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Designing for Live Performance – week 04 : Hedwig And The Angry Inch

(group) EF Sentences 

Hedwig and The Angry Inch is about freedom through completeness.

Hedwig and The Angry Inch is about a transgender woman struggling to transcend above dualities – east vs. west, woman vs. man, independent vs partnered – in her quest to find freedom through completeness.

Hedwig and The Angry Inch is about a man in East Berlin, who innocently goes through a botched sex change operation at the behest of her first lover, an american sergeant, to seize the freedom and completeness. After moving to the U.S., the sergeant leaves her and she is boggled by the duality of the world– east vs. west, woman vs. man, independent vs partnered. She tries to find her a new love, but sees the error in her ways so she finally gets closer to completeness by accepting herself.

Visual Research – to be posted

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Designing for Live Performance – week 03: Hedwig and The Angry Inch


Hedwig and the angry inch is a musical about an east berliner that went through sex change operation and the cloudiness in which her sexuality and identity meets on the quest of finding her true half.

Hedwig and the angry inch is a musical about an east berliner who, in the quest to find her other half, went through an unsuccessful sex change operation – the inch that is still there. Hedwig guides the audience by telling about his life story, talking about his mother, east Berlin, his concept of love, sexual and gender experiences he’s been through.

Hedwig and the angry inch is a musical about an east berliner that falls in love with an american and to come to the US with him goes through a sex change operation. The operation is unsuccessful, leaving an inch of her penis behind. Hedwig tell us her life story before and after the surgery, what she believes to be true love (her other half) and how her gender/sexuality plays the part in her quest of finding the love of her life.


Answers & Questions Eleanor Fuchs Instigations

The sound atmosphere of the musical is a berlin punk rock scene fusion with american pop rock; Hedwig is a kind of “attention whore” character, so the set should try to focus on him as much as possible (possibly with lightning, costume, and elements/set arrangement/composition). Because the actor talks directly with the audience, I believe the set design has to reflect this is some sense (be an open space, make the audience feel comfortable etc). Hedwig’s story is about about pairing, finding someone, transitions, passages, rendez-vous, so there should be movement on stage – scenes happening in different parts of it, character constantly walking. Lou Reed, Iggy pop, david bowie etc should be used as attitude, gesture & aesthetic inspiration for the character. I feel there’s a sense of Rocky Horror Show to it (on how Hedwig interacts with the audience). There’s also an important factor that is the décalé atmosphere through the musical: the lack of success of the surgery (was this sex operation a desire of their?), this “limbo” state Hedwig finds herself (“where my penis used to be / where my vagina never was”), her life in the US,the fact that she is presenting her musical over someone else’s set design. The elements used in the art direction should reflect this decay sense, they must look second hand or not intended to be used in the purpose it is being used. The ambiguous feeling of being good about herself and feeling lost about who she is (“I cry because I will laugh if I don’t”, “I laugh because I will cry if I don’t”) should be reflected in some way on the set design – and maybe try to associate it with her idea of looking for a missing half/true love? How to translate this quest and feelings towards the self through movement, physical objects, lightning, costume etc?

The Jane Street Theatre mostly presents Off-Broadway plays…so how would be a set design of an Off-Broadway musical version of the Hurt Locker ? Would it be minimalist, conceptual, ethereal? How would it work with lightning ?

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Designing for Live Performance – week 02: The Completeness


The space in the play is interior. Is contained within university labs & apartments in a city (I’d imagine New York but it could easily be an university city such as Providence, New Haven etc). Time behave in a nonlinear way; the big arch of the plot happening in a linear way but are currently intervened by different times (the appearance of their former lovers in the apartment as well as the simultaneous scene of them kissing future lovers). It is mostly a slow time, grounded to real life pace. It’s also seems that the story happens during a few months. The environments look a bit empty; the university environment and Elliot’s apartment seem cold, while Moly’s apartment looks a bit warm with the sunset light. The mood of the play is of naive intimacy being constantly hurt by the distance the characters end up building. Most of the mood and tone of the play are created by the alternation between scientific dialogs & philosophical / life reflection ones. It portrays life as it is, people building relationships and the consequences of time & intimacy. The characters are seeing as isolated characters for the majority of time – the conversations points out a lot how each of them have their own small planet. The tensions happen in pair but it’s clear to see that the main characters have internal conflicts that lead to their conflicts with other characters. There is a valorization on the intellectual interaction constantly happening in the play and is through them that Molly and Elliot quite often speak in metaphor about their own perception of love. The are a lot of silences (beat) and there are not a lot of changes in the scene, but it just goes with the pace of the play: as life it is and as thought in our mind come and go: a lot of scenes are representations of the main character’s minds, taking them to different places, times and partners.

It’s a story about relationships.

It’s a story about grad students with commitment issues trying to build relationships.

It’s a story about two grad students that meet each other and start a relationship while collaborating on a software development. The software goal is to help analyzing a scientific data set related to DNA proteins, trying to filter it to a most accurate data set. The search for this perfect algorithm in many ways relate to their quest within relationships, always trying to find a pairing (like the proteins in DNA) in their love lives & questioning if past or present partners are/were “home”.





When I designed my cornell box I had in my mind how the stories happening in the play were being dealt with their obstacle. The idea of having a software running a data set to refine it and make scientific research more objective (and in some way more simply) is very similar with the mental moment that both of the characters are going through: of analyzing past and present relationships/behaviours in relationships in an attempt to simplify the search for love. Elliot and Moly and Don and Lauren and Katie and Dan are like DNA Proteins and the possible combination of these people could generate a “true love/true home”. The repetition of the names and the combinations of unlikely couples tries to reflect all the possible combinations a software might generate – but also showing the “offsprings” and “recessive” combinations, how the combination problem is way more complex than the characters want it to be. Inspired on a computer screen, I’ve done the box as a reflection object for the characters of the play – as if they are expecting some kind of solution to pop out of the blank blue screen.

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designing for live performance – week 01: readings & reflections

This week’s readings were Eleanor Fuchs’ Visit To A Small Planet and Peter Brook’s The Empty Space first and last chapter. On the first class Andrew mentioned how concepts of time and space are important to design for live perfomance and I think that this is some way influenced my perception, conclusions and questionings regarding both texts.

On Visit To A Small Planet we are presented to a drama teaching tool based on wanderings the author finds relevant to designing the space(and in a more metaphorical sense the “planet”) where the story lives in. She keeps on teasing the reader by asking about a wide range of elements of any play. How physical elements can translate sensations, seasons, emotions and time? How and does the passage of time influences changes in the play world ?How time is perceived in this world? Perceiving the stage/set design as a world of its own made me conclude how her relation between time and space is limited to the space where the play will take action, and how the space can translate two different connotations of time: time as a period to context (how space translate a certain time) and as a sensible dimension (the passage of time). In a sense, all of her concern regarding the space is to stimulate the perception of each single aspect/piece/object/lightning/costume of this world as a character itself, how all of them can relate to the storyline of the play.

Eleanor Fuchs made me feel like designing for the stage is a very internal process in the sense that you are always reaching the play itself to find your answers. On the other hand, Peter Brook’s theatre philosophy goes in a very opposite way because he shows the process of design a play as a external and collaborative one – making the proper differentiations between the kinds of relations built within the agents that are rich(immediate theatre) and the ones that dulls the theatre(deadly theatre). The latter relies on reproducing, on the attempt of keeping the dead alive. Brooks argues that going back to the original text of the play has to be in an inspiration/reference perspective rather than a replication – considering it will always be out of its original context. For older plays there is the aggravating factor of not having the actual reference (the original play) documented – in the same sense as a history of soundscape is very recent due to lack of documentation of soundscapes during the decades. What is written is not enough to make a play; to make it work it has to become more contemporary and more “real”, it should be updated to cultural changes and context in which it’s still relevant.

The Immediate Theatre, pointed by Brooks as the most compelling process is all about interations & interactions between all the involved parties. It’s an on going process that potentialities how the crew can co-create together from the moment it’s a writing to the repercussion it might have outside the stage.The play itself is in constantly evolution and the first time it concretizes itself is in the moment it happens. Set designer, play writes, directors, actors and (especially) audience get involved in the process of designing the play. He talks a lot about how having a plan is good to have but they are only validated when all parts face together the challenge of the moment/ live performance. Once they start rehearsing, they will see how theory can works, what can me improved and how everyone involved in the play can collaborate to make it happen. The audience takes a great part in the process because only when the designed piece interacts with the audience that you have the real feedback. He exemplifies by comparing european vs american audience & big cities vs small villages to illustrate how a successful play will always take in consideration the context in which the public is.

Living in Brazil for most of my life, I’ve seen a few international plays coming to town and failing or succeeding depending on how much weigh the context had on the design of the play. Cats was a big temporary production and was very true to it’s original play. Set design, music and choreography impeccably replicated the original ones, but it was clear there was no effort in adapting the content of the music to the audience – all we had was a subtitle screen to follow the story. On the other hand the college adaptation of The Book of Mormon was so successful in considering the context of the audience (specially adapting the lyrics to Rio de Janeiro’s reality) that they had to extend their tour from 2 weeks to 3 months.

Both of the theatre types portrayed by Peter Brooks considers the time spent on the design process and what is the context in which the play takes place – and how these notions of time reflects on the play itself. The play is born the moment it is being written; it grows while directors, choreographers, set designers, actors & other agents are collaborating among each other and building an identity for it; it reaches its first “adulthood” when it faces the audience and it keeps on transforming accordingly to the context it is.

How far can you go on designing a play just relying on the written piece? how to work with a multidisciplinary team and keep a concise direction? how much influence can the audience have over the design of the play and how the design of the play can engage the audience in a more empathetic manner? It is clear to me there is a matter of boundary and balance in the two ways of designing a play presented by Fuchs and Brooks and I hope I’ll be able to experiment a bit of both during this semester.

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intro do PCB – project description

and we are back to the regular craziness ~~


for intro to PCB I’ll focus on last semester’s project I’ve done for Wearables Techonology class: an elbow patch for bikers. It has a fringe (fabric + fiber optic) that you could swipe (indicating if you are turning left/right) and lights up when it gets dark. for some reason vimeo is rotating the video but this is the last version of it:


even though it worked as it should, this is how the circuit was inside it:


it’s a mess and it’s tiny. this was the first time i did a perf board and it was really fun but i was kind of scared of soldering things wrongly and shortening the circuit. I had a lilytiny (just a attiny85 on a pcb) connected to a: photoresistor, a tiny servo motor and an LED. and the lilytiny was also connected to an energy converter (i needed more amperage to make the servo work) + the LiPo battery.

list of materials/components:

ATtiny85 (lilytiny PCB board)
HS-35HD Servo
Super bright LED
Toggle Switch
Lithium Ion Battery (3.7v / 500mAh)
PowerBoost 500 Charger



Code :

#include <Adafruit_SoftServo.h> // SoftwareServo library

#define SERVO1PIN 4 // Servo control line (orange) on Trinket Pin #0

Adafruit_SoftServo myServo1; //create servo object

int pos = 0; // variable to store the servo position

int photoPin = 3;
int ledPin = 1;
int brightness;
int sensorValue;

void setup() {
// Set up the interrupt that will refresh the servo for us automagically
OCR0A = 0xAF; // any number is OK
TIMSK |= _BV(OCIE0A); // Turn on the compare interrupt (below!)

myServo1.attach(SERVO1PIN); // Attach the servo to pin 0 on Trinket
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT); //LED on Model A or Pro
pinMode(photoPin, INPUT); //photosensor

void loop() {
sensorValue = analogRead(photoPin);
brightness = map(sensorValue, 0, 1023, 255, 0);
analogWrite(ledPin, brightness);

for (pos = 0; pos <= 180; pos += 10) // goes from 0 degrees to 180 degrees
{ // in steps of 1 degree
myServo1.write(pos); // tell servo to go to position in variable 'pos'
delay(15); // waits 15ms for the servo to reach the position
for (pos = 180; pos >= 0; pos -= 10) // goes from 180 degrees to 0 degrees
myServo1.write(pos); // tell servo to go to position in variable 'pos'
delay(15); // waits 15ms for the servo to reach the position

// We'll take advantage of the built in millis() timer that goes off
// to keep track of time, and refresh the servo every 20 milliseconds
// The SIGNAL(TIMER0_COMPA_vect) function is the interrupt that will be
// Called by the microcontroller every 2 milliseconds
volatile uint8_t counter = 0;
// this gets called every 2 milliseconds
counter += 2;
// every 20 milliseconds, refresh the servos!
if (counter >= 20) {
counter = 0;
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wearables – week 10 / almost there!

/ last week update

I was still struggling with the servo motor and the fringes. I kept on trying with the motor, trying different libraries to make it work with the attiny85 but nothing worked. So I decided to put it aside and go back to the fringes.

Me and Jordan went to “Shape Changing Materials” workshop held by Wearshop and Nomena on the first weekend of April. While I was there, I got some feedback over the project and decided to give one last shot for the reflective band + photoluminiscent thread. When you put them under light (artificial or natural), they become photoluminscent.File_001


So I sewed the photoluminescent thread on the reflective ribbon and it wasn’t bright enough.



I decided to keep with the fringes and I’ll try a technique with hot glue to weight it and illuminate the fiber optic better; also last week’s guest speaker gave me the tip that I should reach Corning for their Diffused Fiber Optic.


yes it finally did! After struggling so much I decided to reach out to one of the residents (Pedro) and the problem was that I was using the wrong library . So this is the circuit working:


/ fabrication time

So it’s time to fabricate with the real materials! At least to have a prototype closer to the final thing and be able to see where I have to make it better. I’ve decided that my aesthetic is a “a punk haute-couture” acessory. I got a vinyl fabric that looks like a matte leather and it stretches in one way. To have a nice and clean cut I went to the Cameo Sillouette cutter we have a t the soft lab and started testing the cutting settings & sizes. it is a pretty easy machine to use, the trickiest part for me was that the cutting mats were all worn out and didn’t have enough adherence to make the vinyl stick to it – leading to a few blobs while cutting and double cuts with different origins.


After I got the settings right, I went to do the model on illustrator and cut it. It went very well and I’ve also done some tests with the sewing machine. for some reason the white ones would go through the vinyl, but the baby blue went pretty well (thank you Teresa!)


/ assembling



and when I fit the photocell and the servo mount with the fringes…it didn’t work. I’m still trying to figure out why it didn’t work, but I’ve noticed that often the circuit behaves weirdly, so I have to figure this out.

But the circuit is working, I have an assembling/fabrication pretty clear – is just a matter of stabilizing things. when it’s all together.

/finals observations

Last class, one thing Despina said is that even if we don’t have our product finished the important is to have the experience finished. I rethought about the idea of having a glove with a switch and…this is not what I was looking for at first. I went back to my core requirements and definitely practical / organic is in the scope. I want bikers to use it without having to think how they will turn the fringes on or off. On this perspective, the lighting part is doing is job; the movement in the fringes is what I want to also be as effortless as possible. So for the final presentation, I’ll just “fake” the experience. Like I’ve said before, my goal is that the signalization system can anticipate when you are going to turn (not when you are turning).

/presentation structure

  1.  inspiration
  2. concept
  3. core requirements
  4. first material tests
  5. user observation
  6. narrowing of the product
  7. product dissection
  8. production steps
  9. final product
  10. next steps to further develop it
  11. learnings



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wearables / week 08 – keep it running

/ fringes

This week I kept on testing the fringes, using more fiber optic as well as reflective fabric. I cut the reflective ribbon in thinner ribbons and sew it in the back of the fringe. It gave the fringe more structure but lightning wise it didn’t make it brighter.

I also tested adding a second layer of optic fiber and it lights up better, but it’s still not too bright. I’m struggling to find a way of making this system to work (make the fringes brighter!) and therefore I’ll try to test to make the fringes with photoluminescent thread.

Personally I prefer the fiber optic aesthetic and I feel that the fiber optic can work if I add more layers but it also takes a lot of time due to the preparation process (cutting, sand papering, going through the fringe’s holes, gathering all fiber optic, glueing it and attaching to the LED – around 4 hours in a 5cm fringe).

/mini servo

my tiny servo arrived and I’m very excited about it! I started testing it with the Arduino Uno and it works great; with the Lilytiny I’m still trying to figure out what is happening because it doesnt look like its obeying the code (although it is spinning). I’ll reach for the residents and other students that have done prjects with servos and attinys this week.

I’ve also tested the stacking solution for the circuit and it works great! So for now, I’ll use the weird neoprene as my ~ enclosure ~ for the circuit

File_001 (1)


after doing some tests, I’ve realized that I’ll need at least 5V to power my circuit (specially because the servo needs at least 4.8V to work). I checked and the attiny can take up to 5.5V. I tested the circuit with the bench power supply and for some reason the servo was not driving any current – I guess this has to do with the buggy servo library for attinys, hopefully this will be fixed soon.

But in any case, it will be more likely that to power it up I’ll be using two 3V coin cells in series (~ 6V).

/how i forgot this?

so after I was working this week on the elbow patch I realized I had forgotten something very important… how am i going to turn the circuit on and off?!

I was mesmerized on how I just blanked it from my mind and since I started the project I’ve been biking more, so this week I was just observing my own movements to see what kind of movement I could do to turn it on/off. I’ll prototype a fingerless glove with some button within in to see how it feels because the hands seems to be the best place to put it (specially because there are some areas of it that you never touch).

so for next week my tasks are:

  • test photoluminescent fringe
  • get motor to work properly
  • make glove and test how comfortable it feels


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wearables – week 07 / sizing it properly & choosing an aesthetic direction

/quick update from last last week

last last week I focused on making the circuit to work – servo, photocell and LED. and it worked. I started testing it with an Arduino Uno, but for the elbow patch I need to size it down, in a way that the whole circuit can be inside it. So I decided to try one of the sewable microcontrollers and use the technique of stacking up (Pibow is a good example) a soft and thick material to be sure the circuit would have all the elements in place and safely cushioned.

i tried using the arduino gema at first but for some reasons things didn’t work well – and in the end, I accidentaly shortened it while soldering wires on the board. a bit frustrated, I gave me a time out of this and restart with a clear mind.

/attiny 85

and so I decided to start with something a little bit more trickier to set but better on the size: a lilytiny board (sewable pcb with an attiny85). after setting the arduino software, I started doing some tests bootloading the microcontroller. one great thing about it is that the synthax is pretty much the same, so is just a matter of knowing which pins are digital and analog and pluging things properly.

I started making the separate actions to work: first the combo LED + photocell. it worked great:



and then I tried working with the servo motor. (ps: I ordered a servo that I’m very excited about using because it’s height is the same as a penny) and it’s not working properly. it looks like it is sending the signal, but there is not enough power to make it work the way it was on the arduino board. I’ve been talking with some colleagues that have done projects with attinys and servos, hopefully i’ll get this to work (with the tiny servo) this week.

/mood inspired

along with the circuitry, I was also thinking about the aesthetic of the patch…but I didn’t know how I wanted it to look. I knew I wanted to keep on working with the fringes + optic fiber , but i had no clue on what kind of fabric I wanted the structure to be.

and so I went to mood and got very inspired by a vinyl fabric they had there. it looks like a matte leather and as soon as i found it, it hit me – the elbow patch will be a luxury fashion statement,an haute-couture accessory for female commuters.



and so I tested a thinner fiber optic with the fringers – they light up better that the ones on the prototype, but I should test with more than one thread per whole to light it up more

and after talking with Viniyata (a dear ITPers friend), I found that I could find a lot of inspiration on Comme des Garçons Fall 2016 show in which Rei Kawakubo imagines punks on the 18th century, so inspiring! and I believe those two looks below are related to what I’ll try to reach within the next weeks.

/ next steps

  • finish circuit
  • test stacking technique with fabric
  • test vinyl
  • think interesting attachments systems
  • prototype
  • prototype
  • […]
  • prototype
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radio ga ga / final – invisibilidade

For radio ga ga’s final, I decided to do a sound installation using brazilian sociologist Luiz Eduardo Soares work about invisibility. His essays published on the book Cabeça de Porco addresses the topic on the light of brazilian society’s perception and stigma over kids that were born and raised in underprevileged communities in Brazil. Working with an apparently empty space, the user gets in a room and is given a listening device.


Through radio transmition and emition, two different frequencies that alternate each other are transmitting synched audio recordings of a woman (reference to the unclear goal of numbers station) reading the essays – in english and in portuguese. As the public walks in the room, the listening device will hop between the frequencies, creating intentional noise to the understanding of the essay by making it understandable/visible or obfuscate/invisible in different areas of the room.



So the first thing I tried was to receive/listen signals with GQRX + RTL-SDR radio set. After a few software updates and installed it worked fine. So I went to the other challenge: to transmit radio signals.

I reached out to the student list and I got this 80s Radio Shack FM wireless mike transmitter. It was very insteresting to see that it all came to be assembled – and how basically to make a radio transmitter is just a matter of putting a bunch of capacitor, resistors and antenna together.


I thought there was a chance of it doesn’t work because I have no idea when Radio Shack had that logo, but it workedIMG_1348 !

The transmitter works between 91-96 MHz and the “potentiometer” that sets the frequency is very small. It doesn’t give any visual indication of what frequency you are tuned in to, so I had to turn the GQRX on keep on tapping the mic / whistling on it and see where I saw some kind of distortion on the frequency. It really messed up the signal:

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 9.02.34 PM



After this experiment, I came with it to class and Surya brought a few questions to me: was I able to stabilize the frequency transmission? Is the antenna the right length? How is the output of the transmission and reception (aka what will be the experience)?

So the first thing I did was to use an antenna that was the right size. For the frequency range, the antenna had to be between 3-3.20 m. So I coiled it up and went back to the GQRX to see how the signals would be. This time they were not distorting the whole range and they showed a stronger signal.IMG_1349




And then I decided to experiment and replace the microphone on the transmitter for a jack plug. I plugged it in and turned the transmitter on as well as turned the music on on Spotify.


And this is what I got:

Because I was using the jack plug in to transmit music, I wasn’t able to listen to the GQRX. So I tried using a jack splitter, but it didn’t work – I was listening to both audios (the computer and the radio).

/next steps

Although the class is over, I really feel motivated to keep on developing this project. There are a lot of things that I should explore (ie soundflower and rpitx), so the next steps are the following:

transmit recorded sounds from transmitter

“anchor” audio to two specific frequencies

control frequency hopping

design user (receiver) device

fabricate transmitter(s) and receiver

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energy / final proposal

Living Things  – plant sculptures shaped and powered by the wind

“Podran cortar todas las flores pero, no podran detener la Primavera”

( You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.) – Pablo Neruda

New York is a very windy city due to its grid based urban planning. There is a new urban design wave of making big cities more green. Around big cities you can see signs of “nature resistance”, in which trees invade the pavement.


In Brazil, there is a famous tree on the northeast coast called Arvore da Preguiça (Lazy Tree), that due to the strong wind current was shaped by it – for some people, it’s lonely existence represents resistance. The installation is using the poetic idea of resistance by putting a plant through a wind “stress” situation and despite all of it, it is still there alive and growing.


/the plant sculpture

Acrylic box(es, if feasible) with four covered wholes on its sides. Inside it, there is a plant. Using the power of the wind those wholes will be open or closed; what will define which wholes are being opened is the wind direction. I’d like to place them outdoors, in the corner of a building’s balcony.


open question should I place the box in some corner outdoors or should I simulate the wind indoors? (outdoors I could just put the plant that the would do the job?)

/ material list

Motors (probably DC or Servo)
Wind Power Collector (?)

/ project development chronogram

3/24 to 3/31 – refining concept and updating material list (choosing which plant I’ll use)

3/31 to 4/7 – wind power tests

4/7 to 4/14 – motors and mechanisms

4/14 to 4/21 – mechanisms and fabrication

4/21 to 4/28 – putting it together

4/28 to 5/5 –  finalizing boxes

/ references

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