Art, Activism and Other Fun Projects

This page contains all the projects that keep me sane. It's the art, photography, activism, and other crazy and fun sounding ideas that I actually manage to follow through to (some level of) completion.


I don't tweet because I'm not ready to hand my data and autonomy over to Twitter. That said, I dent on the more freedom-friendly I've found that microblogging is a great public outlet where one can talk about all those otherwise little meaningless things that we all do. High on that list, for me at least, is microblogging itself! But can you microblog about your microblogging? I created a special account, metamako, that proves that you sure can!

Available: Homepage

Property of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon is the nineteenth century French anarchist and mutualist most famous for saying, "La propriété, c'est le vol!" In English: "Property is theft!" I made t-shirts reading "Property of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon."

Available: Blog Post, Printfection Store

Unhappy Birthday Interview

I did an in-character interview as a copyright high-protectionist about Unhappy Birthday on the CBC show WireTap.

Available: Unofficial Podcast

Serious Limericks about 9/11

Limericks have a reputation as a silly and humorous form but there's no reason that this should be the case. I started a wiki page in an effort to take back the form for serious subjects and prove that limericks can be used for a serious subject. I solicited limericks about the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the effects and fallout from the attacks that we're still feeling today.

Available: Wiki Page

Seeing Yellow

With and help and support from the Computing Culture research group at the MIT Media Lab, I started Seeing Yellow. The project aimed to revitalize the outcry around tracking codes in color laser printers and to publicize a visit by secret service agents to one person who called up their printer manufacturer to ask to to turn them off. With over 10,000 people reporting that they had contacted their printer manufacturers, it seems likely that it had the effect.

Available: Webpage

Overprice Tags

For National Day of Action for Open Access, I took a page from the Seeing Red project at Brown University and labeled MIT's 100 journals that cost more than $5,000 USD with price tags to highlight the skyrocketing cost of journals and some of the very bad deals that these prices translate into for research institution like MIT and for the public.

Available: Webpage

I'm Sick

Using the GIMP, Mika and I created a quick parody of an album cover by the famous Japanese pop star Namie Amuro.

Available: Blog Webpage

Mathematically Constrained Wedding Vows

When Mika Matsuzaki and I were married, Mika had the idea to write our wedding vows using a mathematical constraint. Other than the constraint, they are normal vows. You can read the vows, and read about then, in our wedding wiki.

Available: Wiki Webpage

Debian Package Name Poetry

In honor of Debian's long-awaited Sarge release, I decided to honor the release with a poem created using only the names of Debian's nearly 17000 packages. With this project, a new genre was born. This page collects my work in the genre.

Available: Webpage

Unhappy Birthday

Unhappy Birthday is satirical project commenting on the fact that the song Happy Birthday To You is under an actively enforced copyright held by Time Warner. This site gives folks the tools and information they need to report unauthorized public performances of that work wherever they may occur.

If educating people and upholding the principle of copyright means risking a DoS of ASCAP's licensing enforcement infrastructure, it's a risk I'm willing to take. Please help spread the word!


Picturesque — Pictures of Pictures of The Gates

The Gates is a massive art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Central Park, New York City. It only lasted for a little over two weeks. As a result, Central Park was packed. Most of the people packing the park came with cameras in hand.

Mika and I went to visit central park to see it under some freshly fallen snow. Rather than take pictures of the gates, which everybody does, we decided to (sneakily) take pictures of the people taking pictures of the gates.

We called the resulting photo-documentary Picturesque: Picture of Pictures of the Gates.

Available: Picturesque Webpage

Seiko MessageWatch Poetry

In one of my first exploration with new types of constrained writing, I wrote poetry about and that would have been able to be displayed easily on the Seiko MessageWatch — a very early pager watch that was shelved in the late nineties because the system was not Y2K compliant.

Available: Blog Webpage

Many people are worried about the nasty privacy implications — realized and potential — of supermarket and chain store "loyalty" cards. As RFID chips are introduced, things get even more scary.

In an attempt to attack supermarkets' data-mining operation and to gain a new shopping identity in the process, many people have taken to swapping cards with each other. Over the last few years, I've been among these people.

A couple years ago, a few friends and I came up with the idea of creating a sort of online loyalty card swap-meet where people could come and exchange their supermarket or chain-store loyalty cards with total strangers from the privacy of their own homes. Some other people have arranged to swap numbers for particular stores but our idea was to swap the actual cards from any store that uses a card. I finally set everything up and seeded the database with the lists of as many supermarkets that I know use loyalty cards as listed on CASPIAN's supermarket list.

If you've got an extra card (and maybe if you don't), go ahead and sign up to swap! This is one of those things that works better when more people do it so tell your friends and spread the word.


The Recalcitrant Cork

On several occasions, I have had the "opportunity" to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew. While the process is straightforward, many people seem to be stumped by the problem. Given that I've done it several times, I have been able to educate my guests in the process of opening the bottle.

My friend Greg thought it would be nice to document the experience and arranged and directed an educational photo-narrative starring myself and Mika. He completed the piece and added titles to tie the whole thing into an educational photo documentary he's called The Recalcitrant Cork.

For those who just want to learn how to open a bottle sans corkscrew, I also quickly wrote up an addendum in the form of technical notes that some people might find useful.