Setting up spaces
May 25, 2561
Me and Tasneem really won with the venue we scouted out. Everyday is full of hard work that’s constantly offset by impromptu adventures and side-quests:
- A gigantic gecko appears in the house and we drop everything to get good macro-shots of its fascinating feet,
- we left something on the ship and we need some intrepid kayaks to retrieve it,
- the dragonflies are suddenly congregating around the solar panels for some mysterious reason,
- or you are putting out a small fire on your off-grid power system, and suddenly a golden tree snake wrapped in a wriggling death match with a monitor lizard plummets 20 meters down onto the ground next to you.
The monitor lizard is now inside the snake
I am convinced that one could work any boring job forever if there was constant, curious entertainment always being provided from a thriving, natural surrounding.
One thing I have learned about myself though, is how much joy i take from setting up creative spaces.*** A favorite aspect is how when setting up a maker space you constantly develop mutating philosophies about everything:
- If the electronics bench is closer to the entrance than the biology bench, does that mean that we are saying it is somehow more important?
- Oh it’s kind of nice working in the secluded biology area, maybe i will do some soldering there.
- Is it TOO easy to setup a naturalist workstation on a porch of a house?
- I need to set up ways to stop birds from stealing my tools.
- If i set the lab up here, i can watch hornbills fly by at 6pm, but only after the 5 pm wave of mosquitoes make it unbearable.
- All walls should be covered with tools, or else it is useless space.
- Oh it would be nice to have some wall space for some pictures or maps
- A lab is a complete failure unless everyone can access any tool within 2 seconds
- A lab should have categorization clues in its layout that can guide you to finding something
- In a good lab you at least KINDA know where things might be?
- This box will just be labelled “miscellaneous “ (i promise i will limit this to one box)
- This section of the house will be labelled “miscellaneous “ (please stop it from spreading)
- A messy lab where you don’t know where everything is one of the most important tools for sparking creativity
- It’s kind of nice having to kayak to the boat lab to get tools for the jungle lab
- The soldering irons are all the way across the room? Screw it, I’ll just tape these wires together
- We can’t put THOSE tools into drawers because they aren’t used enough and everyone will forget about them
- THESE tools are used too much and can never be put in drawers because it will be too cumbersome to keep opening and closing them
- Maybe drawers are awful? Abolish drawers!
- Ahh! scrap fabric is perfect for drawers
I like having the endless challenges of having to adapt some vague models of human movement styles, information displays, and ergonomics to the ever-changing needs of the environment, the living creatures, the anxiety of the landlords, and basic spatial geometries. Even the tools themselves have very particular needs which become even more apparent as laboratories move into the wild. You quickly learn which equipment can’t deal with high humidity, or salt water, or being carried over rough terrain, or being dropped and lost in grass, or deafeningly loud cicada calls. It’s a tiring practice, but one that puts you deeply in touch with both your tools and the living world surrounding you. It’s refreshingly humbling.
***Through my dealings at various institutions, I have also learned that the opposite is true, and seeing places of creativity crushed meaninglessly is enraging.