For my Bottles project, I was initially stumped on what I could do. I wasn’t crazy about my sketches and none of the ideas I had really stuck to me. I was also in the process of finishing up my Photo Essay since I decided to redo the essay the week before it was due so I really wasn’t giving this project my full attention.
My first bottle idea that I really liked but never executed came to me when I was walking my dog. As I was walking him, I noticed heaps of garbage bags occupying the sidewalk and obstructing our way to walk. Then I thought about the assignment and the fact that we’re using plastic bottles and adding even more to the waste we produce and adding to landfills. I wanted to do a time lapse video of all the garage I produce in a week and document that and in an alternative week, I would reduce my footprint and restrict myself to only producing waste that would be able to fit into the bottle. This first idea lead to me explore beyond the obvious. I started to think about my past and what influences have impacted my life. I initially started with my geography background and then moved to my healthcare background. Listing out words that were important concepts in both of those worlds, I landed on creating a set of binoculars that would reflect visually impaired and perfect vision.
I cut out the bottom of both the bottles and started to think about creating filter lenses to show different visual impairments. At some point during my brainstorming, kaleidoscope popped into my head as well. I started with a list of eight that I narrowed down to five after coming across some technical difficulties with implementing three. My original list consisted of: myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, cataracts, floats, retinal detachment, peripheral vision loss and age-related macular degeneration. Since, I wanted the binoculars to be reflective of real life objects in that given point in time the person is looking into it, I had a hard time demonstrating myopia, hyperopia and presbyopia. With the aforementioned, it seemed like the only way to be able to show this properly was to actually place a static picture on the filter. This would change my original idea of having the binoculars be interactive and reflect what is being seen at that point in time so I decided to give those three up and worked with the others.
My process then led me to research and get some images of what vision would be like for the remaining five impairments. I knew right away that I wanted to use plastic sheets to create my filters so I went down to Canal Plastics and picked up a few pieces. I also knew that for many of the filters, I would use spray paint to create the filters. At one point, I did get stuck on the floaters filter because I wanted it to be as realistic as possible so I wanted the black dots/floating lines to actually be able to move in the filter. This wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. In the end, I settled for piercing holes through the plastic and using tread to create the floaters.
I also wanted the filters to be educational so I used the vinyl sticker printer in the AMT lab to print labels for the tops of each filter. At first, I wanted to sticker cutout the names of the filters and have the letters punched out. After the stickers were cutout and the letters were removed, it became apparent that this would not work because of the small counters in some of the letters so I opted to have the entire label printed on clear vinyl instead to still give the same look.
As for the actual bottles, the bottoms were cut out and a small slit was cut for the filter to sit in, but I still had another problem. The bottles needed to be attached together somehow and still allow for angle adjustment for different pupil distances. At that point, I decided to use elastic bands to hold the filters together and the cap of the bottom became a wedge in the middle to create the perfect angle. This solution actually also automatically solved another problem I had with the filter always falling out when people moved around to look at different things in their surroundings.