jamodei – Interactive Manufactory – Weird Shapes in Public – check in


Packing and Cracking – Getting Weird Shapes Out in Public

NC Gerrymandered Districts
NC’s Gerrymandered Districts ready for laser cutting into coasters (and other weird shape interactions)


I will be taking my pass for this project. Nonetheless, here is where my research for this project is currently at, and where I am interested in taking these ideas in the future.

I am quite busy with tech rehearsals for my video/projection design of Atlas of Depression  in the School of Drama (Which is open April 17-19).

Atlas of Depression tech still
Tech process photo! Using ISF shaders to create affective landscapes and manipulate live video feeds, too.


‘Packing and Cracking’

I am working on creating/writing/producing an interactive, map-based theater project called ‘Packing and Cracking’ that confronts and explores the harsh realities of gerrymandering in my home state of North Carolina. My collaborator, Rachel Karp, and I have describe this project as:

“A multimedia mapmaking event, ‘Packing and Cracking’ explores redistricting–and the widespread manipulation of redistricting known as gerrymandering–in America today. ‘Packing and Cracking’ focuses on redistricting in that state, whose maps have been so racially and partisanly manipulated that it has led to the state no longer being considered a democracy. Set on a theater-sized map of North Carolina, with the audience arranged across it to match the state’s population demographics and distribution, ‘Packing and Cracking’ uses cutting-edge redistricting software and North Carolina’s particular redistricting story to draw and redraw district lines around audience members in real time, demonstrating how easy and precise districting can be and how little the people affected are involved.”

Weird Shapes

The main idea behind this project is to put the weird, gerrymandered shapes that constitute these districts into everyday objects that people can interact with. The first impulse was to make these odd shapes visible so that discussion around them and what they were could happen. I was inspired by this project that does this with jewelry.   At first I wanted to use Shapeways to mass produce a cheaper, and more distributable version of this project – or one where people could upload their own districts. After our discussion just replicating this project was not interesting enough on its own, and I moved on to the idea of mixing failure with these weird shapes. I did, however, make and order a cheaper version of this necklace with a an engraved hashtag that arrives tomorrow.

NC-6 Necklace
“A diamond is forever, but a district lasts a decade.”

Currently, my interest is in creating a website where people can order a variety of household/everyday objects cut out in gerrymandered shapes. The hope is that the shapes of these objects will make the use of the object result in failure – and hopefully draw attention to the immense complexity surrounding gerrymandering via humorous failure. I want to begin the process of having people place their own voter disenfranchisement – as a result of gerrymandering – into their own body through their performance with the failed objects. For example, I am hoping to to cut the first image in this post out as a set of drinking cup coasters in proportional scale to each other. This would result in some of the very compact districts being useless as a coaster, and some of the large districts with odd holes in them silly to use, too.  I am in the process of getting the laser cutter training at the school of drama, and will make this particular item available on the my Glitch-based site via the Ponoko API. Other ideas for failed objects include:

  • Silicon oven mitts that make it hard not to burn yourself because of the gerrymandered districts.
  • Weird shaped pillows that make it hard to sleep.
  • Disposable tissues that make it hard to blow your nose.
  • Custom cut sticky-not pads that make it hard to take notes.
  • Tote bags that are not good for holding items.