UBC Undergraduate Research

Rain-Activated Campus Street Art Quon, Tiffany 2017-11-04

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UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Sustainability Program  Student Research Report       Rain-Activated Campus Street Art Tiffany Quon  University of British Columbia Volunteer Project November 4th, 2017           Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS Sustainability Program provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student research project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore, readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Sustainability Program representative about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.   Project Context Two pieces of rain-activated art were installed on or just off Main Mall at UBC, through the UBC SEEDS Sustainability Program. Through the use of hydrophobic spray and stencils, the designs reveal themselves through the contrast between wet and dry pavement—hence the term “rain-activated” art. The display was incorporated into UBC’s Thrive Week (Oct 30th–Nov 3rd, 2017), and will last for several months before fading away naturally.  Intent • Brighten up rainy days • Provide and indicate the presence of support for students and other passersby • Encourage the upkeep of personal wellbeing—physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual  Research • Informal discussions with friends and family • Reaching out on Facebook, on Slack teams, and other personal groups, and through email  Actionable Points • Create an engaging design that encourages interaction with the artwork • Include icons and typography that convey messages of comfort and reassurance, and potentially a direct call-to-action to interact with  Design Considerations • It is raining—people will not want to be outside for long • Walking paths at UBC are busy—parts or all of the design may be obstructed during peak traffic times (e.g. between classes) Installation Locations • Hops and Hopes was installed by ICICS, just off of Main Mall, beside Agronomy Road • Flourish was installed between Henry Angus and the Chemistry Block, on a Main Mall desire line close to the Main Mall Fountain         Design #1   Hops and Hopes Hops and Hopes is a spin on hopscotch that replaces numbers with items that promote wellbeing. Through simple icons and a gentle call to action, this game of hopscotch aims to encourage users to start conversations about wellbeing, play in the rain, vocalize hopes, and hop towards what they want.  Icons The icons, from top to bottom, left to right, represent: • Nature—getting outside, getting fresh air • Conversations—talking to friends, family, and others • Food—eating enough, eating healthy • Sweat/tears/rain—letting it out • A hot beverage—something comforting on a rainy day • A house—a space one feels comfortable in • Sleep—getting enough sleep, rest, and down time • Animals—receiving animal companionship • Music—listening to comforting music, words, etc The top space, with optional text, also serves as a sun.  Key Design Choices • Simple icons align with simple game of hopscotch • Hopscotch has a standard shape to maximize recognizability • Icons were selected based on informal feedback from friends, family, and colleagues • Name of work reflects the physical ability to hop to items on the game of hopscotch, as well as the emotion behind the selection of specific items Design #2  Flourish Flourish is a flat garden that encourages passersby to grow along with it—despite of, or perhaps in part from, the rain. This garden and growth motif also plays with flourishes being a common part of calligraphy. Through providing a small piece of land that flourishes in the rain, this illustrative piece serves as a beautiful backdrop that, paired with a hashtag such as #FlourishAtUBC, provides a gateway for students to make the garden their own.  Illustrations Design pieces in this piece, inspired by zen doodling, include flowers, leaves, stars, berries, nuts, mountains, feathers, produce, and flourishes. The word “flourish” is prominently situated in the heart of the garden.  Key Design Choices • Design can be modified to be a repeated tile pattern, to minimize stencils required • Design will be updated depending on length of final stretch of ground the artwork will be sprayed on • Design can be modified to use less spray • Symbols of nature included as a natural consequence/result of rain, and as calming symbols • Tone is uplifting, light-hearted, and whimsical • Busy yet cohesive design encourages people to stop and look at the design, as well as interact with it through photos (intended to be shared on social media) Supplies and Budget  Item Cost Purpose Rocks $20 Keep stencil on the ground Adhesive putty (25 packs) $100 Keep stencil on the ground Broom $15 Sweep pavement before installation Painter’s tape $20 Keep stencil on the ground Paper towels (2 rolls) $10 Touch up in case of excessive spray Poster board (150 pieces) $200 Material for stencil cutting Rainworks spray $350 The hydrophobic spray used for installation Non-toxic, biodegradable cleaner $15 Touch up the design where necessary Wire brush $5 Touch up the design where necessary  Total cost: $735  Fabrication and Installation The stencils were produced with a laser cutter and hand assembly. Design elements were broken down into pieces that fit the dimensions of the laser cutter. The pieces were then cut and taped together to reform the larger elements.  The laying out of stencils was rehearsed prior to installation. The most time-consuming part of installation was waiting for a sunny day. Both installations were executed without human interference. Wind blew away some stencils; more rocks would’ve been helpful to counter this.  Recommendations • Laser cutters are really helpful for cutting out more complex pieces! However, it does require that the designs are mocked up as vector drawings. • Wait for a day that is both sunny and not windy. It may be beneficial to do installation outside of the October-March stretch, as morning frost affects the dryness of the pavement. • While Rainworks recommends that you spray lightly, make sure that enough spray is applied that all of the exposed pavement looks wet. • The Rainworks spray causes adhesive putty to “melt” a little; try not to spray it directly if possible. • A wire brush and cleaner are great ways to clean up over-spraying. However, the more you scrub the pavement, the more grime you are taking off (similar to a sidewalk being significantly lighter in colour after pressure washing), which reduces the contrast between dry and wet pavement.       Outcome Design #1: Hops and Hopes               Design #2: Flourish   


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