2016 - Present
“Buoy” is an iOS app that lets you exchange thoughts and connect with nearby strangers.
Buoy was recently launched in June 2018 in a community gathering at Backyard Brew, a local coffee shop in Palo Alto and the first Buoy Hub.
Buoy hopes to help turn passersby into "neighbors". We want Buoy to grounded in the physical spaces in a neighborhood that already bring people in, starting with independent coffee shops, with the hope that we can then bring them closer together.
Chances are: the person on the sidewalk is in that same funk, the person in line has seen the other side of the fork in the road, and the person at the other table is discovering similar joys in life.
Email us if you'd like to bring Buoy to your space.
2016 (Series in Progress)
#100DaysOfStrangersPortraits is a series of watercolor portraits & short narratives of strangers I cross(ed) paths with.
My hope is to capture and recirculate the feeling of warmth and serendipity that comes from a "stranger" becoming familiar.
The series is a part of a larger social media collective, the #100daysproject by Elle Luna, which involves creating for 100 days to honor and make room for your art.
Reporting from the Belly of the Night
REPORTING is a creative collaboration with poet Sojourner Ahebee, whose debut collection of 14 poems have been woven with 11 of my original art pieces to tell stories of violence and healing.
In Sojourner's words "the collection is a meditation on Black femininity & the ways in which black women are uniquely vulnerable to violence in their homes, schools, public/digital spaces, both locally and transnationally across time and borders."
The 11 visual pieces were created as means of and ode to the radical persistence of keeping ourselves alive with our own two hands, of bringing up the deepest, most painful parts of the self to the surface and making them seen, under forces that threaten to erode us.
Find our chapbook at sojournerahebee.com/chapbook
Ithaka Cooperative is a diverse cooperative community of 30 twenty-to-forty-somethings, housed in neighboring houses in Palo Alto.
I co-managed this community which has evolved and flourished for eight years/generations, by organizing events, structures, and spaces for the social and mental wellbeing of the community.
In this role, I organized events for bonding and creative collaboration, including quarterly all-house gatherings, open mic, and the first-ever reunion of the eight generations of Ithaka, featuring performances and art from the community.
I also created spaces and structures for the mental wellbeing of the community, including women's circles, healing workshops, and small-group counsels. And, with a team, began the ongoing effort to reimagine & reform Ithaka's norms and resources to better support the flourishing of QPOC.
“Click" is a Natural Language Processing algorithm that measures relevance between any two personal narratives (i.e. long-form, first-person content).
Personal narratives, shared increasingly online, present volumes of untapped data for representing identity through natural language. I was interested in the social applications of this data, and developed Click as a means to "match" individuals through relevance between their personal narratives.
Click employs a "motif dictionary" to access the unique, identity-capturing features of personal narratives that generic similarity models are not tailored to measure. Click matched human judgment in overall trends, but overlooked particular nuances.
Find the complete paper here.
"Fuse" is a dress designed and sewn from 6 yards of reclaimed sari fabric for a material redesign competition.
The goal of this piece was to reclaim Indian aesthetics from frequent alteration and appropriation in western fashion, by creating a fusion of the two cultures that preserves the sanctity of each.
Find photos of the process here.
2011, in collaboration with Seeds of Empowerment
1001 Stories is an initiative I collaborated on to encourage children in underprivileged areas to hone their creativity and literacy for self-empowerment.
In each community, we host a workshop to help children share and publish the stories they want to tell; then, we funnel the profits from each sold book back to the child author's education.
In early 2011, I led the team to rural schools near my hometown in India to implement one of the first 1001 Stories workshops. These pilots were transformational for us, as we iterated on how to design prompts that foster the vulnerability and creative confidence required for each child to bring forth the stories inside of them.
Find more about the workshops and stories here.