Week 51



Oh winter, you make me feel soooo angsty. All I want to do is sleep-in and drink hot tea. But alas! School has begun and so has the dreaded season of seasonal-affective disorder.

This quarter we are developing the exhibition for our MFA show (ah!!). For the first time, DANM will be hosting a three week long exhibition, which is both exciting and daunting. I am also enrolled in a critique class that should help me refine my thesis work, and prepare for the show.

Over the next week, I’m going to dive into a bunch of the logistical details to prioritize and narrow down what I need v. want to include in my installation.

The Roosevelt Room

Per the advice of my amazing faculty advisor, I rallied some family and friends to visit Palace Games. We managed to escape the Roosevelt Room (with only a 13% escape rate, I might add), and I was very inspired to consider new elements for my thesis installation.

* * * (?) SOME SPOILERS BELOW (?) * * * .

  • playing with shape(s)

    Flat extruded shapes were used in combination with specific color lights to create fun arithmetic puzzles that required group participation and a bit of human pattern recognition. It was so simple yet so effective and easy to understand for all players.

  • Playing with light(s)

    Lights were used in so many fun ways omg! I loved the theatrics (changing lights on and off between rooms etc.) but they were used for positive feedback and to denote concrete progress in each of the mini puzzles. My favorite though was when we uncovered hand-held mirrors as well as a color code to then refract light of that color onto specifically lettered sensors (to the extent of having to send light between/across different rooms.

  • Playing with Sound(s)

    Honestly, I leave sound to a secondary… sometimes last minute media production, but this escape room showed me how crucial it was to guide where we as participants were in the experience, e.g. how much time was left, when we completed mini puzzles, clues, etc.

Special collections

This week I visited UC Santa Cruz’ Special Collections, and was inspired by Gloria Anzaldúa’s Altares collection.


BOX 3. Gloria Anzaldúa Altares collection. MS 308. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

AFFirmations & divination


Cozy home

from the Spirit Cats Inspirational Card Deck by Nicole Piar. This adorable cat, Shrine, is telling me that I need to honor the space I have in my home, my altar, & my objects. I need to practice affirming and appreciating all the inspiration my space has to offer.


A reading about clarity, introspection, and self-love.


    • This card appeared in my spread about a month ago while I was doing a bunch of crystallization experiments. This card indicates that I have a methodical nature in my thesis production. It indicates that I need to maintain my routines and rituals in order to make meaningful progress toward my thesis. These routines will make sure I accomplish all that I hope too with my thesis work.

  • PRESENT: KNIGHT OF wands, orange (alchemy)

    • This card feels so fortunate right now, and indicates that I know what I have to do, so I should just do it. However, I honestly am feeling a little lost / ambivalent about the ambiguousness of my thesis. I need to focus and clarify what I’m trying to achieve with my work, and check-in with all of the projects I have going on to see which are the most aligned with my goals. The orange surrounding the word alchemy indicates that I need to hone in my creative forces, transform and crystallize them.

  • FUTURE: six of wands, indigo (INWARD)

    • I’ve got to focus on the task at hand! Don’t tell me this means I need to cut my Gloria Anzaldua Altares plan…maybe I just need to lower it’s priority hehe. I really need to dig deep and evaluate what I want to say to the world with my work, and pull from my life experiences and spiritual development to craft something magical for my thesis. It won’t be what I imagine unless I take the necessary steps to playtest, iterate and develop it into something wildly successful. On we go!

Zoe Sandovalucsc, winter, escape