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robertogreco : resourcefulness   16

Liberation Under Siege | Liberación Bajo Asedio on Vimeo
"Following the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, which successfully fended off imperial aggression by the United States, the United States imposed an economic trade blockade as punishment, which has continued to be in place for the past 60 years. The US has undertaken repeated attempts to plunder the Cuban people through genocidal measures, which has been met with the staunch resilience of the Cuban people, who continue to have faith and confidence in the socialist principles of the Revolution, despite the blockade materially impacting their everyday lives.

“Liberation Under Siege” examines the material conditions cultivated by the destructive blockade through the experiences and stories of everyday Cubans, and reclaim the imperialist narrative pushed by the United States through billions of dollars.

Filmed, Directed, and Edited by:

Priya Prabhakar
Reva Kreeger
Sabrina Meléndez"
cuba  2019  excess  us  foreignpolicy  interviews  education  healthcare  medicine  socialism  food  highereducation  highered  politics  blockade  embargo  poverty  equality  economics  race  gender  sexuality  priyaprabhakar  revakreeger  sabrinameléndez  video  small  slow  consumerism  materialism  capitalism  less  environment  values  success  health  imperialism  media  propaganda  resourcefulness  trade 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
🔠 Jack and the Magic Key | Buttondown
"It’s 2007: I’m sat in the kitchen watching a family friend and her four year old son talk to my mom. Over the course of a few minutes I notice how this kid, Jack, is starting to get bored; his eyes roll into the back of his head and all of his limbs begin to fidget independently of the host as if he’s possessed by the spirit of boredom itself.

In a flash my mom notices this before her friend does. Her eyes dart around the room, looking for something, anything, to entertain Jack with. Coming up short, my mom grabs the closest thing that was on the table: a key. I think it unlocked one of the older cabinets we had lying around back then so it was very nondescript and boring; it didn’t have any patterns on it, or engravings, and it certainly wasn’t imbued with ancient magic of any kind.

But my mom gets down to Jack’s level and hijacks his attention with the key. She twirls it between her fingers and Jack’s eyes expand to the size of saucers.

My mom whispers in his ear.

“This key opens a door somewhere in our home,” her hand outstretched, sweeps across the air as if our house was a castle in the Scottish highlands, a scary and adventurous place that little Jack might get lost in. “And this very special key opens a very special door. So Jack…” My mom pauses for emphasis “…you’re the only one that can help me find it.”

At this point all of Jack’s boredom had been converted into pure, unbridled excitement and his smile almost hopped off his round face in the rush of this new adventure. He spent the rest of the afternoon darting around the house trying the key on everything; on books and chairs, walls and fireplaces, and even his mother’s knee.

*******

I didn’t realize this until I was an adult but when I was a young kid my family went bankrupt and my father’s successful business disappeared almost over night. Our small family, just my dad, my mom, my brother and me, lost everything. Our grandparents died and we’d been ostracized from cousins, sisters and distant brothers before I was born and so there was no-one to call for backup.

After my dad finally relented in telling us the details decades later I remembered that for years my brother and I had slept on the floor without a mattress. We didn’t have wallpaper. We had no toys or even a television until we were much older.

Whilst my dad was throwing himself into the maw of tax collectors and shady debt men, my mom was left dealing with two young children almost entirely alone. And so she learned quickly how to entertain us on a budget. Without any money to pay for toys my mom had to make the ordinary extraordinary. Our empty bedroom became a jungle, the couch a train, the stairway a place where Pokémon could be found and fought. And yes, even boring nondescript keys became potent with magic and prophesy.

That unbound excitement in boring things, that sort of curiosity in the world around us is what we so desperately need more of. We need excuses to play, to experiment, to dream during the daytime. And I think it was that key that my mother held in her hand that afternoon that made me want to be a writer and a designer. It’s what ultimately sparked my curiosity in typography, letters, and writing as well because I knew that I wanted to give others that feeling of infinite hope and that sense of wonder, too.

This is most certainly going to be a non-sequitur but for some reason all of this reminds me of Mary Reufle’s Madness, Rack and Honey where the poet describes what the perfect English Literature class in a highschool might look like. In the book, Mary writes:
My idea for a class is you just sit in the classroom and read aloud until everyone is smiling, and then you look around, and if someone is not smiling you ask them why, and then you keep reading—it may take many different books—until they start smiling, too.
"
robinrendle  education  curiosity  boredom  2018  parenting  play  maryreuffle  learning  howwelearn  unschooling  engagement  resourcefulness  cv  experimentation  creativity  keys  scrappiness  lcproject  openstudioproject  nexttonothing 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Show your support | Educationforward
"Education has to change – to move forward – so that our schools and students can face the unprecedented challenges of the future, with confidence, capability and compassion.

We believe:

1. That schools should be judged on a much broader set of outcomes (e.g. students’ resourcefulness; their ability to engage with political, economic and ecological issues; their confidence with digital technologies; their enjoyment of reading) than they currently face;

2. That the voices of parents, families, and students should be central to process of education policy formulation;

3. That students who neither want, nor need, to go to university should not be made to feel inadequate or failures by an overly narrow and overly academic curriculum;

4. That high-stakes testing has gone too far, has caused too much stress and anxiety to teachers and students, and is a wholly inadequate means of assessing a student’s full range of talents;

5. That the way teachers teach should foster more than the ability to recall snippets of knowledge – the future will ask students not simply what they know, but what they can do with what they know, how they critically evaluate data, and what to do when they don’t know what to do ;

6. That the knowledge that will matter to students in the mid-21st century will be very different to the knowledge that is currently considered core – re-thinking a curriculum fit for the future is an urgent, widespread concern;

7. That providing evidence of learning has attempted to become ‘teacher-proof’, whilst teaching to the test has become endemic. We have to trust teacher judgements more and invest in their professional development;

8. That too many people cast the debate around education in binary terms, despite the growing numbers of schools whose students get good grades and develop confidence, capability and self-direction in their learning.We need to learn from these schools so that their practices can spread like wildfire;

9. That politicians should focus their energies less on cherry-picking evidence to support their entrenched views, and more on the fundamental purpose of education. We need to improve, and deepen, the quality of public debate around schooling;

10. That we live in times of turbulence and anxiety, where truth is a casualty of intolerance. Education has to help people strengthen their dispositions to tolerate uncertainty, to think carefully about complex issues, to understand the position of others and, where necessary, to disagree gracefully. This matters – not just for our communities and our children’s well-being, but for the future of our world."
education  change  sfsh  outcomes  resourcefulness  policy  schools  acadmemics  testing  standardizedtesting  stress  anxiety  teaching  learning  society  howweteach  howelearn  knowledge  tcsnmy  openstudioproject  lcproject  curriculum  purpose  schooling  turbulence  intolerance  truth  uncertainty  complexity  understanding  grace  disagreement  uk 
november 2017 by robertogreco
No-waste Cotton Cape | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
"Resourcefulness has been a key component of Japanese life for centuries. In design, one sees this most dramatically with materials and objects being repurposed, recycled, or reused. This nineteenth-century cloak is called Hikimawashi kappa, which literally means pull-around (hikimawashi) cape or raincoat (kappa). Capes were not common in sixteenth-century Japan. This style was modeled on the Capa overcoat, which Spanish missionaries wore in the Momoyama era (1573–1615). The raincoat would originally have been made waterproof with tohyu-gami, oil paper made from the paulownia tree, which would have been encased between the lining and the outer layer. Kappa became a more prevalent outerwear garment during the Meiji era.

This cape-like raincoat with a stand-up collar is tied around the neck by bone clasps and belted at the waist by a knotted cord. This garment is made from leftover indigo-dyed homespun cotton collected from home production or purchased from local commercial weavers. Traditionally, broken yarn of random colors was collected after weaving. They were reused to create new fabrics called zanshi-ori, zanshi meaning “vestige” or “leftover.” Cotton thread was a precious commodity during the late Edo period in rural Japan and none was wasted, regardless of how rough or worn. For instance, if the lengths of yarn were not long enough, they were simply knotted together to create a longer strand with varied shades of blue. Because of the use of highly diverse remnant threads in the weft, combined with a more regulated warp, an overall pattern of irregular striations is created. This raincoat boasts a unique woven texture with very fine dark blue warps and thick recycled cotton wefts. It also reflects a spirit of eco-friendly and sustainable textiles and the idea of constantly finding ways to repurpose materials at hand, with nothing wasted in production."
matildamcquaid  cooper-hewitt  design  japan  clothing  clothes  glvo  textiles  resourcefulness  capes  weaving  remnants  reuse  sustainability 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Making as an Act of Caring — Medium
"My friend Deb Chachra wrote a great piece ‘Why I am not a Maker’ in the Atlantic last year, about the problems with taking on the identity of a “maker”, especially in tech culture, as it assumes intrinsic superiority to other forms of repair, fixing and especially, care-giving. Around the same time, friend and collaborator Tim Maughan wrote about his journeys through Chinese factories, a deeply moving piece on the conditions and lives of the people who actually make most of the things we use. I believe that such critique that challenges the dominant understanding of the ‘maker culture’ and its implications on labour, geopolitics and consumerism is important and urgent.

On a personal front, Deb and Tim’s essays got me thinking a lot about what ‘making’ means to me, and I realised that my understanding of this term is coloured by Jon, whom I live and work with. It got me thinking about the amount of time and energy Jon spends ‘making’ things. It is the sort of making that requires him to find, forage, build or improvise tools and materials in order to make things work.

From quickly knocking up a set of ‘acrylic chisels’ from waste plastic pieces as a bespoke toolset for gilding, to building an enormous drone with his partner-in-crime Jon Flint, resurrecting his grandfather’s cherished lamp, fixing the neighbour’s bike, reconfiguring his mother’s phone, retrofitting his son’s electronic toys, creating a DIY bioreactor, applying ancient Japanese techniques of Kintsugi as a means of adding the history of repair to his bike, and most recently foraging the city for waste in order to build salvaged prototypes that might help mitigate the shock of climate change. But he is not trained as a carpenter, metalsmith, engineer, or product designer. Nor does he go to makerspaces, he probably feels bit overwhelmed by them. He is an artist and then a designer.

Most importantly, Jon is a maker because, over the years he has developed an uninhibited curiosity for found materials and their potential applications to either fix things or build new things in the future. This deep knowledge of materials embodied within the stuff we use in our daily lives, as well as the numerous tools and techniques of making, is critical to understand the impact the things we use have on our environments. It also generates a pattern of lateral and anticipatory thinking, as he constantly scours the environment looking for materials and tools, anticipating their potential (re)use in an entirely different context. It’s an attitude of mending, helping, and, most importantly, caring, that defies mainstream consumerism.

This sort of an attitude is neither new nor unheard of. There are hundreds of thousands of people who would not call themselves makers but would quite easily fit this bill of a ‘maker’. The recently visible projects by such makers include the brilliant Fixperts and Engineering at Home amongst others. These projects and activities are often packaged as ‘fixing’, ‘jugaad, or ‘up-cycling’, and remain on the periphery of the dominant maker-culture discourse. These approaches are often associated with resource stripped individuals and communities (especially Jugaad in India), or some sort of hippie do-gooders. No, they are not just fixing, not just doing some little bodging in the corner, they are mainstream makers. In fact, I would argue that they are more than makers, they are actually care-givers, who steadfastly push back against the dominant philosophy of planned obsolesce.

Maker-carers who may not use 3D printers to make shoes or dresses, but instead embody making as a way of life. They are quietly shaping the ethos and values of a 21st century maker — adaptive, crafty, anticipatory makers who care deeply about the people and environment around them. And this is the sort of making-as-caring that we need much more of. As we head towards increasingly precarious political, social and environmental crisis, we will all need to nurture the capacity to think through materials and the systems that these materials manifest within, so we can find the means to restore, revive, resurrect, rewire, and reimagine the physical world of consumption we are drowning in. Obviously this would mean we will buy less things, but it also means that we will know what we buy and mostly importantly have the skills to adapt and re-appropriate materials and tools for uncertain conditions.

If we are going to idolise makers and create large-scale foundries, incubators and educational programs to inculcate and embrace the love for making, then lets nourish this idea of making as care-giving too, and ensure that the ‘maker-culture’ we build is diverse and inclusive. And in doing so, encourage a relentless inquisitiveness, integrity, and pliancy that it can bring for us, those around us and the environments we live in."
anabjain  jonardern  making  care  caring  caregiving  repair  maintenance  2016  adaptivity  resourcefulness  sfsh  ingenuity  jugaad  consumerism  debchachra  timmanaugh  technology  climatechange  consumption  labor  geopolitics  reuse  recycling  superflux  jonflint  art  design  makers  openstudioproject  lcproject  repairing  mending  fixing  fixperts  engineeringathome  upcycling  makerculture  caitrinlynch  sarahendren  kintsugi 
july 2016 by robertogreco
4 Ways Slow Design Will Make The Super-Fast World We Live In Better
"In part, that means slowing things down. For years, proponents of "slow design" have been advocating just that—building healthy, meaningful relationships with our stuff, our planet, and other people through local and artisanal products, DIY resourcefulness, and sustainable lifecycles and materials. While that conversation has been thought-provoking, "slow design" also includes a heavy dose of neo-Luddism and anti-consumerist sentiment that has slowed its march toward the mainstream.

The question remains: How might our collective longing to unplug realistically inspire new products (and product ecosystems) that fit within our competitive business landscape?

At Altitude, we found four ways to product-ize the best elements of "slow" while still living in a world where our technology moves faster than our brains:

1. EASE IT UP.

Slow used to mean inefficient. Now that technology has become less of a limiting factor, "slow" has taken on a more nuanced meaning. In certain contexts, such as virus-scanning software or medical diagnostics, slow is a reassuring signal for thoroughness and reliability, whereas faster-than-expected processing rates are signs of inaccuracy or lack of thoroughness.

In product design, slow can also improve functionality. Blindly chasing speed alone can come at the detriment of other, competing values. Altitude recently partnered with Oster to design their new A6 Clipper, and our research revealed that professional pet groomers actually preferred slower motor speeds because high clipping speeds created vibrations in their hands that reduced productivity and became painful over time.

2. CONTROL THE TEMPO.

If you manipulate workflow tempo through a product’s UI, it can make for a more emotionally satisfying user experience. That’s because it brings a human sensibility into a fast-paced, digital context.

User interface research by Chris Harrison, at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon, has shown that people respond negatively to pauses or delays toward the end of moving progress bars. One study showed that when given the option, users preferred progress bars that were intentionally slower to start and which then ramped up in pace toward the end, "providing a sense of rapid conclusion."

There’s obviously no one-size-fits-all lesson about where to slow things down, but a product’s UI is often the place where the mechanical comes to life, and it’s important to design its graphical and temporal elements in ways that recognize common human biases and rhythms.

3. EMBRACE THE GRIND.

Sometimes, people want to take the harder route and invest valuable "elbow grease" in the activities they care about. There’s something about home-brewed beer and long-marinated steak that feels special precisely because of the effort they require.

The classic Chemex pour-over coffeemaker, a longtime design piece in the Museum of Modern Art, has seen a recent resurgence in popularity among Millennials. Though the product requires more effort than a Keurig or Nespresso machine, it offers a coffee brewing experience that feels meditative and deeply authentic in its simplicity. The process is evocative, a reminder of the way people made coffee before Starbucks and instant K-Cups appeared.

Similarly, Kamado-style cookers such as "The Big Green Egg," while more labor-intensive and complex than typical gas grills, enable people to slow-smoke specialty meats or pizzas; they provide an intriguing centerpiece for daylong social events.

4. DESIGN OBJECTS THAT APPRECIATE OVER TIME.

While most consumer products inevitably deteriorate with use, others actually become better. Cast-iron cookware is a great example because continued use seasons it and protects it from future rust. Similarly, new Birkenstock sandals look identical to every other off-the-shelf pair. But after months of wear, those sandals have literally molded to the unique contours of the owner’s feet. "Smart" devices of tomorrow might learn to do the same.

Connected products, such as the Nest thermostat, learn from our past behaviors and proactively recognize patterns in our daily decision-making. When we use a product over time—and it continues to perform as well as (or better than) it did when we first started using it—our emotional bond with it gets strengthened.

Ultimately, when I think of "slow design," my mind returns vividly to my grandfather’s old fly-fishing lures, all hooked into his outdoors vest. He owned some of those lures for 20 years and had deep emotional connections to and great stories about each one. They became part of the fabric of his fishing rituals, and of his life.

Today’s electronic gadgets are different. They’re faster, stronger, and less recognizable than the simpler tools of the past. But by incorporating elements of "slow design," we can create enduring products and innovative services that help consumers overcome their anxieties around modern technology—without having to completely unplug."
slow  slowdesign  design  process  jeremyfinch  chemex  chrisharrison  anti-consumerism  neo-luddism  sustainability  diy  resourcefulness  2013 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Jennifer Armbrust | Proposals for the Feminine Economy | CreativeMornings/PDX
"“The experimental feminine is all that is not business as usual and vice versa.” — Joan Retallack

What does it look like to embody feminine principles in business? In art? Why does it matter—what’s at stake? What does gender have to do with business? What does business have to do with art? What does capitalism have to do with nature? And what is an economy, anyhow? Can a business be feminist? Why would it want to? Where is money in all of this? Armbrust’s Creative Mornings talk posits a protocol for prototyping an experimental/feminine business."

[Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7kI7Bsa56g ]
jennarmbrust  via:nicolefenton  2015  capitalism  feminism  masculinity  consciouscapitalism  power  egalitarianism  growth  art  design  criticaltheory  entrepreneurship  business  economics  competition  inequality  ownership  consumerism  consumption  labor  work  efficiency  speed  meritocracy  profit  individualism  scarcity  abundance  poverty  materialism  care  caring  interdependence  vulnerability  embodiment  ease  generosity  collaboration  sustainability  resourcefulness  mindfulness  self-care  gratitude  integrity  honesty  nature  joanretallack  well-being 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Samizdat - Wikipedia
"Samizdat distinguishes itself not only by the ideas and debates which it helped spread to a wider audience, but also by its physical form. The hand-typed, often blurry and wrinkled pages which possessed numerous typos and nondescript covers helped to separate and elevate Russian samizdat from Western literature. Though the physical form of samizdat grew out of the simple lack of resources and necessity of inconspicuousness, dissidents in the USSR began to fetishize samizdat for the sharp contrast between samizdat’s ragged appearance and the appearance of texts published by the state. The form of samizdat itself took precedence over the ideas expressed in it, and came to symbolize the resourcefulness and rebellious spirit of citizens of the Soviet Union. In effect, the physical form of samizdat itself elevated the reading of samizdat to a prized clandestine act"

[via: http://www.aaronland.info/weblog/2014/10/06/interpretation/ ]
samizdat  sovietunion  ussr  ingenuity  resourcefulness  zines  literature  form  aesthetics  rebellion  clandestine 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Italy’s Economic Design in Times of Crisis - NYTimes.com
"“Italian Design Beyond the Crisis,” the fifth exhibition in a series, addresses the same theme — “What is Italian Design?” — as its predecessors, but takes a different perspective. Curated by Beppe Finessi, this installment challenges the polished Dolce Vita stereotype of Italian design forged during the late 1950s and early 1960s by exploring design’s role in providing practical solutions during times of austerity, and in articulating the underlying social and political tensions through products, architecture, fashion and graphics.

The “necessity as the mother of invention” theme is apt at a time when Italy is still struggling to emerge from the economic crisis that began with the credit crunch. And the exhibition’s defining qualities — frugality, resilience, empathy, sustainability and activism, all of which were central to Mr. Munari’s work — are increasingly important issues for designers worldwide.

Mr. Finessi has chosen to focus on three crises in modern Italian history. The first began in 1935, when the League of Nations imposed trade sanctions on Italy in protest against its war with Ethiopia. The show illustrates how designers experimented with the “home-grown” alternatives to materials and technologies that could no longer be imported: For instance, the designers Gio Ponti and Franco Albini developed products using Securit, a new form of safety glass made with sand from Veneto and Tuscany. It also explores their adoption of inexpensive materials, such as cane, wicker and papier-mâché. Even the design of Stile, an influential art and design magazine founded and edited by Mr. Ponti, was suitably frugal, albeit elegantly so. Mr. Munari adopted a similar approach, not only in designing products like his visor and a beautiful collection of objects made from bamboo exhibited at Museo del Novecento, but as one of Italy’s most influential writers on design."
design  italy  2014  economics  austerity  materiasl  brunomunari  resourcefulness  beppefinessi  gioponti 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Energy That Is All Around | Art Practical
"But the exhibition’s linchpin is tucked into one of the vitrines devoted to correspondence, snapshots, and other ephemera. It is a page from one of McCarthy’s sketchbooks, in which she paraphrases Walter Benjamin: “Aura=relationship of distance/time and space.”3 Benjamin laments the “passionate…inclination to bring things close” (emphasis his) that spurs reproduction but strips a work of its aura.4 For the group of artists represented in this exhibition, the capacity to encounter their work without the attendant baggage of the Mission School moniker is almost impossible. But bringing the artists back to the place where they were students both collapses and expands the distance around the work, historicizing it even as we encounter anew its vibrancy, earnestness, and disruptive spirit. The gap of twenty years is felt in the juxtaposition of paintings that are heartbreaking in their youthful fervor with those that are sober with the received wisdom of age.

The ephemera also remind us why “school” was an applicable term for these artists’ activities. An academic institution indoctrinates certain ideological leanings and refutes others. The aesthetics of the Mission School reflect a conscientious rejection of modernist trajectories, and its collaborative activities corresponded to the predominant economic and social conditions of the Mission district at the time. As an ideology for San Francisco, the Mission School is still relevant even as its namesake neighborhood has radically transformed and derivative works have diminished the politics that informed the aesthetic choices of the original artists. If we remember why Glen Helfand coined the label in his 2002 article—to describe a group of artists committed to utopian ideals “about the power of fellowship and the possibility of being lifted up,” to resourcefulness in the face of economic hardship, and to radical personal politics—there are still lessons to be learned here.5"
missionschool  art  sanfrancisco  sfai  2013  aliciamccarthy  rubyneri  chrisjohanson  marharetkilgallen  barrymcgee  natashaboas  ephemeral  ephemera  ideology  education  academia  aesthetics  rejection  modernism  collaboration  glov  srg  edg  glenhelfand  fellowship  resourcefulness  personalpolitics  radicalism  aura  walterbenjamin  youth  utopia  time  distance  space  ephemerality 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Learning From Legos - NYTimes.com
"WHEN I was a boy, my father, an architect, attempted a no-toy policy, with the significant exception that he’d buy my brother and me almost anything — any birthday, holiday or restless rainy Saturday — as long as it was Lego.

And so, if I needed a gun, I made it with Legos. The same with a walkie-talkie. And a lie detector. And all the life-size artifacts — let’s face it, mostly weapons — that were then my heart’s desire. Plus every scale-model spaceship, supertruck, planetary fortress, recombinant Tyrannosaurus and transforming robot.

These days Lego — with its namesake movie’s opening weekend box office of $69 million, and with global sales revenue tripling, recession-proof, between 2007 and 2012 — appears to be something more than just a Danish construction toy based on snap-together plastic bricks. Some of the film’s success comes from the charm of its intrepid construction worker hero and goth-ninja heroine, both remarkably expressive despite the limitations of Lego figurines’ cylindrical heads and hands.

But the film’s celebration of adaptive improvisation and spontaneous mythmaking also resonates deeply with our current moment of so-called maker culture. Thanks to new rapid-prototyping technologies like computer numerical control milling and 3-D printing, we’ve seen a convergence between hacker and hipster, between high-tech coding and the low-tech artisanal craft behind everything from Etsy to Burning Man.

Whether it’s Google’s first server rack having been made of Lego-like bricks (pragmatically cheap, heat-resistant and reconfigurable) at Stanford in 1996, or the programmable Lego bricks developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Architecture Machine Group (later the Media Lab where, no coincidence, my father worked), Lego is literally built into the computational and architectural history of maker culture.

And it is, in a special way, an architectural history. “A small interior world of color and form now came within grasp of small fingers,” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright about his 9-year-old self in a 1943 autobiographical sketch. “These ‘Gifts’ came into the gray house” and “made something live here.” These were the famous Froebel Blocks, educational wooden building blocks in systematic shapes and sizes developed in the 1840s by Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten.

“The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterward leaves the fingers; so form became feeling. These primary forms were the secret of all effects,” Wright recalled, “which were ever got into the architecture of the world.” Wright’s son John would complete the circle, inventing in 1916 the construction toy that came to be known as Lincoln Logs.

Architectural historians have sought origins for Wright’s innovative organic architecture — his long horizontals and pinwheel plans — in the geometries of his toys, even reconstructing his early house designs using the Froebel Blocks themselves.

I suspect that the connection isn’t that literal. But it is certainly primal, and visceral, to do with the idea of making and unmaking, and the complex relationships of parts to wholes, and brokenness to wholeness.

Once, detouring through a parking-lot flea market, I stumbled across some Froebel Blocks from Wright’s era, stacked as tightly and delicately as the dovetail joints of their original wooden box. Froebel Blocks are collectible antiques, but these were flea-market finds and not auctioneers’ goods because they had been methodically defaced by years of scribbled arabesques in Magic Marker, in a child’s hand.

I discovered that these lines traveled continuously from block to block, and that by carefully aligning the distinctly colored arcs and loops of the markings, I could reconstruct all the arrangements into which the blocks had been built — those magic marks the inadvertent blueprints for a forgotten memory palace.

I remember the fugue of that reconstruction, low on the ground below a flea market table. I remember the astonishing intimacy of visiting a stranger’s childhood, and how that intimacy somehow caused me to delay actually buying this treasure. I circled the flea market, and returned to find it gone.

Maker culture, like Lego, is about loss. All building-block toys are about appearance and disappearance, demolition and reconstruction. Maker culture, for all its love of stuff, is similarly a culture of resourcefulness in an era of economic scarcity: relentless in its iterative prototyping, its radically adaptive reuse of ready-made objects, its tendency to unmake one thing to make another — all in a new ecology of economy.

When my brother and I wanted a new toy, we cannibalized whatever we’d made before, which had been made of all the things we’d ever made before that. So of all those years of guns and starships, I have only that Wrightian feeling for form in the fingertips — and the sound, somewhere between rustling and clinking, of a thousand plastic pieces tumbling from an overturned bucket into a disorderly pile, rippling away from a seeking hand.

I remember the last thing I ever made of Lego, far later into adolescence than I should admit. It was a robot that, thanks to double-jointed hinges, could continually reconfigure itself without being disassembled. And in this sense it was anti-Lego, capable of being remade without being unmade. I knew that it was the most I could ever do in the medium, and the end of an era. It drifted back into that bucket.

A quarter-century later I saw the same bucket opened and overturned by a young nephew. And there, like a time traveler, was this same robot. Mostly just its legs, standing Ozymandias-like in a pile of bricks. I reached for it, but not faster than my nephew, who, recognizing an accretion of especially useful pieces, instantly dissolved it with his hands. One of Wright’s secrets of all effects must be this: Because nothing comes from nothing, and nothing goes entirely out of the world, you have to take things apart if you seek to put everything together."
2014  thomsdemonchaux  making  makerculture  resourcefulness  lego  invention  franklloydwright  froebelblocks  froebeltoys  building  construction  unmaking  dissolution  prototyping  adaptivereuse  reuse  scarcity  materials  toys  play  appearance  disappearance  reconstruction  ecology 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Jugaad - Wikipedia
"Jugard or Jugaad (Hindi: जुगाड़) is a Hindi term widely used in India and by people of Indian origin around the world. Jugaad (also sometimes jugard) is a term applied to a creative or innovative idea providing a quick, alternative way of solving or fixing a problem. Jugaad literally means an improvised arrangement or work-around, which has to be used because of lack of resources."
jugaad  jugard  bricolage  hacking  makedo  quickfixes  problemsolving  resourcefulness  workarounds  words  india  hindi 
june 2013 by robertogreco
InfraNet Lab » Blog Archive » Infrastructural Opportunism, A Manifesto
1. Know That There is a System of Systems…2. Architects as Expert Generalists: Buckminster Fuller, labeled a dilettante and a dabbler in his age, was instead the forerunner of a new breed of designer / thinker that we like to call the expert generalist. Long live the new expert generalists!…3. Be Alert to What Has Just Happened; Be Entrepreneurial…4. There is Always Missing Information, Use it…5. Agile Maneuverability Rewrites Protocols…6. Software Can be Big and Physical, Like Hardware…7. Be Resourceful…8. Measurements Can be Misleading, But Oh So Fruitful…9. Scalar Indifference…10. Live By Strategy, Play by Tactic: The Russian chessplayer Savielly Tartakower said: Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do, strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do."
architecture  cities  urban  infrastructure  systems  systemsthinking  generalists  buckminsterfuller  dabblers  glvo  design  cv  observation  timeliness  measurement  tactics  strategy  systemicimagining  saviellytartakower  resourcefulness  resources  maneuverability  information  bigpicture  thinking  designthinking  adaptability  mobility  opportunity  entrepreneurship  houseofleaves 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education on Vimeo
"this video illustrates (literally!) the concept of Hip Hop Genius. these ideas are explored more fully in my book, Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education (hiphopgenius.org)

the drawings were done by Mike McCarthy, a student at College Unbound (collegeunbound.org), a school that exemplifies many of the values espoused in the film. the entire video was shot in College Unbound's seminar space, where Mike has built a studio for his company Drawn Along (drawnalong.com)."
education  learning  politics  economics  creativity  hiphop  meaning  meaningmaking  dialogue  pedagogy  classideas  conversation  commonality  engagement  culture  love  identity  meaningfulness  ingenuity  instinct  confidence  remixculture  art  music  streetart  graffiti  resourcefulness  genius  sampling  individualization  projectbasedlearning  collegeunbound  change  gamechanging  flux  flow  freshness  emergentcurriculum  contentcreation  schools  unschooling  deschooling  mindset  dialog  pbl  remixing 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Urgent Evoke - A crash course in changing the world.
"EVOKE is an online game designed to teach collaboration, creativity, knowledge networking, entrepreneurship, courage, resourcefulness, sustainability, and vision."
games  gaming  arg  janmcgonigal  collaboration  creativity  knowledge  networking  entrepreneurship  courage  resourcefulness  sustainability  vision  africa  janemcgonigal  argentina 
february 2010 by robertogreco

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