Inspired by my admiration for the visual aesthetic of Arabic calligraphy and my curiosity towards the future of VR.
I designed a collection of totes and t-shirts in December of 2015 that have been rotting away in a folder on my desktop ever since. In 2016, my excitement towards VR as a medium grew and I thought it would be interesting to explore the potential of product promotion, branding, and retail through a virtual reality experience. I used my designs as product prototypes for this experimentation.
To produce these VR spaces, I used Blender to create each asset and then assembled these assets together in Unity to create my scenes.
Long story short, I slid off my bed and fell onto the floor. On my way down to the floor, the back of my leg slammed onto the edge of a plastic box. The result, a large bruise with a scratch scoring down through the middle of it, and I looked like I had a palm sized nebula on the back of my thigh. As bruises usually do, mine faded over time. Going through a series of phases and colors as the pain dwindled down. The change caught my attention. Ergo, my bruise became the starting point for my project.
I found it intriguing how the hue of the bruise changed as it healed. Looking deeper into this matter, I found out that a bruise is an injury underlying the skin, caused by broken blood vessels. From point of injury, the body takes on a process of healing, some bruises taking longer than others to heal depending on the intensity of the injury and where it appears. I would wake up every morning after the day of the incident and observe the way my bruise was changing. There was a process going on under my skin on a molecular level that was healing my pain, allowing for the colors to change and disappear.
This bruise was also bigger than any bruise I have ever gotten and I thought that this may be interesting to document. I began documenting the change in my bruise 2 days after the event of falling off my bed and the colors of the bruise were still quite saturated, so I had not missed out on much of the process. After 7 days of waking up every morning at taking a snapshot of my bruise, I had a collection of photos that showed my bruise as it healed. From red to blue to purple and so forth. The bruise looked painful, and it also felt painful. When I would not see its striking colors in the mirror, I was reminded of it when I would sit down or bump into something once more. However, my body made its way to recovery. The red bruise that was once there has almost disappeared completely. This wound, with its size, intensity, pain, healing, and colors, was a visualization of pain.
The metaphorical aspect of my bruise is one I found familiar. External impacts affecting the internal, and having exterior side effects.
I have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto Thyroiditis. My body builds its own antibodies against my thyroid gland, attacking it. Although my doctor believes this is hereditary, I believe otherwise. I am convinced that external factors have triggered my disease. From stress to the “healthy diet” I was on, to medical misinformation, to unrealistic body expectations. I was allowing for these external factors to a toll on my body, health, and life.
Today, I am aware of these external factors. I have identified them and will no longer allow for them to bruise my body. Just like a bruise, it will take time for me to heal the damage done. Just like a bruise -purple, blue, pink, yellow- there will be stages I have to go through in order to heal. Just like a bruise, I will heal.
What you are seeing in these pictures is a thyroid gland I have molded out of clay and painted white. The projections represent different events that have "bruised" or hindered the function of my thyroid gland.
An in-depth description of projections:
The first projection is a stress hormone, since I never realized growing up how toxic and draining this feeling can be until I became chronically ill because of it.
The second projection of a cheese sandwhich represents the diets I grew up believing were "healthy" for my body; because I was told that by drinking 2% fat milk, to stop eating by 7:00 PM and eat junk food on occasion meant I was healthy. After years of eliminating foods my diet, I came to realize that the foods I was eating were taking a toll on my health. Leading me to radically change my diet and follow a paleo diet to heal my gut and thyroid.
The third projection of a stethoscope represents medical misinformation from my own doctors. My doctors all wanted the best for my health but never understood the healing power food had on my body. To my doctors, I was attempting to heal an auto-immune disease that could NOT be heald. Never did I think that by the age of 17 (now 21) I would be pushing myself through my own healing journey with my doctors opposing my decisions.
Fun fact: My healing diet is working, slowly but surely, and my doctors are amazed.
The last projection of a women's magazine represents body image and self-love. Since the age of 7, I have been receiving comments from family members warning me about my weight gain. Constantly feeling disappointed with the way I looked, I constantly felt the need to lose weight in order to be happy, confident and comfortable. By 5th grade, I was with my first dietician, by 7th grade I was with my second dietician. By 10th grade, I was with my third dietician. After my first year in university, I gained a noticeable amount of weight and resorted to weighing my food. Each time I began working with a dietician, I would lose a significant amount of weight. I grew up believing that I would be happier when I was slimmer.
But after putting myself on my own road to recovery and made it a point to put my health first, I realized that 1) My happiness is not determined by weight/shape/size. 2) I should be grateful every day for the body I have and its capabilities, and 3) I should not have to conform to societies beauty standards in order to feel confident in my own skin.
Just a Party
In "Just a Party", I explore the juxtaposition between a successful party through the eyes of a child and an adult. I have used several party decorations and props that could trigger different meanings depending on how people of different ages perceive and reason the imagery.
Just a Party
Using processing and an OpenCV library, I created a fun way to bring people together and navigate through playlists. The playlist will change depending on the number of people identified in the camera. One person identified will scroll through a solo playlist. Two people identified will scroll through a duet playlist. Three people identified will scroll through a group and band playlist. For a fun performance, skip to 1:38.
Freedom - A Series
Freedom Light Box A lightbox dedicated to the Syrian Refugee Crisis. The translucent Arabic calligraphy spells out freedom.
This light box was designed in a manner to allow for the candle shaped lights to transcend beyond their acrylic casing. The lights paying homage to all the lives lost and affected by acts of terrorism, man-caused actions that have destroyed the lives of millions.
The Syrian refugee crisis is one like no other. I cannot even begin to fathom what the hundreds and thousands of people have gone through in order to seek asylum for themselves and their families. Since 2012, Syrians have been fleeing their homelands and seeking freedom from the terrorist activity and horrors that they have been bombarded with on a daily basis. Traveling to find safety in neighboring and far-off countries, on land and on shore. Many survived the journey and were granted access. Whilst hundreds and thousands of others could not handle the dangerous circumstances of such a migration and many countries denied their entry.
The gruesome images of families and children, wrapped in orange jackets, floating on the surface of the Mediterranean Sea. The unsettling stories of families being destroyed and witnessing their loved ones having their lives stolen right in front of their eyes. Children left wondering what their futures look like beyond their new label, a refugee. If human-created acts of terrorism have stripped away security, education, safety, family, opportunity, and freedom from millions, then humans have the ability and moral responsibility of restoring all of these things to those who have lost them.