This well-designed, attractive retro media-delivery system nicely presents the digital to analog conversion. We like that it crosses/combines two different eras of image viewing.
FlipBooKit is an affordable DIY kit that allows anyone to make either a manual or motorized flip book from a video or set of photographs, creating a one-of-a-kind tactile kinetic art piece.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Because the gallery-versions of their original mechanical flip-book artworks are expensive and only available in limited editions, Wendy and Mark started brainstorming on how to share this magical art format with more people. "When we displayed our art at the Bay Area 2012 Maker Faire, so many people wanted to know when kit version was coming out, we had to do something." There's a huge pool of creatives out there and sharing with that community makes this seem more real. Artists are courageous creatures because they materialize ideas for other people to experience - and judge. I think that's why it was important for us to find a way to nurture, support and give back to the community of makers.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
We both agreed from the outset that innocence was key to our flip book experience. Being able to bring out the wonder in our viewers was paramount. Our greatest satisfaction is in seeing someone's face transform in childlike surprise with a giggle or clap of their hands. This is where most of our artistic tension takes place too. As a couple, we don't always agree. The same applies for how an art piece should look or the imagery that it reveals. The one thing we do agree on is: implicitly, there should be a sense of curiosity and nostalgia in each fluttering mechanism that tickles our innocence. Sometimes the viewer has to look twice to find the story, but in the end we'd like to elicit an emotion like surprise or wonder. And kinetic sculpture has a unique appeal. Whether it is hypnotic changing shapes or a harkening of our humanity through gesture, it is an art form like dance, that moves us through the language of motion. Even though we discuss all aspects of a new piece as a team, once production starts we retreat into our own worlds. Wendy takes on the image production and flip-book page-making; I go to my work-bench to come up with some kind of sculptural housing for the piece and all the mechanical and electronic planning.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
By late summer last year Mark and I had built many flipbookit prototypes and figured out a process. At this point we started screening vendors so that we could get all the components crafted to our standard and on schedule. Specifically, we were trying to decide on our die-cutting and injection mold vendors. Steve had been doing this type of work for years. There were still some key decisions to make, but all the indications were looking very positive. To bring the flip-book-kit to life, we decided to bring in a pro. For directing the production version of the Mechanical-Flip-Book-Maker-Kit, we teamed up with friend, inventor and manufacturing designer Steven Goldstein. Steve holds over 12 patents, was a Disney imagineer, and has guided many products from concept through production into distribution. A concurrent challenge was getting all the online tools that we'd started developing to work well together. In our respective jobs, Mark and myself had been managing sophisticated online projects for years and were able to deliver that component. We decided that a KS campaign could help us to pay for all the creative people and companies who contributed to the project. Even though we knew many programmers, we'd found that our friends were busy, and programmers can't work for free. FlipBooKitTM , funded its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign on October 30 with over 1,700 backers and $130,000 in pledges. The DIY flip book project launched its campaign on Kickstarter.com in late September to coincide with its debut at New York Maker Faire. It is currently the 2nd most funded art project in Kickstarter history.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
The kits appear to be especially popular among animators and artists, for whom flip books provide the perfect non-digital medium for showcasing their motion art. We wanted to take the project to the point that a whole new creative media form was developed and popularized. We started developing a user forum/discussion list and all the online user tools and templates. The art world is large and can feel isolating. Forming a sense of support through community is vital for artists. We feel that's what the maker community has done for us. Our local hackerspace CrashSpace invaluable. Many projects need the help from a variety of backgrounds such as designers, engineers, artists and machinists. Finding a local team for these projects is essential for the success of an artist's work.