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The Myth of Man, a thermochromatic storybook : Computational Craft Final

For this final, I began by considering a few ideas: an interactive painting, work with dye-sensitized solar cells, an animated font. I determined which material or technique  I would want to focus on: thermochromatic dust; unfortunately, the orange thermochromatic dust I wanted to work with arrived very much after it said it would, resulting in a pressing time limit for assembly.
The silver lining of this was that I got to spend a lot of time on the words, story and concept of the piece.
Playing with the thermochromatic dust in swatches, my first reflections on the material were over its rapid pace of change, its reactionary and transformative quality, and its sensitivity to heat. The vibrant orange also contributed to my overall interpretations of these factors as a way of visualizing global warming.

After advice from Liza not to be too obvious or literal, I decided to make a project that would serve as a warning in form of a narrative that takes place in the future. The form would be a strange book. The premise is is described here:

The artifact you are about to see was found deep within an undersea cavern, ossified at a temperature of 550’F.
It is an estimated 5000 years old
This book, made of three pages, tells the story of a creature that no longer roams the earth

One that was swallowed up for its crimes against the land

It was only until recently that we have been able to decrypt the language it was written in.

Words was one of the things this creature was known for

Although history recorded few details about this species

We know their language was best commanded by the higher societies

who benefitted from the use of slaves

At first they enlisted their own species but after some advances they commanded

Machine monks

It is likely one of the last loyal machines wrote this text

A document of a species succumbed,

An ode to the life of his master,



The final text is below:

It is hot here/
A hot day like this has never happened before.

Before the ocean split everywhere, earth was expansive.
There was so much cold ground, man walked on glaciers


We were born with eyes glazed over

our feathers became webbed and shrunk from atomic expansion.

Man was minuscule but the soil soon knew of him.
He used tools to make the most,

these instruments cut lines and drew pieces

with no account of time or toadstool

without knowing dirt.

Many creatures inhabited man, and lived also on the land.

Man did not mind their keep, & tried to pave a way

outside commodius living.
Soon we marooned man

left him on a crater where water surrounded him.

He lit magma and boiled down to earth

into the pinches he prodded

reaching the bloody belly

he held out antennae made from his own fibrous nerves

to anneal Etna.

Steam sunk and the smell blistered everyone

Stones now stoves, a vapor rose

the loving sun had popped earth’s skin

and sealed our bodies deep within

sweet heat to scald and sear

blue place gone red

man no longer here.


I realized I wanted this book to parallel a creation myth, but it details the end of a species, not the beginning. I made two different fonts before I settled on cursive, which would be much easier to cut and glue, since it is sorted word by word rather than letter by letter. This worked out with my concept, since cursive is a traditional human-hand font, but I was having it cut my a laser cutter ( a machine monk). The language of the poem references the syntax and diction of genesis: the use of infinitives and the constant references to man and land.

Check out my step-by-step process documented here, on Instructables.


Future directions would be developing some counterpart artifacts or creating a video to fully submerge this piece in the NeoPrimalScifi setting it belongs. Also, including illustrations to make the book recall an illuminated manuscript, with modern images breaking out of the panels that so stifled medieval codices.

In terms of a video, I want to include projection mapping// ofxpimapper / raspberry pi to project a magnifying glass above the audience and the altar. There needs to be more explicit imagery implying the viewers/reader are microbial organisms of the future that thrive in hot weather, since, as the globe warms, species get smaller.

I’d like to coat the book in Hydrophobic medium so it can withstand water- have it boiling in a jar, mythically, as part of the video and/or presentation, and nicely record the laser cutting process which is so visually playful from its heat.
-Clean up the altar (cut copper and think of aesthetics more)

-consider painting back of the letters with graphite/carbon powder or magnetic paint to make them stick to magnets hidden in internal pages– instead of messy/snotty modge podge. ++ creates interactivity in book





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