­dred year-old bagel and lox insti­tu­tion called Russ & Daughters. This is a facade I designed in Photoshop, which is not ide­al but def­i­nite­ly scrap­py. But we com­plet­ed our third restau­rant togeth­er in 2019. So, it’s work­ing out.

I’ve pub­lished two books from my desk here. 

And I’ve par­tic­i­pat­ed in small ways in two of the major protest move­ments of my gen­er­a­tion, Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. So I feel like stay­ing home­made, and stay­ing small and sort of in con­trol of my path has­n’t lim­it­ed what I’ve been able to do but rather has allowed me the free­dom to show up for the occa­sions and life and cul­ture that real­ly mat­ter to me. 

And like this paper ani­mat­ed GIF, I can’t say for sure that I under­stand exact­ly how it works? I can only under­stand the flexagon from frame to frame, real­ly, and I nev­er have had even more than like a one-year plan for my career? But my hands found a way to make it work and I can show you the extreme­ly scrap­py way that I make the things I do. 

So for me, hav­ing the free­dom to explore and tin­ker and wan­der to advance the plot has felt real­ly key. And I want to acknowl­edge that hav­ing the capac­i­ty to allow such uncer­tain­ty and anar­chism into one’s life is not a priv­i­lege that every­one has. 

An inter­est­ing case study in the ques­tion of how does one struc­ture a life and career are these two broth­ers that I feel all of the con­trast in the world resides with­in. This is J. Robert and Frank Oppenheimer. And both start­ed out with this preter­nat­ur­al tal­ent for sci­ence. Both were head­ed on a track, des­tined to become top physi­cists in their field. 

And Robert suc­ceed­ed on every count. He sort of gar­nered every pro­fes­sion­al ves­tige of suc­cess. He rose to the very top of this field, lead­ing the Manhattan Project and he became the father of the atom­ic bomb. And Frank, while equal­ly bril­liant, was com­plete­ly banned from doing pro­fes­sion­al work in his field due to an affil­i­a­tion with the Communist Party. 

So Frank, with his career and his lifestream stripped away by McCarthyism, moved to a ranch. He end­ed up farm­ing cat­tle for a lit­tle while. He taught some high school. And he even­tu­al­ly embarked on a path that no one had pre­vi­ous­ly tread, no one even saw coming. 

And what he built out of this exile was the real­iza­tion that the world need­ed a muse­um of human per­cep­tion to make sci­ence acces­si­ble and scrutable to every per­son. And so he began rais­ing the funds to build what would become The Exploratorium, which is a muse­um where vis­i­tors can use their hands and learn that the world’s seem­ing­ly mun­dane mate­ri­als all around us actu­al­ly con­tain real deep and pro­found magic. 

So Frank used his bril­liance to make that joy a pos­si­bil­i­ty in dis­cov­er­ing tin­ker­ing that sci­ence offers is con­ta­gious, while his broth­er J. Robert, who fol­lowed the highest-achieving path of suc­cess laid out for him as struc­tured by the field of physics, who won all of the prizes, found his way into cre­at­ing the most dan­ger­ous weapon of mass destruc­tion ever invented. 

I was a fel­low at the Exploratorium in 2019, in the before times. And while I was there I thought a lot about these broth­ers and their wild­ly diverg­ing fates and real­ly came to think­ing of them as rep­re­sent­ing the two sides of the coin of what we call tech­nol­o­gy offers us. One is about this like ongo­ing pur­suit of under­stand­ing, and the pur­suit of curios­i­ty. And the oth­er one is about the seek­ing of pow­er and destruction.

Since the pan­dem­ic hit, many of us I think feel like Frank on the cat­tle ranch. We’re trapped in exile in our own lives. So I want this talk talk to be an oppor­tu­ni­ty to think about what the des­ti­na­tions are on these two paths, and per­haps give your­self per­mis­sion to day­dream, and close your eyes, and imag­ine a more strange and per­son­al des­ti­na­tion for yourself. 

There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretend order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served. —Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs, who wrote my favorite design book of all time, The Death and Life of Great American Cities— I may be the only per­son who con­sid­ers this a design book, but she makes this point beau­ti­ful­ly that the world is full of all of this false order and all of this false struc­ture that does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly deserve our respect. And I think that the moment we tru­ly real­ize this, like the moment we inter­nal­ize this, is the moment we become empow­ered as cre­ative peo­ple, lis­ten­ing to our own rather than those externally-imposed imper­a­tives and structures. 

This frees us from our fixed assump­tion about what the world needs, what we should be mak­ing, what has to be done, what mate­ri­als we’re allowed to work with, and allows us to go straight for push­ing at the bounds of what’s pos­si­ble and just explore. And I’ve found design is real­ly the per­fect tool and the per­fect method­ol­o­gy to do this, because design does­n’t care what is sup­posed to work. Design does­n’t care what you’re sup­posed to do. Design only cares about what you can make. What can actu­al­ly be pro­to­typed. What type of graph­ic design actu­al­ly com­mu­ni­cates to the per­son look­ing at it. Everything is about tests and proofs of those tests. 

And it does­n’t require fan­cy tools. Like in my work I found that even the most ubiq­ui­tous low-tech mate­ri­als like…cheap mate­ri­als like paper and cheap plas­tic are capa­ble of reveal­ing new, amaz­ing facets of our real­i­ty. Cheap mate­ri­als in par­tic­u­lar, they scale dra­mat­i­cal­ly. So the same prin­ci­ples that work in tiny hand-held expe­ri­ences can be scaled up to a lev­el of space­craft, which is some­thing we’ll get into a lit­tle bit later. 

This is an ani­ma­tion that I made out of a pud­dle of water of Muybridge’s run­ning horse. I made it by cut­ting a sten­cil with my Craft ROBO vinyl cut­ter, which I might show you later.

And then I used a hydropho­bic coat­ing on the glass to cor­ral water into these shapes to make each one of these indi­vid­ual frames. 

When exper­i­ment­ing and try­ing to fig­ure out what projects to devel­op, I often think about Mary Oliver’s very sim­ple instruc­tions for liv­ing a life that we should pay atten­tion and be aston­ished, and then tell about it. And try to just remain pret­ty hon­est with myself and let­ting my aston­ish­ment lead me, and hope that oth­ers are charmed by it as well. 

This project real­ly rep­re­sents when I first got hooked on my own aston­ish­ment. So this is a wed­ding invi­ta­tion that I did about a decade ago for my friend, open source advo­cate Karen Sandler and her hus­band Mike. And it’s based on this idea that like, you can make a record play­er from almost noth­ing. That you can roll up a cone of paper, tape a nee­dle to it, and that’s enough to ampli­fy that sound, those vibra­tions, from those grooves into audibility. 

So this was a real­ly fun A/B test­ing process, because I bought acupunc­ture nee­dles, I bought sewing nee­dles, I bought all kinds of dif­fer­ent papers to try to test out the para­me­ters of what is going to make this lit­tle hand-held record play­er the loud­est. And mean­while Mike and Karen were writ­ing this real­ly adorable song invit­ing guests to the wed­ding. And we put it on a flexi disc, which is a total­ly clear and total­ly crap­py flex­i­ble acetate record. 

And you can see here that the cou­ple on it, they’re print­ed in black and all of the col­or you see is the page beneath. So that way there’s this inter­play that when you rotate that clear disk it lines up with the under­neath col­ors, and it com­pletes the cou­ple in all of these dis­guis­es. So, turn it 90 degrees and then you get Karen and Mike here play­ing music togeth­er. And anoth­er 90 degrees and they’re eat­ing and drink­ing and being mer­ry. And then final­ly grow­ing old together. 

And the rea­son that I did this was to A, entice peo­ple to actu­al­ly turn the record. But also so that we’d have a design fall­back jus­ti­fi­ca­tion in case the record did­n’t actu­al­ly play. Because even though I had exten­sive­ly pro­to­typed and A/B test­ed every sin­gle nee­dle and paper, there was always the pos­si­bil­i­ty that like, the one #7 nee­dle I had hap­pened to fit in the groove prop­er­ly and then the 300 I ordered in bulk were not gonna work. So, always a per­il. But it did work, and this is how does. So, the device cor­rals minute sound­wave vibrations:

Okay. So, you could hear the actu­al record­ing ver­sus the orig­i­nal song. And it was the fun­ni­est thing because I feel like all of my friends are the type of peo­ple who sit around and fuss over like, record fideli­ty and com­plain about how some obscure album isn’t in Bandcamp or what­ev­er. But peo­ple real­ly seemed to like this thing that did not sound good, did not work well, only had one song. In fact it was so pop­u­lar it went viral. And I’m stuck with this like, real­ly weird ques­tion but it turned out to be a very gen­er­a­tive ques­tion of like, isn’t the whole pur­pose of high-tech things…don’t we want these tech­nolo­gies to func­tion well? 

And you know, I thought about this. Like, why is it that these lo-fi, glued and taped-together things are so appeal­ing and and endear­ing in a world where we can make any­thing we want to hap­pen on a screen hap­pen. And I even­tu­al­ly real­ized, after just a lot of read­ing, that there’s this weird dimen­sion in our rela­tion­ship with our things that mod­ern tech just has­n’t real­ly pro­vid­ed or solved yet. 

Modern tech gives us what­ev­er we want. It’s like win­ning at this game of wish ful­fill­ment. It’s kind of its whole deal. But what it does­n’t do in its black box-ness is make the world leg­i­ble to us in human terms in the way that we con­nect to the universe. 

Bret Victor writes about how the scat­ter plot graph was actu­al­ly a real­ly impor­tant human inven­tion because it was able to make infor­ma­tion bioavail­able to human per­cep­tion. This is just a lit­tle demon­stra­tion of that. If you look at the num­bers on the left in the spread­sheet, it’s real­ly hard for your brain to parse that. This is exact­ly how a com­put­er wants those num­bers, but as humans it’s more dif­fi­cult to read. But as soon as you take those num­bers and put them on a map, it opens them up to our spa­tial rea­son­ing and sort of like touchy-feely per­cep­tion that we’ve honed as a super­pow­er over thou­sands of years, just from nav­i­gat­ing the world spa­tial­ly. So our more tan­gi­ble rea­son­ing skills imme­di­ate­ly flag like, alright what’s the out­lier? You can find the high point, the low point. You can see the pat­tern, the spread. You can see where most of them are con­cen­trat­ed. You can imme­di­ate­ly start read­ing this data that was com­plete­ly obscured to your brain before. 

And so I start­ed think­ing that you know, we real­ly intel­lec­tu­al­ly think and inter­act and intu­it a lot about the world through out bod­ies, and through touch, through fric­tion and resis­tance, much more than any­one talks about. It’d kind of odd and, you know, often­times awk­ward to talk about sen­so­ry expe­ri­ence. When I was study­ing art his­to­ry, we often­times called describ­ing a painting—you’d be like oh, that’s like danc­ing about archi­tec­ture. Which is why I think it’s not done as much. 

The ner­vous sys­tem does­n’t end with the brain alone. It extends all the way to the skin. So, every­thing we know as humans is an event on the skin, whether it’s light hit­ting our reti­nas, or sound vibrat­ing our eardrums, or mol­e­cules hit­ting our taste buds. We are sim­ply hard-wired as peo­ple to have these very deep and rich intel­lec­tu­al and philo­soph­i­cal exchanges with how we inter­face with the phys­i­cal world. 

So since we’re phys­i­cal beings, ana­log tech was always in the back­ground, secretly…you know, in addi­tion to doing the wish ful­fill­ment thing, it was ful­fill­ing the sec­ondary func­tion of teth­er­ing us, us mate­r­i­al beings, to the larg­er uni­verse of mate­r­i­al things. So like, spend­ing time fuss­ing with an anten­na to try to find a radio sta­tion pro­vides a con­nec­tion point between our bod­ies and our minds, and this tech­nol­o­gy that we’re work­ing with. 

So, know­ing that and want­i­ng to intro­duce for exam­ple chil­dren who may have grown up with dig­i­tal devices into the mag­ic of the phys­i­cal world, I start­ed writ­ing these books that teach through phys­i­cal inter­ac­tion and touch, mak­ing these hum­ble paper tech­nol­o­gy things that could func­tion as a direct inter­face in the won­der of physics. So this first one is called This Book is a Camera.

And it’s a very lit­er­al title. It lets the user/reader inter­act with light and learn about how light works through using it as a pin­hole cam­era. So you load pho­to paper into the back of it in the dark. You take a pho­to. And then you unload it in your bath­room and you can devel­op it in instant cof­fee and bak­ing soda and water. 

It takes pret­ty good pho­tos. They’re large for­mat, so they’re like four inch­es by five inches. 

And a year lat­er, this follow-up came out. This was a larg­er col­lec­tion of devices that asked my favorite gen­er­a­tive ques­tion in the world of what can paper do. And answer­ing with six dif­fer­ent paper tech­nolo­gies. So peo­ple can take their hand and tin­ker with con­cepts of time, and con­cepts of how cal­en­dars are orga­nized, con­cepts of encod­ing and encryp­tion, play with the direc­tion­al­i­ty of sound waves, play with pitch, play with how com­put­ers draw math­e­mat­i­cal­ly; a spiro­graph is basi­cal­ly like an ana­log ver­sion of openFrameworks. 

And also how the stars in this skies work. This is anoth­er super lit­er­al title. There’s a lit­tle plan­e­tar­i­um inside the book. 

What we call "craft" and what we call "tech" has more to do with the dominance of the Western Industrial Revolution than it does with actual function

Another argu­ment that I want to flag, that the strait­jack­et of the sort of struc­tured pro­fes­sion­al­ized think­ing in tech lim­its us, is that we tend not to draw upon the full toolk­it of human dis­cov­ery because the line between craft and tech is often­times so rigid. Which has more to do I think with the dom­i­nance of the Western Industrial Revolution than it does with craft tech­niques’ abil­i­ty to pro­duce func­tion. And so we might con­sid­er look­ing to non-Western cul­tures for their design wis­dom when faced with these high-tech challenges. 

For exam­ple, these tech­ni­cal origa­mi pat­terns are being used to solve prob­lems in space­craft design over at JPL NASA. What I’m show­ing you is a set of riso­graph origa­mi tes­sel­la­tions that talk about paper as tech and explain that paper has a mate­r­i­al mem­o­ry that we can pro­gram by fold­ing. Once you fold a piece of paper, it nev­er for­gets where that line is and it always wants to redi­rect pres­sure. This is a series of dif­fer­ent paper fold­ing activ­i­ties that pro­vide dif­fer­ent chore­o­gra­phies of motion redi­rect­ing through these com­plex net­works of folds. 

This one is my favorite. This is the Miura-Ori fold, which con­verts an inert sheet of paper into a multi-directional paper spring. And this form was devel­oped by Koryo Miura, who is an astro­physi­cist who drew from the ancient tra­di­tion of origa­mi— So he envi­sioned the Miura-Ori fold as a solu­tion to of all things, a satel­lite design problem. 

This [1995] Space Flyer specif­i­cal­ly. If you Google Manan Arya—I have his name typed onto this slide—on YouTube, you can learn more about this thing. It need­ed an array of shift­ing solar pan­els to track with the sun using min­i­mal ener­gy. So that’s how origa­mi came in to solve this problem. 

Beyond paper, Kat-Ku Kia‘i Mauna” [@awahihte on Twitter] writes that she hates the term bas­ket weav­ing.” It’s so often used as a short­hand for some­thing irrel­e­vant and use­less. That there’s so much math and plant care, plan­ning, sym­bol­ism, sto­ry, and skill that goes into bas­ket weav­ing that it’s set­tler arro­gance to dis­miss these knowl­edge sys­tems. There’s a whole lot of knowl­edge sys­tems that we don’t think to tap into because they come out of these dif­fer­ent craft traditions. 

So, in my work there has been this trend of scal­ing down these large-scale con­cepts into hand-held tiny things. But now that we are in 2021 I feel like all of the projects I’m work­ing on this year are…ballooning sort of out of con­trol. So I’m just going to show you a lit­tle bit about what’s on my desk right now. 

So this year I am work­ing with Letterform Archive’s pub­lish­ing pro­gram, and I’m mak­ing a book that demon­strates typo­graph­ic con­cepts with sev­en­teen dif­fer­ent paper gad­gets. So…yeah. I made a one-page pop-up book, a six-page pop-up book, and now we’re like, jump­ing to sev­en­teen pages. But all the pro­to­types are at the print­er, and I’m writ­ing the essays, doing the graph­ic design now. This is a rough pro­to­type of the cov­er that I’m show­ing you. 

And with this book, I’m explor­ing these mechan­i­cal idioms to explain the sto­ry of type tech­nol­o­gy, which pro­gress­es from the mechan­i­cal to this flat dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence where all type is pret­ty much on screens now. 

And the book large­ly focus­es on this tran­si­tion­al moment from met­al type to screen tech­nol­o­gy, so I’m employ­ing this neon sort of RGB aes­thet­ic to design. This is the let­ter A page. 

This is a reject­ed pro­to­type, but it sort of sums up what I’m doing here. So, here I was try­ing to a cre­ate phys­i­cal ana­log for that expan­sive feel­ing of vari­able or para­met­ric type on slid­ers. You could hold this and all of these let­ters turn into like their extend­ed form as you go ahead and pull that tab. 

The essays focus on the notion that type is an impos­si­bly micro­cos­mic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of cul­ture that’s ever-changing. And that the changes in the world, and the changes that we see through­out his­to­ry and tech­nol­o­gy are also per­cep­ti­ble if you look at type. It just hap­pens in this tee­ny tiny sub­tle scale. 

So I’m hop­ing the book answers ques­tions like you know, when I see warped and dis­tort­ed and pro­ject­ed type, like you do in film noir posters for exam­ple, why does it feel like psy­che­delia, by trac­ing its aes­thet­ic ori­gin back to the source. So, this is the spread for the let­ter J, and it’s all about the aes­thet­ics of light pro­jec­tion, of pro­ject­ing a two-dimensional shape on to three-dimensional envi­ron­ments and how that warps and manip­u­lates type. 

So it’s an expe­ri­ence you can have in your bath­room, but it has the inten­tion of con­jur­ing up ref­er­ences to like, The Joshua Light Show, Andy Warhol’s Plastic Exploding thing, inevitable…Brion Gysin’s med­i­ta­tion device. 

And also ties into the basic mechan­ics of pho­to­let­ter­ing, which rose dur­ing this time peri­od as an alter­na­tive to met­al type. This method allowed for a ton of exper­i­men­ta­tion, which is why we see all of this warp­ing and dis­tort­ed shapes in graph­ic design of this time. It also allowed type­faces to be devel­oped faster because they did­n’t have to be cast in lead. 

Another 60s zeit­geist actu­al­ly is why do cer­tain type­faces like Eurostile—I nev­er pro­nounce it right. This is a hand-drawn ver­sion of [indis­tinct]. Why do these shapes always feel so mod? So this is a pro­to­type for the let­ter R page. It’s cre­at­ed out of six­teen dif­fer­ent spin­ning disks. 

The ani­ma­tion of these disks works sim­ply through V‑folds, which is kind of the sim­plest form in paper engi­neer­ing. Paper engi­neer­ing’s all about tak­ing one basic form and sort of like frac­tal­ing it out in a crazy way. So each one rotates on these hooks and then the cir­cles rotate [inaudi­ble].

But the answer to why it feels so mod, like [Anagrama?] on the dash­board in 2001: A Space Odyssey is because all of these let­ter­forms, these wide, extend­ed let­ter­forms from the 60s are built upon a dif­fer­ent shape than oth­er let­ters have been. 

They’re built upon the shape of a super­el­lipse. Which is a shape that came on pret­ty strong in the 60s, and then went out of vogue real­ly quick­ly. Sort of for­ev­er to be asso­ci­at­ed with this moment in time. The super­el­lipse is a post-World War II inven­tion which is not quite organ­ic, not quite geo­met­ric. There’s a cer­tain left of tech­no­log­i­cal pre­ci­sion and indus­tri­al pre­ci­sion required to man­u­fac­ture the shape.

It was iden­ti­fied and named by a Danish poet and recre­ation­al math­e­mati­cian, Piet Hein for his 1959 pro­pos­al for a redesign of a round­about in Stockholm. He explained the shape’s aes­thet­ic pres­ence as a com­pro­mise. That in the whole pat­tern of civ­i­liza­tion, there have been these two ten­den­cies, one toward straight lines and one toward cir­cu­lar lines. And each one has its draw­backs. And so he invent­ed the shape called the super­el­lipse to solve this.

And it made its way, as indus­try was able to pro­duce this pre­ci­sion shape, onto all of the indus­tri­al design of the time. Onto TV screens, the shape of plates. 

He even made this like…this is called a super­egg. It’s a toy. And the two options are it can sit upright, or it can roll on its side.

So, yeah. This also made its way into typog­ra­phy of the time.

I’m run­ning out of time so I’m going to be fast.

So…I’ve got to tell you this sto­ry. So in 1968, when the Vietnam War nego­ti­a­tions were hap­pen­ing in Paris they could­n’t agree on the shape of the table. Should they have a rec­tan­gu­lar table, should they have a cir­cu­lar table. And ulti­mate­ly they made the nego­ti­a­tion table in the shape of a super­el­lipse as a com­pro­mise between these two oppos­ing geo­met­ric tendencies.

So yeah. That’s why those shapes feel mod. So I’m just gonna gra­tu­itous­ly scroll past a cou­ple oth­er pro­to­types. This is the mechan­i­cal O. I was gonna talk all about mechan­i­cal sig­nage in Las Vegas.

This one is all about Wim Crouwel, and I just put my URL in there in case you want to learn more about this book, since I’m kind of speed­ing fast.

So these are all pro­to­types I just made on my desk with like spray paint and tape and glue and paper.

And I’m just gonna show you two more things real­ly quickly. 

Another project that I’m scal­ing up. I’ve been research­ing this con­cept of moire mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, where you take a screen with aper­tures in one peri­od and lay it over a print­ed grid of dots with the same peri­od, and it cre­ates this mag­ni­fi­ca­tion effect. 

So I’ve been play­ing with this at a small scale in books, but I’m scal­ing it up this year. I’ve start­ed to work on pro­to­typ­ing a clock based on this con­cept, where time comes and goes. So this is a clock with a whole bunch of lit­tle tiny 2s and 3s that scales as you rotate it.

I’ve also been mak­ing a more com­plex record play­er as part of a larg­er book about sound in the same vein as the oth­er two books that I’ve made.

And then this, I just want­ed to show you…I don’t think we have time. But in case we have time to walk over and see the rest of my stu­dio. This is the most recent project I just fin­ished. This is a stop-motion I made for the New Public festival.

So as you can see, I’m real­ly obsessed with this idea of like, craft mate­ri­als being phys­i­cal­ly pro­grammed. So this N was purpose-built designed to turn into this P. When I pulled on a string, it cas­cad­ed into all these lit­tle geo­met­ric shapes rolling up on each oth­er. So I love that. I feel like it is sort of a func­tion that my eyes can fol­low, and I think it helps me con­nect my human sens­es. And I think about sort of like the endur­ing lega­cy and feel, as well as the exper­i­men­ta­tion that’s offered by these dif­fer­ent craft methods.

So yeah. I think I went a lit­tle bit over, Golan. I’m so sor­ry, but that’s what I have.

Golan Levin: Thank you, so much Kelli for gift­ing us with this view onto your work.

We are a lit­tle bit over time and there’s been a great request com­ing from the Discord where all the chat’s hap­pen­ing, which is rather than hav­ing you answer with words, I won­der if you could just take your cam­era over and just give us a glimpse that we can con­sume with our eyes, if we could see your desk or your stu­dio. There’s a lot of curios­i­ty to sort of see the space you work in. Which is some­thing that we don’t get in the nor­mal kind of talk.

Kelli Anderson: Yeah. Totally. So every­thing’s a mess, and it always is, but this is my very long desk. I made it out of IKEA cab­i­nets. And so there’s a lot of stor­age there. I cut all of my paper stuff and all of the sheet plas­tic on this machine, which is called a Craft ROBO. It’s a vinyl cut­ter. There’s also one called a Cricut. There’s also a Silhouette.

And this is my set, which is kind of destroyed right now. But that’s how I made the New Public thing. It’s basi­cal­ly all of these lit­tle geo­met­ric shapes, and then there’s strings that come down. I could­n’t get it in one take. It was like six­ty takes. But that’s what com­put­ers are for. 

So yeah. I try to do the things that com­put­ers do well on a com­put­er, and then do the things that com­put­ers don’t do well like shad­ow and tex­ture and lit­tle phys­i­cal sounds and stuff, all of that physically.

This is a ran­dom door I have with the entire con­tents of my ABC pop-up book taped to it. So that’s how I know what I’m gonna write about and what the pop-ups are. 

And then in here, this is kin­da like my garage kind of. Like I have a let­ter­press. I have stor­age for print­ed things. I recent­ly got—this is my favorite thing in the world right now. This is a paper drill. So I can make lit­tle note­books and stuff. 

So yeah, that’s pret­ty much it. I’ve been here like twelve years, and so every­thing you’ve seen me make has hap­pened here and I nev­er leave my house, even before the pandemic.

Levin: Kelli, thank you so much for shar­ing with us.

Further Reference

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