Smaller and Upside Down is an arcade of distorting lenses custom-made for the Market Street Prototyping Festival. It's like a carnival hall of mirrors, except instead of seeing yourself you see other people (and Market street) squished, stretched, pinched, distorted, and otherwise mixed up.
We hope that the contorted images these lenses create will help passers-by see Market Street in a new light. For the commuters and residents who travel the same route many times a week, it's easy to become numb to the multifaceted complexity of a vibrant street like Market. For the street's countless new visitors, the amount of activity can overwhelming, making everything a blur. Like a pair of spectacles, we hope this project brings the fascinating particulars of Market street—its people, its architecture, and its quirks—into focus.
We made a number of prototypes (both physical and digital) before arriving at our final design. First we wrote custom computer software to predict what Market would look like through the lenses and help us pick the most interesting lens shapes. Then we 3D-printed small test lenses using promising shapes. For the final product we used a computer-controlled router to cut the lenses from blocks of plastic, polishing by hand afterward.
If you like this idea, "me too" it to stay updated on it's progress. Feel free to share your insights in the "How can you help?" section. If you'd like to get involved with this project, let us know. You can fill out a volunteer form
to help with the overall festival.