a curious mind


drawing - cia mooney

drawing - cia mooney

If Americans decide to end the use of coal, seems only fair we commit to retraining folks in Colorado and Utah; the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana; the coal mines throughout Appalachia and those working the first coal basins discovered in 1673 by the Europeans at the edges of the Illinois River*. These are the largest in US**. There's no easy answer to retraining any workforce, especially when the tech future so clearly seduces and dominates our point of view. Education now shifts to new areas of focus for the era the Polish sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman, calls "liquid modernity". To meet the endeavor, we become more mindful of the planetary, employment and artificial intelligence future that is both blessing and curse. To counterbalance any further deterioration of human senses -- meaning the geo-political sense, the human dignity sense and the environmental sensibility -- we start from a new scratch pad where wealth and work decouple.

How can we do better?

drawing - cia mooney

drawing - cia mooney

I don't have answers, but seek some. 

in drawing the tomb for coal, i imagined it placed at the mouth of the last coal shaft mined thinking the miners and the nation deserved a formal place of remembrance.


1/ https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/future-coal-mining-energy-illinois/Content?oid=22523058
2/ wikipedia




What solutions to flood control and flood barriers already exist today? I went looking for answers.

The world of emergency preparedness is caught between yesterday and today. An internet search delivers up the Army Corps of Engineers studying 4 foot round tubes made from geo-textiles that would wrap around structures, ribbon along rivers and defend eroding beaches. Another found the Chinese deploying gabions, huge wire cages filled with stone. Then there are modular barrier walls and membrane systems used in Europe. I looked up sandbags and found that I could get 8 bags if I lived in the flood zone in my area. Hmmm...8 bags. That's about enough to fill one doorway.

What struck me was the breadth of solutions and the lack of implementation of any or at the very least, visibility to their deployment in america. We continually rely on the strong backs of the National Guard and the humble sandbag. Stating the obvious -- we know water levels will rise. We know the coastal regions and watershed systems will fill as snowcaps and fresh water glaciers crack, then slide into salty seas.

Have we thought this through and what are the options?

Tambo is the name for a project that I'm working on to discover more about flood control and flood prevention. Would be cool to connect to folks who know this world.

write me -- hello@ciamooney.com




"things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other."  - euclid

white+black chair model - cia mooney

natura fresca

chesnut photo - cia mooney

chesnut photo - cia mooney

the organic and evocative beauty of nature.

expressive shoes

wangechi mutu shoes, santa fe cca museum

wangechi mutu shoes, santa fe cca museum

the kenyan artist, wangechi mutu, uses mud stick, old shoes, and gold leaf to create a forest of footwear.

where robots roam

sphero luggage photo - cia mooney

sphero luggage photo - cia mooney

before too long, this little guy won't be your luggage as robot look-alike, but a real, responsive and social character. it is easy to imagine the multitude of robots that will inhabit our future, some winning hearts and others raising doubt about human endeavor and existential threats as 'the singularity' nears.

peace symbol

peace parts.jpg

i keep revisiting the peace sign, here 3D printed striving for a yarn-like quality achievable through making flaws in the digital drawing. 

infinite beta

infinite beta.jpg

'infinite beta' is a state of mind -- agile, curious, always learning and essential to the training of the creative tribe. it's my view of education, too.

nature's forms

nature never ceases to amaze.

pine cone photo by cia mooney

pine cone photo by cia mooney

lilypad photo by cia mooney

lilypad photo by cia mooney

favorite tool

starett square

the starett combo square. it's heavy and stout, strong enough to last many lifetimes.

the 6th extinction.

elephant in the grass.JPG

Somewhere along the way, we lost our way.

i read today of the increased speed with which species are dying. as a nation, we have told the world that we want to renegotiate the Paris climate accord. if time is of the essence, where is the urgency to act?

what future have we left the next generation? 

the blackest black

vantablack is the blackest black on earth. consisting of tiny carbon nanotubes adhered to a substrate, the tubes capture more than 96% of light. the effect on three-dimensional surfaces obliterates the visual changes in form. the material has been developed for use in outer space where thermal cycling, high shock and vacuum are present.


vantablack samples are available to commercial and educational customers and may be ordered from the lab in england. a new spray version of the material allows applications to be applied like paint, but controlled conditions are required. samples are currently costing about 600 Euro.

missing zaha

of the many stellar women in the world, zaha hadid was a creative standout for me. her bravery and strength of vision were evidence of a once-in-a-lifetime talent. she stood self-assured in a profession dominated by men. her bold and noble persian eyes wide open, she throttled architecture where it had not gone before to realize the crisp shards of her seminal "peak" project in hong kong to the undulating curves and speed-filled volumes of stadiums, office towers and museums.

zaha hadid imagined a new architecture. she strode a wave born from the architectural association, the radical london school. around the world, experiments were percolating by gehry, tschumi and koolhas (the latter, her professor at the aa). zaha plotted her own course. she had the mathematician's view of digital age design and the artist's spirit where gravity no longer existed and fluid architecture floated curves with rigorous abandon.

i miss zaha. i wish that i had known her in life. she was an amazing architect and an amazing woman.

future watch.

DesignWeek/PDX, Cia Mooney

DesignWeek/PDX, Cia Mooney

the world is shifting. not just baby seismic rumblings from the salton sea, but big thunderous tsunami warnings from the tech future of now. you see, we can't wait anymore for breathing room to ascend the heights by slow learning. today, you/me/we have to hook the rocket. VR (virtual reality) is great for gaming, but you're isolated in a specific bubble. AR (augmented reality) takes it up a notch, but xR/mr (mixed reality) is the new frontier. here, the environment that you experience in real time (your life) is fully mapped by the machine enabling designers or the user to build therein or there upon. architects use it to walk through virtual constructions and imagined spaces.  

so, get a google cardboard VR set that uses your cell phone as the screen. it's very low cost and you can pick the apps to watch. the apps are not very high fideliity, but you can go into museums that you may never get a chance to visit and skydive in a wing suit through cragged peaks and treetops. try this world out.

if designers fear obsolescence, we should. if we choose to participate in new technologies and tools, like TILT BRUSH and HOLOLENS, we can and should. the tech industry is pulling human experiences into the virtual domains of tomorrow. if you go without resistance, fine. we have to trust the creative sensibilities of artists, designers, architects and purveyors of techno-culture to help us crack the tech future in which humankind and the planet can thrive. less violence. less threats of war. less pressure on the planet and other species, let alone our own.

dreamers and creative thinkers will interpret new spaces for human interactions. the built world will be sensorially-responsive made of light, color, sound and haptic responses.

it's moving fast. 

hang on.

studio swine


studio swine (super wide interdisciplinary new explorers) is a creative practice that explores contemporary themes like terraforming and upcycling with fresh eyes. they are an inspiring duo - architect and artist. 

liquid modern

liquid modernity

liquid modernity is written by zygmunt bauman, the noted polish sociologist. he clearly outlines the transient nature of modern life and the parallel universe of inequality between those who thrive in the fluid, techno-infused present versus those skilled in the trades of the past. 

i recommend reading bauman's insightful body of work.

post-plastic economy

exploded - cia mooney

exploded - cia mooney

with my students, i explore the world of the big box stores for product design lessons.

products in these stores have a short shelf life. many toys have limited educational value and given the number of parts and pieces shown above, limited sustainable qualities. compare childhood learning about shape and color with a disney toy to the tactile richness and endless combinations of wooden blocks serving the same function.

although this particular product is designed for disassembly, it's probably hitting the landfill at the end of its useful life. 

essential form

sloop - cia mooney

sloop - cia mooney

the functional beauty of a hull. the utility of rigging. the elimination of excess.

lessons for design.


seaweed inspired

island shore - cia mooney

island shore - cia mooney

the naturally buoyant forms scattered at the water's edge never cease to amaze.