User Preferences: Tech Q&A With Exhibition Designer Eric Socolofsky
Each week we chat about the tools of the trade with one outstanding creative to find out exactly how they do what they do. The questions are always the same, the answers, not so much. This week: Eric Socolofsky.
Who are you and what do you do?
Eric Socolofsky, an exhibit developer and designer at San Francisco’s Exploratorium. I’m also an installation artist in my off time.
What kind of hardware to you use?
We have a full wood and metalworking shop, and I use those tools often. We also have an Epilog laser cutter, a Haas CNC router, and just got a MakerBot Replicator. My desk sits in a full electronics shop, so Arduinos, sensors, etc. are on-hand. Oh yeah, and a MacBook. And a lot of Mac Minis.
What kind of software do you use?
What piece of equipment can you simply not live without?
My bike and my headphones. Yeah, I’m a hipster. I’m sorry.
If money were no object, how would you change your current setup?
It’s great having a budget. Working at an educational institution, our budgets aren’t huge, but they’re usually good enough. I’m not sure more money would make a huge impact on the way I do my (daytime) work, unless I could buy more time with it.
Is there any piece of technology that inspired you to take the path you did?
Flash. I know that makes me less of a hipster, but when I saw people like Manny Tan, Robert Hodgin, and Joshua Davis spinning their playtime into these simple but groundbreaking experiments back in the early aughts, I was hooked. And it made programming accessible to an audience of designers with a breadth that hadn’t been achieved yet. Processing is another huge one, for the same reasons, but that came a little later.
What is your favorite piece of technology from your childhood?
What fantasy piece of technology would you like to see invented?