DiscoTransformer in the House

Craft & Design Music
DiscoTransformer in the House


When Brooklyn-based artist and technologist Thomas Stevenson rolls in with his chromed, unsuspecting food cart, you can guarantee that a party will ensue in short order. Instead of treats, his cart, aptly titled the DiscoTransformer, is serving up fresh, hot beats. When it’s folded up, it looks like just your run-of-the-mill oversized food cart, but it pops open and transforms to a killer sound system on wheels, complete with lights and disco ball. Stevenson is bringing the DiscoTransformer to World Maker Faire New York this weekend (yay!), September 21 and 22 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. We chatted with him to learn more.


1. What inspired you to build the DiscoTransformer?
A love of loud music, bright lights, and 1980s New York City.

2. Tell us about the DiscoTransformer’s features. What’s going on in the box?
The interior holds all the tech: intelligent lights, a disco ball, amplifiers, and a very large embedded sound system. In addition, the articulating windows, which are mirrored on the inside.


3. What types of places have you taken the DiscoTransformer to and how has it been received?
DiscoTransformer has been installed and performed outside twice in New York City. In each of the installs, Union Square and Lower East Side, it was walked through the neighborhoods as the sound system was playing. Once it arrived at the destination, the windows were opened and the lights turned on. Maker Faire is the first time that it will be performed inside.


4. How did you hear about Maker Faire and what made you decide to show your project?
The artist Kim Holleman who participated in last year’s in Maker Faire [and will this year as well] with her project Trailer Park suggested the Faire to me. Once I saw all the awesome happenings, I knew I wanted to be part of the event.


5. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started making and who are your inspirations?
I’m an artist, designer, builder, and technologist who has a love of impromptu social congregating and interactions. This manifests itself in rooftop campsites like Bivouac NYC, indoor parks, PublicLand DiscoTransformer the social aggregator.

Thanks Thomas! Can’t wait to check it out in person. How can you not love the DiscoTransformer? It just makes people happy! Check it out in action in this video by Sean Bloch:

Photos by Mark Romisch.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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