Last week we were happy to be able to welcome visiting artist Hanoch Piven back to the Tinkering Studio for a quick workshop on making faces out of everyday objects. Hanoch is an Israeli illustrator, author, and television host who plays with familiar materials to make amazing collages of famous faces. The last time he was here, he showed a clip from his show that used a stop motion video to demonstrate the prototyping process of building faces and I though about our animation stations. This time, we decided to bring the exhibits into the workshop and see if that would be an interesting addition to the activity.
The workshop started with a quick talk by Hanoch about his process and the context for the activity. While the Tinkering Studio is not the ideal venue for this kind of interaction, I thought we did a better job setting up the space and had a nice transition from the presentation to the activity.
Once again we brought our a bunch of 'shop scraps' that we collected a few years ago from the exhibit development shop. It's amazing how people can take mismatched hardware, laser cutter scraps and other odds and ends and create evocative sculptures of themselves and friends.
After people experimented with materials, Hanoch worked with some of them to create stop motion animations of their faces.
This one turned out really nice! I liked how the stop motion animation added an element of testing and remaking into the activity. Instead of gluing down the parts, visitors were constantly tweaking, changing, and re-evaulating their creations. I also see the value of deciding on the sculpture and committing to it, but in the drop in setting of the tinkering studio, the framing of making an animation seemed to open up more possibilities for playful prototyping.
I also thought it was cool that the shared aim of the activity encouraged different people to continue working on a shared animation. Instead of always starting from scratch, I'd like to see if we can experiment with offering the possibility for people to collaborate on animations instead of always starting a new story. Maybe we could experiment with some sort of 'exquisite corpse' stop motion, having each visitor tell part of the same story.
It was great to have Hanoch back at the Exploratorium. His playful attitude towards materials, emphasis on the process instead of the product, and generous facilitation style is a great fit with the Tinkering Studio. We are already looking forward to our next opportunity to collaborate with him!