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The Federal Reserve Machine


The New York Times asked Midnight Commercial to build a Rube Goldberg Machine to help explain the Federal Reserve's effects on the economy.

As managing art director, I lead a small internal team and numerous volunteers to develop, build, and run such a machine.

We had a short amount of time to complete the project. We had less than two months to develop, from initial concept to a completed, running machine. We started by planning the main events of the machine, which we broke down into 14 steps. We construct these parts individually and found triggers to connect them later.
We had to balance many elements simultaneously. The amount of time each reaction took in relation to the voiceover, for instance. While we could control some parts, given tight time constraints, some parts were left to chance. We had to be quick and adaptable.

The overall aesthetic of the piece was unplanned and a product of our environment. We built on the second floor of Al Attara’s Metropolitan Exchange Building. The majority of the items used in the machine, and everything seen in the background, are of Al's personal collection of objects. To him we are indebted, as his collection became our “shop” during the two-week build.

Selected Press:  
The New York Times, Times Insider

Midnight Commercial, 2015
Jamie Zigelbaum, Founding Partner & Creative Director
Bailey Meadows, Art Director & Project Manager
Casey Bloomquist, Designer & Physicist
Rachel Cavelli, Industrial Designer

DaMM, Additional Help & Support
Good Look, Video Production

Al Attara


Bailey Meadows 2018 — New York, NY