If someone asked me 10 years ago if I believed I would be submitting my letter with added professor letters to gain acceptance into a university honors program, I wouldn't have believed them. And yet here I am today with a 3.5 GPA asking for admission. My personal insights of how artists should live for all to read:
Essay 1: Select an artistic or creative experience that you have had that was extraordinarily rewarding or frustrating to you and explain what made it so. What did this experience tell you about yourself and the role of the arts in society.
The latest multimedia class I took was to learn to design, develop and deploy iOS iPhone apps. While I am already well versed in web programming languages so much so that upper class-men often ask for my assistance, I took this class having no knowledge of computer programming languages. When it came time to submit our proposal for our final project I chose an app concept I had been developing during my first semester at UArts, that was originally intended to run off web code than computer science code. I could have chosen to design something as simple as a link directory, however I wanted to push my skills, devotion and knowledge to the limits. This no doubt happened as I surpassed over 100 hours of designing and programming over 3 months and hundreds of dollars from my own pocket that I made from my multimedia internship with Professor Jonathan Davis at Boyd Tamney Cross.
What came from this besides an average of just 5 hours of sleep each day for a month was something incredible. Something so amazing that even I couldn't have foreseen how much of an impact it would make. The app, Philly Date Safety (PDS) is designed to assist first and blind date users within the central Philadelphia area. It uses a two fold redundancy system by utilizing a dedicated server’s custom coded databases that are online 24/7 as well as the phone itself. GPS locational captures designed in a simi-confidential way and a spoof prevention system to send alerts regardless of the phones status. Despite the complexity of the backend, the frontend of the app is extremely simple and can be understood in just five simple steps. In addition to this I designed the user interface to assist users with visual and mental disabilities as well as run the tutorial in five spoken languages.
Needless to say, near every department within UArts was blown away from Multimedia to Dance, Art Therapy to Acting. Just a few weeks prior to PDS being submitted to Apple’s app store and going live to the world, I received a private request from the class professor, Slavko Milekic, to repurpose the source code of PDS into a new app for campus security. The new app dubbed Interpersonal Campus Security (ICS) has both old and newly designed functions that will interlink into any university’s system for campus-wide security for each student. Any security staff members, professors or students can use it. It also has an API Key tie-in for the Philadelphia Police Department. And within the next few months I hope to personally present this to the administrative staff and deans of UArts, UPenn, Drexel and Temple as the app can be custom edited for each university needs, theme and student body.
This has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I designed PDS to solve a problem, nothing more. Not turn a profit, have numerous interviews or become famous. My hope is that it’ll become one of the most important interactive system for personal and campus security of 2013. This isn't even the only system I am building in my off-time. My first semester I built the Augmented Reality World Reactive System (AR-WR-S) that I continue to develop open source code for and this semester with my Intro to Interactive Programming I plan to work with the Dance department to design an interactive motion capture system to assist anyone who wishes to learn to dance anything, at there own pace without costly lessons. As to what I’ll build when I study abroad in South Korea this coming fall? I can’t yet say, but it’ll be nothing short of making the Philadelphia newspaper's headlines.
One thing will remain constant across each system I build: to aid users lives. We live in such an amazing age of technology that anything is possible, we need only have the motivation to make it and desire to let others freely use it. I personally believe as artists we have a duty to society to betters everyone’s live. Things such as wealth and status should have no part in what we do. Like the Hippocratic Oath, artists should swear to make art that will better society with little to no monetary value being asked except for the upkeep of such work. When devices and systems are designed that could forever impact users lives for the better, but at such high monetary value like Apple’s first generation iPad or Jawbone’s Up, it becomes failed art. But when devices like the One Laptop per Child and systems like Twitter are at near free prices, the results very well can change the world, if not governments, such as the recent Egyptian regime change, largely due to the ability to spread uncensored information faster than news organizations due to Twitter. Some people live to make money, others raise children or become a businessman. And while none of these are wrong, I choose to live my life to better our society first, myself second.