The project

Hidden in Plain Sight is a mixed-media installation that shares stories of New York City street food vendors through interactive 3D printed sculptures of food carts and the people behind them.

3CARTS

In this series of portraits, each work features video and audio merged into 3D printed high-fidelity sculptures of food carts and the people behind them – Ana, Dany and Thiru. The piece offers a new approach to documentary, merging older media formats with newer technologies.

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High fidelity 3D scanning techniques were explored in order to use the physical model of the cart as small canvas. When users interact with it, audio is triggered and the vendor starts sharing their stories in their own words. As the narrative unfolds, minimalistic animations that complement the audio tracks are mapped on top of the cart.

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DIVER

Immigrant communities are responsible for the creation of the iconic culture of street food that is so particular to NY. Together, the three people portrayed in the project reveal different pieces of a complex and broken street vending system.

In our current cultural climate, where immigration and cultural differences at the forefront of many conversations, this project aims to give both immigrant communities a chance to share their stories, and the broader public an opportunity to see the important and enriching cultural layers that exist beyond the food carts.

Thiru Kumar

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Thiru

Thiru Kumar is also known as the Dosa Man from Washington Square Park. Originally from Sri Lanka and serving South-Indian vegan food, Thiru has conquered a loyal fan base of customers who are willing to stay in a long line just to get a bite of his dosa.

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Digital 3D scan of Thiru’s cart

Listen to Thiru’s story here:

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MEET THIRU AT

WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK

MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY

11:30AM – 4PM

Ana Herrera

anasquare
Ana

Ana Herrera is an Ecuadorian woman who has proudly served hotdogs and tamales in Corona – Queens for the past 17 years. She has been fighting for a vending permit for more than a decade and today she faces the dilemma of renting somebody else’s permit in the black market or taking the risk of working without one and getting arrested.

Listen to her story here:

 

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MEET ANA AT

BROADWAY AVENUE AND 74th STREET

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MORNINGS

 

 

Dany Hassan

danysquare
Dany

Like many others, Dany came to New York more than a decade ago following his American Dream. Today he sells coffee and bagels to NYU students and tourists at the intersection of Broadway and Waverly Place:

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Listen to Dany’s story:

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3D printed model of Dany’s cart

 

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MEET DANY AT

721 BROADWAY AVENUE – NEW YORK, NY.

MONDAY – FRIDAY  |  6 AM – 1PM

About the artist

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Michelle Hessel is a multimedia creator born in Sao Paulo and based in New York City. She is currently a Research Resident at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Her interests lie at the intersection of technology, non-fiction storytelling and transmedia immersive experiences.

See more of her work here.

Get in touch.