9th May 2019: Automation and Me – reflections on the hack

It has been an intense couple of days taking an idea and making it tangible in less than 10 hours work time. I’d assumed, due to the nature of the hack, that I would be one of the least technical people but it turns out I was one of the most technically minded in our group – I designed the system, wrote the code (which only half worked – note to self: never try arrays in C ever again!) and built the electronics, which were buggy as hell, I think it’s something to do with the size of the thing we made (I bought it back to the studio to debug).

So, what did we make? We began by talking about ideas of what automation meant to us and some themes emerged around play, humour and real-life connections not mediated by screens – so we decided to make a twister style game that functioned as a combination lock, the idea being that you would lock away your phone or Wi-Fi password and it would only be unlocked by playing a physical collective game. There was another textile artist on the team, and we were all keen to build something tactile, textile and ‘girly’, so we decided to make our game a quilt. I love this idea, bringing together the contemporary collective making processes of hacking with a traditional collective making practices of domestic textiles!

It was scrappy, did not quite work and really good fun to make – I also realised I know a lot more than I think I do about coding and electronics!


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