The Inbrellas invert an everyday object’s complacent role in water preservation to an active one. This series included a handheld umbrella with an inverted shell that collects rainwater and filters it through the central shaft into a detachable bottle on the base of the handle. The shaft handle can be customized to filter acid rain or other fresh water sources with resin, clay, or aggregate system inserts. This piece was made from 100% found waste and recycled parts.

Each of these pieces of apparel hold living vegetable seedlings to be worn by a ‘Heroic Gardener,’ whom can pop them out and plant them or distribute them to people as appropriate. This TerraWear series emerged from an investigation of personal seeding and disseminating devices for decentralized, nomadic, and renegade urban-agriculture and landscape remediation. Nearly all of the appropriated objects and materials are either found or reclaimed. 

Aquaterra, M( )MENT, Moment Innovation, Thomas B. Whittlesey
Aquaterra video still of interactive tectonic.
Imagine a mesh-covered waterbed the size of a massive park, which cleans and pumps water just by playing on it.  Aquaterra was a design for a physically interactive tectonic membrane that would act as both the ground surface of a park and the (human-powered) pumping mechanism for a series of ‘Living Machine’ modules.  In other words, as you step, dance, leap, or lay down, you will be compressing the mesh surface beneath you and, in turn, compressing a large subsurface diaphragm holding water or effluent. The weight of physical motion on the walking surface causes water to be displaced in the diaphragm, thus pumping it through one-way valves to be cleansed by plants, then potable usage.     “Aquaterra” VIDEO

Light Wind Park - diurnal view
Light Wind Park was an award-winning proposal for a New England Foundation for the Arts grant. The park will consist of wind-powered light tubes that appear like elegantly arrayed stalks of reeds and are thus reminiscent of the marshland on which MassArt's Fenway campus is situated. This field of 'wind lights' will pulse brighter and dimmer in correlation to the intensity of the wind coursing through them, with the intention of heightening people's awareness of such a renewable resource. The aim was to make wind and light into dance partners, synchronized in an ephemeral and spontaneous performance.  “Light Wind Park” VIDEO

Run-on, M( )MENT, Moment Innovation, Thomas Whittlesey
The Run~On installation makes the problem, the solution. This piece appropriates existing urban infrastructure and inverts its role as a means for waste into a means for food, planting the shorelines with native wetland seeds, which will grow to counteract the runoff and effluent pollutants they journeyed with.  Before the seed-paper washes down the drain to its eventual destination, it also acts as a ‘painting’ medium to highlight and draw attention to such commonplace, yet under-considered, infrastructure. The paper pulp actually assists the germination of the embedded Cattail, Sycamore, & Marsh-grass seeds by keeping them moist and adhering to the shores where they can grow and begin fighting air, soil, and water pollution.

Power Walk, Moment Innovation, Thomas B. Whittlesey, MassArt, Sustainable Sculpture,
Reclamation Pond & Power Walk kinetic, electric model.
Winning proposal for a Sustainable Sculpture Competition at MassArt 2007. Pocket Park and Pedestrian Powered stairway leading to a Hand-Pump Water feature within a Runoff-water Reclamation Pond. The force of the pedestrians’ natural walking motion would be mechanically harnessed to power the sculptural lighting elements.   “Power Walk” VIDEO

Boat Studio, Moment Innovation, Thomas Whittlesey,
‘Wave Drafting’ - a form of Kinesthetic Design
A leaky, rusted skiff was reconstructed to create the Boat Studio. It was outfitted with a moveable drafting table, fold-out bed, and desk cover that doubles as an enclosure over the bed. This small live-work vessel invited a sense of play into the design process, while providing a direct means for in-depth research of the Superfund Coastline of San Francisco Bay. The Boat Studio provides an alternative to the design convention of the white-wall cubicle, by offering a means to physically challenge and add spatial variation to the processes of drafting, modeling, and photography. This research inspired the Watermark design (previous post).   “Boat Studio” VIDEO

Boat Studio Photography, Moment Innovation, Thomas Whittlesey
“Boat Studio” photo that inspired “Kinetic LED Handrail”
Inspired by the Boat Studio photography,  this proposal was to make flexible LED tubes into kinetic handrails along a series of piers. The luminous handrails would ride off of the water’s surface with buoyant balusters to create a haptic connection with the water. The piers serve to protect the fragile ecosystem inhabiting the ruins in this Superfund, which are slated to be demolished for development. Rather than disturb this habitat and spreading the pollution, the piers will encourage the marshland to regenerate, which remediates the PCBs, VOCs, and other pollutants found in these waters and seafloor. The piers’ anchoring Water Walls will passively desalinate and purify the polluted ocean water, to then be pumped into the city via pedestrian power.  The pier segments also generate power with the wave and tidal surge, affording electricity to the luminous handrails.  “Watermark” VIDEO

M( )MENT, Moment Innovation, Thomas B Whittlesey
'Water Wall' desalinates & cleans H2O with Sunlight
This was a Master Plan design for an event center and site restoration for the preexistent marshland abutting San Francisco Bay. The Mission Creek Center features a double Water Wall throughout its south-facing envelope, which work passively with sunlight to purify and desalinate the polluted ocean water for potable usage in the building. 

Moment Innovation, Thomas B Whittlesey
The potable water is pumped through the building via transparent  handrails to provide a haptic connection to the regenerated resource. The Water Wall scheme was also intended to have an attractive aesthetic effect, as the light would pass through and cast upon the visitors. The salt corrosion on the building’s façade would provide an evolving patina to its surface.