Note from Enrique Allen: Please take a quick creativity break (even if you’re super busy just write the first thing that comes to mind from any of the following prompts). Have fun, comment below, share a picture sketch, &/or tweet @500startups
Now, if you’re interested in our intention…
One of the insights I learned from the Stanford dschool environments collaborative is that you need to “set the stage” for people to express themselves with creative confidence. Entrepreneurs working at 500S should know that they can take control of the set and intentionally manipulate props for the best performance- whether that be Demo Day, fireside chats, lectures, video streaming, improv etc.
Unfortunately most commercial buildings have sharp edges and fixed wall structures that aren’t conducive to the flow and change that startups represent. Initial concepts were designed to “suspend disbelief” (most startups would never succeed if people didn’t do this ;)) by invisibly mounting the mural along our presentation area where entrepreneurs pitch their vision for a better future.
Mounting directly to the wall was a great adaptation but ultimately didn’t fit our design principles to be movable, re-configurable and flexible.
Invisibly hanging would be great too but we needed to avoid the rules to consult our architect, structural engineer, property management, etc. to make a working prototype in less than a week.
Physically testing designs quickly in a space before committing to a direction beats a drawing nearly every time. Similar to software development, don’t waste your precious development team hours building crap when you could of efficiently validated your assumptions with an interactive low-resolution prototype. I repeat, use whatever you can – cardboard, foam, tape, other furniture – to physically test your space designs.
In less than a full day, Caleb Duarte and Ramiro Martinez, started building our frame even though we still didn’t know how to suspend the mural. Just like a startup, we knew we wanted this feature (the flowing wave surface), isolated variables to start building, and had faith that we could figure out the rest….
Shaping material for unintended purposes is part of the art of hacking.
No need to overbuild, just a simple spine that proves the concept.
But now comes the turning point, the ‘pivot’ so to speak. Were we going to hang it from something or build a frame? Each with a multitude of nuances, meaning, and cost. So we had to re-visit the intention of our work and hypotheses about how it would affect the environment. We aimed for the intersection between utility and aesthetics by making the sculptural mural obviously movable to encourage people to “set the stage” with it.
Of course adding features opens up another can of worms with delays including more design work, sourcing materials and actually building with precious time, humans and limited budget.
So we walked around the space looking for materials to re-purpose and realized we could hack the z-rack bases from our movable white boards inspired by the Stanford dschool.
Luckily, Evan Scott came through to help mount the wave and now we have a couple days left to shape the meaning of this structure with your help…
The working concept for the movable sculptural mural embodies principles of ecological design by creating a mural canvas with common disposable materials to mimic the sinusoidal pattern that often occurs in nature, including ocean waves, sound waves, and light waves. By merging disposable and often invisible materials, we hope to inspire commentary about current modes of production while attempting to remain ‘human’ in the high tech startup world. Please help crowdsource media and equations that expose the generative processes fundamental to creativity and productivity.
Collaborative Organization and Artist Bio’s
Mural Music and Art Project
The mission of the Mural Music & Arts Project (MMAP) is to educate, empower and inspire youth through the arts. MMAP’s youth-development has developed a unique approach to employment, curriculum, assessment, and technology for the benefit of urban youth. MMAP has been recognized for continued success with prestigious awards.
MMAP’s Public Art Consultancy (PAC) employs established and emerging artists while connecting them with teens to support the fulfillment of public and private art commissions. PAC provides professional art experience and business and portfolio building opportunities while generating revenue that helps support MMAP’s programs.
Caleb Duarte, born 1977, migrated from Northern Mexico to the farm working communities of the Central Valley in California. He began to paint at an early age and continued his studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and in 2009 received a MFA in sculpture from SAIC. Duarte and has exhibited his work in Pienza Italy, Mumbai India, Los Angeles, Fresno, Sacramento, Santiago de Cuba, Mexico, Miami, White Box gallery in New York, and through out the Bay Area.
Duarte’s work has been reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Art LTD magazine, to name a few. He has worked with communities in Honduras, Mexico, Cuba, Japan, and the US, exploring the possibilities that art can have in celebrating creative thinking through the arts. He currently lives in San Cristobal, Chiapas where he is involved in the creation of the EDELO- an international artist residency.
Duarte melds contemporary art concerns and an updated social realism into a new and compelling synthesis that is simultaneously passionate and sober, and both timely and timeless. In an era governed by jingoist fantasy and the exploitation of social and economic division, he reinserts politics —without rancor or false theatricality— into art and reasserts our common humanity. –Art Ltd
Ramiro Martinez is an artist based in Fresno. Ramiro’s artwork spans the genres of mural art, video, poetry, reaching in to the realm of abstract installations. He is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute where he studied painting. His work is concerned with the dichotomy between how we depict existence and how it is lived. His work investigates the successes within natural systems and failures of inherent in manmade and imposed systems. Ramiro’s work has been shown in Galeria de La Raza, SF Art Commission, Gallery 24, Diego Rivera Gallery and is displayed in public spaces in Selma, Fresno and San Francisco. Worked with children through the Boys and girls club of Fresno, CORAL Program (Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning) and The Fresno Unified School District.
Rachel McIntire has been engaged in the areas of art, education and the matrix of their merged force for over fifteen years. These studies have been guided by questions that explore how the arts are used in providing narrative generating opportunities for individuals and groups with a particular interest in public space. Before pursuing her Master’s Degree from Harvard’s School of Education, Rachel played a fundamental role in developing a cadre of art-based programs serving youth throughout the Bay Area, including the art program at the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, The International