A little 10 minute talk

I know you’ve been searching the internet for a 10-minute talk about my work, speculative design, design fictions, speculative histories, anarchist collectives, pirate radio, collective ideation frameworks, and teaching. *does the math…* That’s aboooouuuut 75 seconds per topic. Ha!


Woop! I Did an Artist Talk at the RAFFMA!

Hi! I gave an artist talk at the RAFFMA on Thursday, October 13th, 2022. Please check it out! Adventures in pirate radio, augmented reality, cassette tapes, and 3D printing!

1:24 scale models of a makeshift skatepark in the upper levels of the Memphis Pyramid.

The Changes You Made May Not Be Saved

I have a show up at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) through December 3, 2022. The show is called “The Changes You Made May Not Be Saved.” Come check it out!

The Changes You Made May Not Be Saved
An interactive installation for imagining and igniting collectivities

A single photograph.
A hand-drawn map.
A collage on the front of a missing notebook.
A pyramid.
A space program.
A raid.

From 1991 to 1994, a small group in Memphis, Tennessee, united under the name OMSA (Orange Mound Space Agency) to establish an anarcho-collectivist counterpoint to the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

A single photograph seems to be the only physical evidence of OMSA’s (One More Sexy Anarchist) mission control center located on the top levels of The Pyramid, a neglected sports and entertainment arena on the bank of the Mississippi River. The photo depicts a collage pasted onto the cover of a composition notebook with the sentence “I think the changes worked!” handwritten in black marker. A small hand-drawn map illustrates the back of the photograph, perhaps describing the notebook's hiding place inside The Pyramid. 

The Memphis Police Department raided the group in 1994, demolishing their living quarters, cultural center, and communications infrastructure inside the Pyramid. After the raid, members scattered across the U.S. Mid-South and Midwest. There is no evidence of OMSA’s (Our Memphian Stubbornness and Assiduity) scientific endeavors or accomplishments. The notebook captured in the photograph has not been found.

What information can be salvaged about OMSA (Okay. Meanwhile, Stop Asking.) from Rob Ray’s interactive installation imagining the long-ago-dissolved group’s creative and scientific endeavors inside the Memphis Pyramid? How might OMSA’s (Our Maybe Secret Advantage) vision for space exploration shine through in Ray’s scale model of the collective’s Pyramid facility? Ray extracts what is known and postulates full-scale displays of their communications systems using augmented reality overlays, speculative promotional materials, and pirate radio listening stations. Ray’s world-building and interviews with activists, artists, and engineers create pyramidal histories whose pixels and atoms converge, heat, crystalize, collapse, explode and scatter.
Promotional card for "The Changes You Made May Not Be Saved."
RAFFMA Exhibit Details (Tennis legend Althea Gibson appears in this collage)
Work In Progress

Robbing the Gradle

It seems inevitable that you will run into either a Gradle or Java error when trying to build an AR or VR application.

The latest incantation 🪄 of this problem 🚨 for me is a missing Gradle installation in Unity 2021.3.6f1.

A version of Gradle is typically found in Unity’s Tools directory. The path to this Tools directory should be

/Applications/Unity/Hub/Editor/<Your Unity Version>/PlaybackEngines/AndroidPlayer/

but it isn’t there.

I had 2021.3.5f1 installed, so I copied /Applications/Unity/Hub/Editor/2021.3.5f1/PlaybackEngines/AndroidPlayer/Tools

over to


and all seems good.

There’s more conversation about the issue over at this thread.

Work In Progress

Setting Up Unity AR Foundation 5.0 pre in Unity 2021 LTS

The fastest path to get going in Augmented Reality is using Unity’s AR Foundation which acts as a…. “gateway” of sorts to Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit.

I want to use the simulation features of AR Foundation 5 (which is currently in pre-release) while remaining on Unity 2021 LTS. It is currently a bit challenging to do this. Typically to do this you would set up your Unity Package Manager to include Pre-release packages and this gets you access to the new scary and probably unstable stuff. But when I did this in Unity 2021, I still only got AR Foundation 4.2.3 packages ( cue the * sad trombone * 📯). There are two ways to get around this.

The first way is to go into your Unity project’s ../Packages/manifest.json file and add this line.

"com.unity.xr.arfoundation": "5.0.0-pre.12"

This will automatically go get the 5.0-pre.12 packages and you are good to go. Shout out to Dilmer Valecillos for mentioning this in the comments of his Unity AR Foundation Simulation Tools Are Here! video.

The second way to get the 5.0-pre.12 packages (plus a lot of cool samples) is to clone Unity’s AR Foundation Samples github repo. You will then open up this repo in your Unity Hub. Unity Hub will bark at you saying:

“This project was made in a different editor version. To open this project, please install or switch to Unity 2022.”

But you will have the option to choose another Editor version and you can pick your 2021 LTS installation. You will get a couple of “Are you really really sure?”-type messages. I said “yes” and so far I’m good.

Check inside ../Assets/Scenes/ARFoundationMenu for the Menu.unity file. This will launch a pushbutton grid-style menu with all the samples available. Note: Some buttons will be disabled based on your build platform. For example, Object tracking is not available on Android.


Ettore Sottsass

I connected with Ettore Sottsass‘s designs through his work within the Memphis Group. I have yet to find an interview where he didn’t seem one-half asleep and one-half distracted. This makes me like him even more.


Designing for Creative Inclusivity

I really enjoyed this episode of Metamuse. Adam Wiggens (@_adamwiggins_), Mark McGranaghan (@mmcgrana) chat with guest Weiwei Xu (@weiweiwei33) It was cool hearing about Xu’s Sprout adventures and her interest in designing for what I’ve always called “creative inclusivity,” in product design. Product design frameworks should always empower people to apply their own experimentation, modification, and play to their experience of our work. To disallow it is hostility on our friends.

…and can we make places online that feel more like our living room or our bedroom rather than this giant lobby or this giant stadium that nobody really belongs to but is big enough for anyone, and everyone, to come through.

Weiwei Xu on Metamuse episode 39

“Hello Blender” and World Documents

I’ve been spending the day uploading introductory Blender videos to my “Pixel, Vectors, and Voxels” YouTube playlist and thinking about Matt Webb’s * mental note: spelled with two tees two bees * Interconnected post “Sending lo-fi virtual realities to aliens and also to each other.” Matt ideates,

Instead of preparing a Google Doc, why not build a miniature explorable world? Not VR in photorealistic 3D, but a virtual reality of (mainly) text.

Matt Webb in “Sending lo-fi virtual realities to aliens and also to each other”

and it makes me think about Yoon Park‘s “Type in Space” text/typography-based work for HoloLens 2.

It would be fun to be able to send someone a text message or email that has spatial awareness.

  • A reminder to pick up 🥑 by their door. 🚪
  • A cake emoji 🎂 by their clock on their birthday. ⏰
  • A dirty joke every time they flush the toilet 🚽

This would require some sort of very low friction and also very precise spatial permissions structure. Hrmm… 🤯 Ouch 🤯. It is still fun to think about though.

Yoon Park’s “Type In Space for HoloLens 2” – Spatial Typography in Mixed Reality (2019)

Composer Jeff Rona on Experience Creation (and also Deadlines)

I really enjoyed Jeff Rona’s interview on Darwin Grosse’s Art + Music + Technology podcast.

It’s all about creating experiences. It’s about creating… not creating an emotion but creating a space in which the audience can have an emotion.

Jeff Rona on Art + Music + Technology with Darwin Grosse.
Podcast 363: Jeff Rona, August 29, 2021

Also this little snippet on deadlines is excellent.

“…your creativity is limited not by what you can do but what you can do by the end of the day today…”

Jeff Rona on Art + Music + Technology with Darwin Grosse.
Podcast 363: Jeff Rona, August 29, 2021
Jeff Rona on Art + Music + Technology with Darwin Grosse.
Podcast 363: Jeff Rona, August 29, 2021

Prince worked really really hard.

Morris Day’s interview with the Questlove Supreme crew (June 22, 2021) is really great. I was particularly wowed by his comment about Prince’s work ethic. Prince would rent out an empty club so he could review the night’s performance and critique the entire band. Prince seemed like a nightmare to work for but… I try to remind myself about his commitment to excellence when I get that urge to slack off.

And so you know… I was video-ing the shows. And that’s something that stuck with Prince throughout his career. And, I don’t care… You know, even when we did the Musicology tour with him, or the dates that we did do. He would make everybody, his band, and everybody had to go to whatever club he rented out afterwards and he would have that show on the projection and everybody had to watch it.

[Questlove Supreme hosts react with laughter and astonishment.]

Getting on the musicians, ‘Hey you were behind on that song.’ ‘Hey you did this wrong…’ the whole thing, the whole show. Every show he did that.