App Misuse: Nunchuck Light Painting

My favorite shape.

I’m not sure if this counts as ‘app misuse’, but we did use a photography technique in an unexpected way. I had my housemate Katy, who is a Tae Kwon Do first don (the first level of black belt) and friend Rachel*, who is a fourth don (almost instructor level) do various forms with glowing nunchucks that we ordered online. Rachel was able to critique Katy’s form from the photos alone, so we essentially invented a weird and laborious critique system.

This was my first time trying long exposure photography, so the photos are not in focus — it was difficult enough to get the shutter speed and aperture right. Katy has ordered more glowing nunchucks in different colors, so the next time I do this I’ll try to get the focus right. We also didn’t have a perfectly dark background for the first few photos, so we went to the abandoned quarry (hence the stripy pattern in some of them.)

If I had more time this week, I would’ve wanted to trace the results in Adobe Illustrator to make graphic ‘logos’. Though the photo is noisy, I especially love the script-like form of the image above.

*Yes, she is a member of our isolation pod.

A simple figure-8.

Throwing the nunchuck and catching it.

Through the Fence: Long Exposure and Slit Cam

I used a Slow Camera, a long exposure app, to image the house behind our wooden fence. The slits in the fence allowed the light to make an imprint on the photo as I slowly moved to the slide in order to fill the panels.

Long Exposure:


This time I used a slit-scan app and tried to keep very still and position the slit scan in between two of the wooden panels. Unlike the long exposure instead of getting what was behind the fence I would only get a view of who was passing. (usually dog walkers)

Slit Cam:

Objects of My Isolation

Headphones – I used to have to wear these most of my waking life. When I went out, I’d wear them for my Misophonia, and when I was at home, I’d wear them so whatever I listened to wouldn’t distract my roommate. Now that I’m always at home and my roommate is gone, I never really need them. But I find myself still listening to most things through my headphones because I’ve gotten so used to the way it makes everything sound.

Seaweed – My roommate never came back to campus after Spring Break, so she left behind a lot that wasn’t worth mailing back. I’ve inherited several things from her this way, including a lot of food that I typically wouldn’t buy. I never really ate seaweed plain before this, but now I have a huge 10-pack!

Whiteboard – This whiteboard has been on the door of my room since freshman year, but since the quarantine it’s been repurposed for 15-251, the course for which I’m a teaching assistant. I use it to hold office hours and recitations (sometimes paired with a document camera). It’s actually pretty effective.

Microwave – Previously, I got most of my meals from campus eateries or local restaurants. I used this microwave to make tea or sometimes reheat leftovers. Now I’m using it multiple times a day. From pasta cups to mug cakes, much of my food comes out of this microwave.

Blinds – Most of my time at home used to be during the night. Since there wasn’t sunlight, I didn’t need to open the blinds, and so I closed them for my privacy. They probably went months without being opened. But now I sometimes open them to look outside or just let light in. I also find myself much more aware of where the sun is during the day because it affects the lighting in my video calls.

Webcam – I didn’t use my webcam for much before this, so it always made me a little uncomfortable to see that little green light turn on. I’d have to perfectly stage every video call. Now I’m 100% over that. I’ll hold a meeting from my bed while wearing my pajamas, and that light doesn’t phase me at all.

Microwave – Previously, I got most of my meals from campus eateries or local restaurants. I used this microwave to make tea or sometimes reheat leftovers. Now I’m using it multiple times a day. From pasta cups to mug cakes, much of my food comes out of this microwave.

Shoes – These were and are my go-to pair of shoes. I used to spend most of the day in them, but now I’m almost always barefoot. When I want to go outside, I have to get out these shoes and a new pair of socks, and it feels like a major event.

Polyhedral Dice – My dad and sister and I have been playing D’n’D together over Skype since before the pandemic, but since it started we have a lot more time. We’ve spent many hours playing it in the past few weeks, and I look forward to our sessions as a much-needed social time. We each have our own set of dice to roll from our respective locations.

School ID – This used to be extremely valuable to me. I used it to buy food. I needed it to get into my room (and several other academic buildings). It was a library card and a bus pass. I’ve had it with me almost every day for the past 4 years. Now most of its applications are gone. I still take it with me when I leave my room, but it’s a lot less useful otherwise. And I’m getting bummed out by the expiration date.

New Object Connotations

Left to right,

1)My Laptop Keyboard – My new primary method of communication, under more pressure and battery than usual

2)A Headphone – Living in a small apartment with 4 people, music is the only way to be able to hear my thoughts amidst the chatter. Usually, I rarely use headphones at home, since I lived alone when I was at school. I could trust home to be a quiet space to gather my thoughts without interruptions.

3) Window in front of my desk – My primary source of sunlight and peephole into the outside world, now forbidden.

4) My planner – Less so for managing a busy schedule, and more to keep me moving throughout the day and not getting stuck in a black hole of contemplation. Reminders of little things like drinking water and getting up are mixed in with actual tasks and activities I would normally do routinely, but have less urgency in today’s digital world.

5)Butterflies on an adventure – A reminder that while humans are struggling, nature is healing, if not flourishing. In a way, we’re giving it space to breathe.

6) Mail – Going to the mailbox is a new quest carrying correspondence from the outside world, although not particularly informative. A potential imposter, carrying the virus.

7) Kitchen Table- A gathering point of the only true human interaction.

8)Trash can – Removing waste has become a chance for fresh air I now look forward to. I’ve also made a habit to call one particular friend to say goodnight every day on my walk to the dumpster.

9) Giant Panda – A weight that helps me calm down enough to sleep.



App Misuse — Poloska

I’ve been interested in trying slit scanning on a computer screen because the standard scrolling interaction seems to give itself to the slit scanning technique. To test this I downloaded a few of my old profile pictures from Facebook and set up my phone in front of the screen with a slit scanning app running. I scanned the images as I scrolled down through the photos. Here’s what I got:


Poor Images 🥺

1. Fried Memeself

From left to right: original photo, fried meme (lowest quality JPEG compression x20,) unsuccessful algorithmic enhancement.

2. Most Beautiful Self

Images now belong to Meitu and various data brokers/governments.

3. Virtual Cute Happy Animal Timesuck Hobby Birthday self