Neta Bomani is a worker who engages in visual storytelling, direct action and (anti) art practices through organizing and making archives, writings, prints, zines, circuits and workshops. Neta's work has materialized as an organizer of the Tech Zine Fair, an organizer of the School for Poetic Computation, a member of Stephanie Dinkins Studio and a participator in grassroots organizing against prisons and borders in New York City and beyond.
This week’s blog post includes updates and assignments from the Prediction as Planning and introductory courses to Physical Computing, Fabrication and Computational Media.
This blog post is a work in progress 😅
Here’s a link to this week’s sketch that I worked on with Will Politan.
I made a laser cut zine called the garden. It’s about discovering a hummingbird in a garden.
For Physical Computing, we were instructed to make an observation of an interactive technology in public, used by multiple people. I zoomed in on two different technologies, the first being what I will refer to as the glass borders in the lobby of 370 Jay St and the second, the yellow tape found on the back doors of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) which opens the doors.
The glass borders assume that there is something that you must exchange grant a person entry into a place.
The yellow tape assumes that bus riders can read and/or hear signage that tells them to press the yellow tape on the doors to open them. It also assumes that people riding the bus (bus riders for short) don’t know how to open doors.
In the case of 370 Jay St, this building is owned by New York University (NYU), so you need a NYU identification card to lower the glass borders. Upon entering, you tap your NYU id on an outline in the shape of your ID. Then, if your ID is valid, the borders go down. When exiting, you don’t need an NYU ID. You simply walk towards the borders and they have proximity sensors that communicate with the glass borders to set you free. Overall the interaction doesn’t take that much time—it’s probably less than 5 seconds if everything functions smoothly. It is a slightly longer interaction entering the system than exiting the system. Exiting the system seems to be a much faster process in high traffic conditions because the proximity sensors are good at capturing fast movements, and thus, the glass borders stay open without closing before and after each person. Whereas, the entry system is seems to be designed to close the glass border after every ID card tap.
Yellow tape To use the yellow tape, first the bus driver has to activate the back doors from the front of the bus. Once the bus driver has activated the back doors, this is indicated by a green light on the ceiling above the doors. Then, the bus rider can press on the yellow tape to activate the doors.
The glass border system experiences pressure under high traffic conditions. The system is also dependent on the NYU identification system being fully functional. If a person doesn’t have an ID, it is up to the border control guard to manually override the system. This can take up much more time during peak traffic hours. It also identifies someone as an “outsider” within the social dimension. It might be possible to override the social anxiety here, by asking a friend or stranger to tap you in with them.
Most people just push hard on the doors to force them open. In this interaction, they also sometimes hit the yellow tape. But their intention isn’t always to press the tape. I observed some people struggling with the force they apply on the door, and exerting more force than they need to. Another challenge, is sometimes the bus driver doesn’t activate the back doors, maybe because they don’t see a person in their rearview mirror trying to exit (because many people opt to exit through the front door, despite the back door being the recommended exit) or perhaps they simply forgot to activate the back door. Within the social dimension, a populated bus full of people will yell out “back door” to let the driver know it isn’t activated. But that doesn’t always happen. Often times, if the backdoor isnt activated, the person who was riding the bus and now trying to exit, gets confused and struggles with the door until other people chime in, or miss their stop entirely.