Hacking Arts

Saturday Sept 28, Astrodime introduced new products at a conference on art and entrepreneurship held at the MIT media lab and hosted by the Sloan School.

We collected new Apps and accessories for the iCAN, demoed our products, and stepped up our marketing with the Astrodime Electronic and Tin Can Marching band.





INVADERS! Dead Man’s Fingers

AstroDime is doing some work with ideas around Invasive Species in Provincetown, and we will have an exhibit at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in June 0f 2013. Part of the work that I (sam smiley) am doing is identifying aquatic invasive species in Provincetown.

The Aquatic Invasive Species group (based in Massachusetts) has provided ID cards for Aquatic Invasive Species.

Here’s a link to the main site:


and to the ID cards:


I decided to share an ID card and also my underwater version of the Invader! It is also known as Codium fragile, Dead Man’s Fingers,  green fleece, green sea fingers, oyster thief, and Sputnik weed.


Dead Man's Fingers

Here’s my version, which I would like to call “Space Invaders”

asteroids from AstroDime Transit on Vimeo.


Weed Science Society of America

Astrodime Transit Authority is working on a video about weeds.

In February 2011, AstroDime Transit Authority got a press pass to visit the Weed Science Society of America’s conference in Portland Oregon. Astrodimer Lena Munday asked members of the society “What is a weed?”

After two years of sitting on the editing room shelves, sam smiley is editing these series of interviews. Combining audio interviews, images from the conference program, and images from a book about plants written in the 1500’s, this promises to be a meditation on the nature of weeds and weediness.

So what is a weed? STS theorist Susan Leigh Starr might call it  “boundary object”, something that has different meanings to different groups of people.

I’m stumbling across all kinds of great sources, including an online library of public domain botanical books.


I’m also looking at Asa Gray’s article “The Pertinacity and predominance of weeds” written in 1879


and Gerard’s original text and images from his plant book written in 1633 titled The Herball, or, Generall Historie of Plantes


Bike Stencil paintings!

Here’s a little DIY from AstroDime Transit Authority member sam smiley. Somerville Massachusetts is a great biking community, and smiley took pictures of the bike stencils which are everywhere throughout Somerville. Then she made stencils out of them and created Bike Stencil paintings! A lot of inspiration for this project has been from a wonderful book called Stencil Nation.

Here’s a link to this amazing book:



iCAN development in Mexico, Parte Dos

Here are the inventions of the various “startup groups” who are working on iCAN apps and accessories in Mexico City. AstroDime members are carefully considering these proposals, and we will post the winning proposals on our research page. At the bottom of the page is our “request for proposals”

“No Name Inc.”

Don’t know who is in this group.

1) sticker for any map of a subway in the world (app)
2) app with pen and post-it (app)
3) A little bell attached to the iCAN to show you the new calls (app)
4) Interchangable cans with different colors and designs (accessory)
Another group with no name
(Don’t know who is in this group)
1) ReciclArte (con Lupa, GPS, Agenda, y T.P.)
“Sobreviviendo con tu iCAN”
[Ilana what does that mean?]
Another group with no name:

1) iCAN study (APP)
-repeat ALOUD an interesting sentence of your homework
-repeat what you listen
-repeat what you listen
-repeat what you listen

2) iSOLO:
-Just hum your favorite song
-make sure your voice is sweet
-if your ear hurts, you are making it bad. If you just fall in love with yourself, record your song and be famous.
“Wissard Company”
(don’t know who is in it)
tells your fortune
“Gato Ruso”
Tania X. Enriquez Jiménez
Norma Briseño Urbina
Paola E. Nieto Paredes
Eugenia B. Sánchez N. Rubalcaba

1)iStalk (you can spy on your friends)
2) iCanMusic (amplify your music through your iCAN!)
3) iBolsa (make your iCAN portable with all of your apps. (Accessory)

“Can Trap Software Development: Making everyday life more practical”
Andrea Nuñez
Valeria Vasquez
Ana Mirales
1) App Retro Calculator: it is an abacus you can incorporate into your iCAN
2) App Radio Can: you can listen to all your favorite music, FM radio, etc. just turn one end of the iCAN and approach it to the speaker
3) App Earthquake alert: if you need to be protected from natural disasters. This app can help you detect earthquakes on time. You just fill your iCAN with water and if you see the surface shaking you know you have to protect yourself.
(Don’t know who is in this group)
1) Two people can speak together with their iCANs right next to each other. So that these two people seem like they talk to each other but they talk alone. The objective is to demonstrate that people don’t listen to each other, only to themselves. [Note: We suggested a magnet so that both iCANS would stick together)

2) iFondo
“Soul of the Party”. People can drink a “fondo” of beer in one can.

3) iSleep or iDuermo
If you want to sleep on the Metro, with iCAN you can. You stretch it out, put one end on your knees, and rest your chin on the other side, and then you can fall into a deep dream.

“iKit Store”
Daniella Castro R.
Laura Castellanos

Note: this is primarily accessories

-iChain: keep your iCAN wherever you go
-iMirror: if you always want to look pretty buy this accessory (note, i think it is software -sam)
-iSpeaker: Say aloud your thoughts
-iWatch: straps on to the iCAN. For being on time.
-iDrinking Barrel: use it as a straw!
-iSpy: get noticed of the recent gossip
-iHelium: use helium balloons and listen to your amazing words and then listen to your mouse voice
-iCaps: transform your iCAN into a thermos of your favorite beverage

“Loser Corp”
Introducing the iSmoke. Weed and smoke on one side, infinite happiness on the other.

HERE IS ASTRODIME’S ORIGINAL RFP (request for proposals)

iCAN development in Mexico

In April, AstroDime Think Tank Operator sam smiley went to a class at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, in Mexico City. The class is called Problemas contemporáneos y nuevas tecnologías en el arte, or “Contemporary problems and new technologies in art” and it is taught by professor Ilana Boltnivik.

La Profesora

First, sam introduced AstroDime’s “Party Line” to the class.

Ligna de la Fiesta

Then sam showed some astrodime videos and students divided into “Startup Company” groups to propose new apps and accessories for the iCAN. Inventions are in the next post.

CanTrap software Development, Inc.

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

Group 5

Group 6

iKit Store (with another missing person)

Loser, Corp.

Beyond Yosemite

Astrodime members sam smiley, Bebe Beard, and KumaLisa attended a talk of a group who shares the same spirit as AstroDime with respect to their performances and research. It was part of an MIT Seminar on Environmental and Agricultural History. The talk was called “Beyond Yosemite! A Three-part Guide to Reimagining the American Landscape” Jenny Price, of the “Los Angeles Urban Rangers” and a research scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women posed these questions:

“How are artists reimagining widespread and historically powerful iconic American landscape images? How do they challenge these images to envision nature not as an unpeopled refuge but as places we inhabit? I look at three kinds of art works: paintings and photographs that comment on well-known images; participatory public art events that act out new understandings of landscape; and a project, on the L.A. River (think Grease, Terminator 2), that reimagines a landscape by literally remaking it.”

Here is their truly awesome web site.:

AstroDime commemorates: National Marconi Day

Well, it has been a tough decision, but AstroDime Transit Authority is getting into wireless. Our tin can phone systems are durable and really quite well designed, but our iCAN system has finally outsold our tin can phones.

In honor of our wireless technological achievements, we would like to write a tribute to Guglielmo Marconi,, one of the inventors of wireless communications.

For people on the east coast of the United States, the National Park Service is celebrating an International Marconi Day (as well as a National Junior Ranger Day) on April 25th. This will take place on Marconi Beach on Cape Cod. For more information go to http://www.nps.gov/caco/parknews/cape-cod-national-seashore-to-celebrate-international-marconi-day-and-national-junior-ranger-day-on-april-25.htm

Protest “Protect IP Act”

Check out upcoming U.S. legislation concerning internet censorship based on copyright. For more info go to http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/.

Back in time..Occupy Boston Oct 13

Greetings from AstroDime Correspondant sam smiley

NOTE: This post is a little late (I wrote it October 13)  but in some ways it still applies because it is cold and rainy in Boston today too on October 20. As of today, Thursday Oct 20, Occupy Boston is in need of bales of hay. Probably to stem the tide of a lot of rain in the past few days.

I was taking the ferry from Provincetown, and it was a windy and rainy day. I biked off the ferry bringing some tarps from the hardware store and a loaf of portuguese bread. When I told the staff at the hardware store about this they were all thumbs up for Occupy Boston and were very supportive.

bike basket wtih a loaf of bread and tarp

astrodime delivery of tarp and portuguese sweetbread

I talked to Andy at the Logistics tent and asked him a few questions about his role. I asked him what the most challenging part of his role was and he said “the rain”. I asked him what they might need more of, and he said “good weather”. But he did say moms in minivans have been dropping off food and much needed necessities.  This weekend, Occupy Boston did get better weather on the weekend, but now the rain is back. Word is that they need raincoats, not the poncho that Andy is wearing because those don’t work that well.

andy to the left, "logistics" sign to the right

Andy at Logistics, Occupy Boston

In addition I took some other pictures which I am sharing. Below is a picture of “main street”. I was standing next to a reporter for New England Cable News Network (NECN) and he was preparing his copy..”the road to main street is lined with plywood”. He seemed pretty supportive.

wood sign with "main street" written on it

main street, Occupy Boston

sign saying Massachusetts Teachers Association Supports Occupy Boston

the sign says it all

I know that the Massachusetts Teacher’s Association supports Occupy Boston, but you can see from the sign that it is pretty rainy..anyone out there in the rain is pretty supportive. I know that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) supports the Occupy movement as well.

As I walked around, I noticed there were so many reporters on the scene at the time..some dressed in suits, standing next to their cameras. Here’s one now looking for the media tent.

"Where's the tent?"

Below is a long shot of the encampment. if you want to read more about the protest this past weekend, look at AstroDime correspondant Gina Kamentsky’s post right before this one. And hope for some sun later today for Occupy Boston!

-sam smiley

wide shot of encampment oct 13, 2011

wide shot, oct 13 2011