Making Soap

Here at Second Story, we pride ourselves on pushing the edges of existing technologies. But we also know how to create things using old-school methods. Back in our Media Lab – a place where multi-touch tables and depth sensing reactive displays reign supreme – lead physical prototyper Sam Jeibmann has been casting, modeling, sculpting, and pouring his own soap.


Our team is wrapping up over two years of work on the University of Oregon’s new Alumni Center, including the creation of three 13-foot tall “Culture Cascades” – beautiful monolithic display cases full of graphics and cool UO-related artifacts. Our task was to think of artifacts which would tell the stories of well-known UO alumni and in turn speak to the University’s enduring values.

Okay, okay. But why is Sam making pink SOAP?

Chuck Palahniuk, author of “Fight Club”, is a proud UO alum, and the creative, rebellious voice in his fiction inspired us to include his story and a bar of Fight Club soap in our display.

The reason I’m blogging about this? Because I love the fact that, in addition to being surrounded by folks who are wizards in technology and all the latest gadgets, there’s also Sam back there in the lab literally making things by hand from scratch. As different artistic mediums become more and more screen-based and digitized (for example filmmaking, my personal love), tactile processes like making soap take on a special value. They remind us that it feels good to touch things – real things. That making art can be messy and experimental. That we sometimes have to wait awhile to see the results of our efforts (remember when you took your film to be developed and how exciting it was to pick up those photos?) And finally, that the satisfaction of creating something by hand is different – I won’t say better – but certainly different than making something on a computer. Because it’s very reality is due to the time, instincts, decisions, and contact you brought to the process along the way.

So Bravo, Sam. When asked what the best part about making soap is, he smiled wryly and said “The clean-up is REALLY easy.”

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– David Waingarten, Content Ninja


Second Story creates enchanting, informative, and entertaining media experiences with innovative technologies that empower connections to ideas.

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