Day 2

Play time! I got partnered with James for a junk shop challenge. We were talking about micro generation gaps and the speed with which cultural reference points change in the age of social media – pretty much a sober reflection on the conversation we had in the bar last night about old cartoons and computer games.

We hunted out toys, ending up with, among others things, an old scalextric track and two little plastic figurines that were only a few years old (2013?) but already obsolete.

There was something rather sad about the figures – they were never meant to be more than a physical hook to get kids into a game app (they have little QR codes on their heads) but once this was done and they were activated in the game they served no other purpose.

We decided to give them a new life.

We planned to put small motors inside them so they could run along the track but time and materials were limited so we compromised by building a cart.

I was quite relieved really because it gave me something to do – I’m probably the least technically skilled person here (in terms of electronics/computing)* but I a pretty good at building things, so I hacked together a car from some salvaged bits of a cardboard robot kit we found in the house – the combination of sparking electronics and flammable building materials also adding an enjoyable sense of danger by the high likely hood of it catching fire!

The main thing I got out of today was FUN! A day spent engineering something and making reminded me how much I enjoy this kind of problem solving. I physically make things all the time in my day-to-day practice but it is normally on fairly long projects using a well practised set of skills – it’s engaging but not particularly challenging (states of flow is something else I’m planning to explore this week – Gemma has an EEG machine I can’t wait to be hooked up to!)

By the end of the day I was itching to continue working with my hands, so I began to play with the boards I had brought with me.

I’m thinking about trying to work with the boards in three dimensions – seeing what patterns will result in the crossing network of threads (this has also resulted in the need to bodge together a sewing tool for the purpose – I give you “stick with a loop”!) It’s a revisit to a project I started last year but never continued with (https://tonibuckby.com/2014/06/18/ma-show-2014/)

I’m now thinking I need to talk to some of the more mathematically minded members of the group!

*it’s on my list of things I want to get out of this week and I’m probably already driving people mad asking what stuff does.

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