How is it going?

A quarter of the semester is over.I have brought you to a point where you are irritated, angry, and slightly pissed off.

You are Bored!! You cant stay awake in class. Everything in class makes you angry. Nothing seems to have a point.

And worst of all all your friends, in the other studios, have raced ahead with their projects.

So you hate it. That much is obvious.

But why? Whats going on?

Or hows it going?

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It is a very simple studio

It is a very simple studio. It is wysiwyg.

But is is so simple that you suspect it of hiding something. You ‘dont know whats going on’- but you do. What you are unclear of is what watching moves has to do with Industrial Design.

But we cant discuss that unless we know what design is. But we dont and its goin to be a long haul – this finding out what design is. And there is no guarantee that we would have a good picture. But there is one thing we can be certain of – our thinking. We can work on that. And watching Trakovsky or Goddard may help. But it may not – and we will not know till we have watched these films.

But can I give you a guarantee? I can but will not.

What is the studio in the main. 13 sessions.
13 lectures/engagements
13 studio exercises

And a lot besides: All the things you will do till october IN YOUR LIFE – which you wish to bring into the course and claim credit in the course for. All the fun things like going out (visits), watching films, meeting people (assignments), pursuing your hobby (case study), going to hear people speak, .. and other such things your life is composed of. What does it have to do with uni -if you bring it into the classroom its uni. And this studio will let you do that. Nay it wants you to do that. It doesnt want you to keep life and uni in two separate compartments.

But that is such a pain in the XX you say. No you dont? Okay I will.

Here let me introduce you to the voice of dissent – Ouspensky. This will be my pen name for a dissenting voice I will post on this blog. He will be a bit harsh – so brace yourself.

Problem kya tha

Why did I offer a studio called – what is the probelm.

Because in my conversations with some of the young people in our community I saw what for me was a problem.
1. The real huge hidden world of design – in the big companies – was totally unknown.
2. I wondered about who was supplying the tools that these young people were using to think?
3. The Submission was a big huge monster – but they do it differently in the favellas.
4. Life and uni were to be kept apart. Uni was work.
5. Design was primarily re-design. Or a thing to do things with.
6. A design project was supposed to be extremely hard work.

So I set up a studio which would tackle all this. And so the studio.

First Phase is done

The first phase of the semester is over. The first phase belonged to Soumitri. He took three sessions:

1. 13th July: The Corporation was introduced and you were provoked into looking at the design consultancy from a humanist perspective – the way the IDIOT (see below) would see it. You learnt the questioning technique (learning 1); you were given the contract and asked to think about your aspiration grade; You were shown/introduced to the idea of the mentors; You were introduced to the idea of the fish bowl; It was hinted that Corporations privileged GOOD THINKING. And you had your first brush with ‘group discussion’. The idea of the favella was introduced.

2. 20th July: The Notion of Creativity was broached. You did a small exercise in boundary shifting; you were shown a book and told there was a huge resource that you could access; You were introduced to the SWOT. (some of you came into the first year studio – and participated in a discussion – the frist years saw that your thinking was different from theirs- they would comment on this a week later). You brought your thoughts on construction waste – and were not given any time to show or discuss it. But you got time to discuss the tof of the way to deal with mentors.

3. 27th July: You were engaged in a discussion on “what is design”. In this you were introduced to categories; you were handed the spider diagram as a tool. You were then given a spider diagram that spelt out ways for your individual development – you were shown how to use this to fill out your contract-matrix. You pulled out the construction waste printouts, and the tof. You were not allowed to present these. The session was the last of Soumitri’s slots.

The first phase is over. I have opened up for you ways of thinking about three issues; corporation, creativity, design. They may have been closed topics or hidden topics – but now you can go into these areas using the tool kit I have given you.
Corporation-questioning technique
Creativity-SWOT
Design-Spider diagram
(And many new words and phrases; which are little satchels to collect things inside)

The frist phase is over. You have learnt a huge amount; three fat things. You have travelled a huge distance (though you feel like you are in the same place). You are now inside three territories (three fortresses?) – and you have to begin your explorations. Go off and realize the signifiicance of what you have learnt.

Now it is over to you.
1. The classroom will be handed over to you on 3rd. Say you want to show something; you will show and I will join the others in commenting or helping.
2. August and September is yours. I will do small lectures/provocations on topics we can mutually agree upon.
3. Decide what you want to do and I will help you work out how to do it.

c u on 3rd

Why are we here?

“So, a university is a place where you will receive an excellent academic education, equip yourself with some of the necessary social skills for life and, for some of you, start a major technical professional development. But somehow I feel as if I haven’t caught the essence of the experience. Throughout your life you are going to be focused on working, the bottom line, profit and loss, meeting targets, outcomes, performance indicators, etc., etc. – a university education is a unique opportunity to learn and develop in a secure environment for three very important years of your life before you start all of that. Perhaps, in the end, it is the multiple informal conversations and discussions with your peers and your academics which are the quintessence of the experience. We joke about students “setting the world to rights” until three-oclock in the morning, but these are defining discussions which help you build the moral and philosophical structures around which you will centre your life.

Although we now embrace lifelong learning, no experience matches that of a residentialthree or four years at a good university – it will change and define you in so many ways that it does, literally, give you the opportunity of a lifetime. Please think about seizing it with both hands.”
– Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas, to a meeting of The Bristol Society in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building on 25 September 2002

"Trust In Me" Ka in Jungle Book

26th July 2005. Its been some time since we spoke. This conversation meanders. But sputters too. And as often becomes a ghost. Welcome P.

Phaedrus: Tell me. What was yesterday like.
S: Nice. Better. I may have broken through. We are a long way from a robust radicalism – and an even longer way away from robust resilient thinking. There are too many bad habits; too many things that have been privileged; years and years of going down pathways that promised safety – the safe options road.

P: But surely you don’t object to that. I do remember your being very interested in following a step behind thought processes.
S: Ummm. You are right. I am not making value judgements. Though I admit it sounds like that. I am a student of patterns and ways. The aboriginal way of categorizing components of life is very different and as significant as any other. I am not a missionary being deprecating about the practices and ways of the other. That would be incorrect. However with the 17 students I have not had much time to sit down and comprehend their vocabulary, their universe of discourse – which states what is important and what is not. Given how rushed I am these days I sometimes wish I could just proscribe all that they consider important – hoping in some way to turn a switch which makes them all open to a wide variety of options. But alas that cannot be done. Education is about a slow and delicate process – which has to be done in a sisyphusian fashion – one step at a time. And each step has to be taken by the child herself – I cant give information, for that would put all of them into wheel chairs for the rest of their lives. At any step they could turn around and cut me out – we don’t trust you. So yesterday was a turning point – and it was visible. The bodies did not slouch as much, the deprecatory look was confined to a few, chests were forward, eyes were open wider – you could begin to see a different form of engagement. The drawl in the voice and the fear of commitment is still there – but there is a little bit of trust – a flicker of faith. We may pull it off. But still they are mildly nasty.

P: Tell me about the ‘eager restless student’ again. Been a while since I heard that.
S: It has been, hasn’t it. 1987 – School of Architecture, New Delhi, and then again TVB 1991. Okay. I took this group of students to the basketball court and pushed the ball away from me. A minute later I found myself watching an enthusiastic soccer match in progress. There must have been 25 of them there that day. Years later – I was standing similarly with Randhir – and watching the furious kicking of the ball. Many of them had never played soccer. But had thrown themselves into the kicking. But it wasn’t about the ball was it? It was the first thing – I didn’t have to say anything – they just took off. But it was a class – and they had changed it into a game. But more importantly they were not standing around asking to be instructed – tell us what to do. Now imagine you walk into a class and there is a buzz. They are eager – as though you are what they have been waiting for – and cannot get enough of what you have to offer. They snatch, they push, they are open and give themselves totally. Ah but how strange is that. What is more likely is a group of students crouched – defensively – silent, watchful for tricks, deprecatory and dismissive of the teacher just to get a few laughs from the other students, always fearful lest they look ridiculous. But one day I had a class in Jerusalem. 35 students like open-mouthed vacuum cleaners – snapping up everything I had to offer, sucking up everything. Throwing themselves into the discussion, running, running, here there and in the end they were exhausted. Totally drained. They would ask what is going on, why are we SO tired – this has never happened to us even when we have trekked huge distances in the army. Ah! that is your mind – you use it and it tires. Can we build up the stamina of our mind? – of course you can. I will help – it will take time. But you have to use it – not a little – you have to strain it, push it, and keep doing that; till your brain is strong and grows in all directions – and is hungry for the limit experience. And so it was that I encountered the eager restless student.

P: Will these students go that way?
S: That would be wonderful to speculate. We are still building confidence – “no don’t be scared, say it aloud, I am here to strike down the judgemental, good on you”. And so on – again and again – pushing, pushing always. Its happening, I amplified one or two things that the fearful do – stand away, hands cupped under face, crossed arms – classic, classic. Leaning back to speak – always conscious of themselves; till they look around and see the others – you cannot play soccer this way, you have to throw yourself at the ball, the question, the idea. But like I started saying at the beginning – its slow, its taken two weeks, I have been gentle (this is not Israel), and they are responding. They are beginning to trust me. Or in their words ‘ now they get it’ or have begun to see “what is going on”.

(But then – Why cant they just speak English – and be done with.)

25th July

What did we do …

11.45 AM – 12.45 AM
What is Design?
Spider Diagram: Understanding Categories (5 minutes)
2.00 PM Lets fill out the chart (1)
2.30 PM Paper lamps – Fringe Festival entries, ways of thinking(2)
3.00 PM On Blogs
3.30 PM On Games: War Games, Policy Games, Stock Market
4.00 PM Design the Corporation game(3)

What is Design

These were the notes of the lecture I was doing in Class. My job is to bring the points alive and make you attain the concepts. We have done 1 to 3. 4 onwards next week.

1. Design is what designers do!
a. Categorize the population of designers on this planet
b. Categorize work places
c. Categorize works
d. Categorize pathways, staff inclinations
2. How do they design
a. Understanding design process,
b. Paradigms,
c. Communities of practice – and therefore construction of meaning.
d. Nature of Industry differs and so also
e. The role of the designer.
3. There are many Technological discourses in design
a. Formalistic: Cars, Consumer Electronics
b. Formalistic/ problem solving: Medical Equipment, Capital Equipment
c. Formalistic/ production thinking: Chairs, Homewares
d. Art Practice: Objects orientated to one offs and museums.
e. Sustainability: …
4. There are many ways to categorize design
a. Linear/dialectical opposition: Engineering vs Aesthetics:
b. 2D Cartography: Mapping Tendencies
c. 3 D lattice: Function (analytical) to Form(intuitive); simple/clear to complex/fuzzy; reductionist to complex constructions
5. The Propositions designers make are like everything else Arbitrary and completely contextual:
a. 10 Principles of good design: Rams and Braun
b. Neo Primitivism: Branzi
c. Form follows function: Sullivan
d. Form follows fun: ?
6. Design communities may agree on certain shared Key concepts:
a. Design Process
b. Simulations
c. Concepts
d. Mockups
e. Prototypes
7. Designer often talk about Good Design? But what is really challenging is to talk about bad design or Anti Design.
a. Broaden the range of possible
b. Visually Challenging
c. Invent a way
d. Ah – Ha ha – Aha
8. The Spider Diagram – 8 dimensions. Problems in categorizations

My FRINGE Entry Will be?

1st August Preview
Quickly followed by submission
(but what about the walk down Swanston at Midnight? The boat ride down the Yarra? The Vigil? )

Lets fill out the Chart

Have Spider Diagram – Will fill our learning Contract

The Matrix Filled Out and the Grade aspirations finalised. Let us think about where we want to get – and ask Soumitri to do these kinds of lectures, and these kinds of things in the studio. Let us help him get a life – by diving into work and doing it all ourselves – so that he can do other things he needs doing, rather than neglect it all.
a. Lectures List
b. Studio tasks

Capability Development thru self motivated action:
c. Talks by Visitor: Start with Trades Hall, make a list of all the possibilities and then work your way through that. Do not ask yourself – will that be something I will like. It’s not about linking – ask if it will provoke your somnambulant brain.
d. Films: Make a list of films; take care to make a list of films from Eastern Europe. Stay away from English language programming if you can help it. The stay away from Western Europe for a bit. Give your brain a chance.
e. Visits/ Field Trips: Lets go somewhere, can we go to the Lonely Planet Offices and to the Ford Museum. Just two trips which we do together. Can you set it up pl?
f. Term Paper: Lets write up this thing. Let us see if we can construct something in English – not that sort of strange dialectish thing you speak with that strange accent and English words in incorrect places in the sentence.
g. Assignment: Lets do CSI, or this journalistic assignment, or an expose or an investigation. Like the design profession is a racket – a charade – ‘blue’, or slaves to the ‘blue’. In fact the categories may all be things to do ‘tear the mask off’ investigations into. Wont that be exciting.
h. Case Studies: Lets do a story – a good news story. Like the children’s parliament. Lets find people who are doing amazing things in their lives. Lets find people who are people orientated.

Check list of the learning contract:
i. It should be what you like doing. Like watching films.
j. It should then change the way you do this thing. You become an avid Tarkovsky fan.
k. It should inform your ability to work with the idea of the corporation. You get a totally different take on society.
l. It should develop capability. Your thinking is improved.

Educating Soumitri aka Understanding Categories


Tool Kit: Spider Diagram

Some years ago Soumitri got air dropped into a curious and arcane community of people who lived on this island. They were vibrant, enthusiastic and very physically accomplished. Many in this country – he was to discover – had travelled very little. They had a phrase ‘comfort zone’ that described their cultural practices – and of this there were many. So while they shared a common culture, and many didn’t realise how strange this culture was to foreigners, and assumed that their culture was an international western culture. Which it wasn’t and Europeans and Americans found the local culture equally arcane and strange. One day a group of people got together to catalogue their ways and this is how they went about it. How? Read on….

1. The Look: Extreme Makeover Issues
Its been 20 months since Soumitri came to Australia. His shoes have given out. His clothes are getting frayed – and he is having problems rotating items in his wardrobe. He could have gone out and bought clothes – but seems paralysed and unable to figure out, in terms of the look, what he should buy and from where. He is aware that there is right way – and clothes in this country are the crucial and fundamental way to comprehend a person. Unlike other countries where it is possible to wear traditional clothes – here it seems to be the norm to be ‘with in’, or it is required to be careful in dressing and people have to do it “the right way”. What you wear defines who you are – like the look of the real estate salesman being specific to them.

So in short Soumitri NEEDS to buy clothes, but cannot until the different possible ways for him to dress are explained to him. He has asked you to make 8 categories of ways people dress in Melbourne and explain the options to him.

2. Ways of Speaking: Chill Factor Issues
Last year he got tired of people treating him like an inarticulate foreigner. People would speak slowly – and one day Simon used the word Déjà vu, and proceeded to explain what it meant. Soumitri stopped him and said; ‘has it ever occurred to you that I am twice your age and may have a vocabulary twice as large as yours. And anyway déjà vu is a French expression’. On Saturday this girl began to explain that ‘my fair lady’ was this English play – and my think bubble said ‘and when I first saw it you probably were not even born’.

It is true that by now he can understand and be understood quite clearly. He still has to watch for his v’s sounding like W – which is a common Indian pronunciation problem. He can hear an Oye and know that what is meant is an I. He knows that there are many languages that are spoken in this city – and each language marks out the speaker as a particular cultural category of person.

Soumitri needs to understand the languages spoken in this country. He would like you make 8 categories of the ‘ways people speak english’.

But first let us learn to pronounce his name properly- Sow-mi (ttens) – three Vu(h) –ru(h)-du(h)—raa-jun.

3. Cultural capital: Cool Factor Issues
Two students in class had seen Tarkovsky, and a majority of the students consumed mainstream Hollywood fare. With its repeated construction of modern day fairy tales: typically the idea of the movie was to stick to the notions of feel good, heroic exploits and technological wizardry. Emotional explorations were to be kept out or if allowed in were to be extremely shallow and only the visible spectrum was allowed. It may be possible that what cinema meant for people who conflated film with Hollywood was only one of many genres of cinema. Which then makes significant genres in all aspects of cultural practice in the city. Either way, for his sanity and to maintain the spirit of the student group, Soumitri needs to understand the cultural dimension of the students.

But that’s one thing. Another is that the expression ’way cool’ is a mark of appreciation handed out by all people. And so there must exist un-cool ways too. Soumitri finds these value judgements and classifications of people based upon their manifest cultures quite confusing. He asks that you make 8 categories of culture – 8 dimensions denoting subcultures of the way people living in Melbourne may be classified.

4. Ways of Eating: Issues about Dogma
People in Melbourne tend to consume copious quantities of red meats and an even greater proportion of processed foods. All of this means their total intake of chemicals and factory machine oil must be quite high. They seem to keep coming together for food events – barbies, eating out. And even other events, like sitting in a park or at a meeting or sitting in class, are converted into food events. Chomp, crunch, crackle, slurp – is the constant refrain all over the country. Can they not eat at specific times and in specific places? Do we all have to impersonate cud chewing mammals 24/7? But that is the zone of Soumitri finding things irritating about Melbourne culture. We are not even talking about crumbs all over and foody breath all the time everywhere – onions, garlic, cheese.

But lets talk in a charitable vein. Soumitri needs to understand food practices. Lets make 8 categories of ‘ways of eating’ so that Soumitri is prepared to face strage practices as normal.

On 25th July you all did the exercise: Some well some not so well.
You are coming in on Monday next week with an AV in PDF of your two categories.
Soumitri will recombine these into the four big areas we were looking at.

But you will also have to be specific – a la extreme makeover – with costs, shops where he will buy things, places where he should eat, ways he can learn the new accent. Because – strange but true – he actually wishes to understand all this.

And once the male part of this is done we will take Soumitri out from the text and put Anara in there and do it all over again with a feminine take on the areas. Okay?

How to do a lecture (Presentation?)

Soumitri Does Lectures. Each lecture is an undertaking. It takes days and hours ( and the development lasts for a few weeks if not longer) – I usually work from 3 AM till 7 , when my household needs me – to develop the lecture. And then I am often unhappy, so like a good surfer I throw away the draft and start all over again. I am not a perfectionist – because the end result is seldom perfect.

In doing these lectures I aim to make a whopping big difference to the listener. I believe that the lecture is something they will never ever forget. And I have been doing this for years – 19 to be precise. I have hundreds of students who still remember things I said, or so they claim, in some lecture. Years ago I was in a community of university teachers in Delhi, ah that haven of the intellect how I miss it, who all put in as much if not more into their every interaction with the student. Sheena used to do these awesome lectures which involved her building propositions upon propositions like building – and then saying at the end ‘viola’ or more her style ‘ there’. I learnt from her how to prepare, how to respect the student, and how to respect the window of interaction that is given to us – the class.

As I speaker I obsess about who you are, what you need to hear and how I can help. I often start by developing a provocative line of thought. I then start embroidering it and go on and on till often the line of argument has to be abandoned – because I begin to feel that the way the argument was developing was another lecture – and not the one I wanted to do now. So start again. How many starts, how many unfinished projects? Will give yo a peek into my folders.

On Friday like many of you I landed up at 10.10.01. But it was 12.12.01 – you have asked yesterday if I can do a repeat performance. I can – and I would be honoured to redo for you “Understanding the sustainability movement”. Thank you for asking. I live for encores. You asked if I could re-do the ‘different histories’ lecture – again I would be honoured. Like all those academies of higher learning where minds gather – I would like to propose a post dinner lecture on a day that works for both of us.

I also have a lecture I did for ‘politics of Space in the age of terror’ conference in June. The question session after my presentation was violent, fractious and deeply polarised the audience. I felt disturbed after that. Some thing similar happened on Friday. I must admit I set out to disturb the smug morality of the greens – and the result was not pleasant.

Usually after the lecture I am spent. Phew! Time to move on.

(For inspiration read Magister Ludi or The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse.

Quick links to stuff that came up in class

The Beats
C Wright Mills
Gertrude Stein
SDS Port Huron Statement
See Bergman’s Seventh Seal for the plague childrens game.
Awesome B/W cinema

Re Mentor tof

Matt and Ashwin,

If you could write up the notes and circulate it to all the people in the class electronically we can all contribute and finsih that. For now what I too away from the discussion was:
1. You would like to ‘Understand “what Industrial Design is” in big companies’.
2. You will interact with the mentors through your blog.

Here is another things: Why dont you all set up your blogs – be out there – and I will invite them to choose which blog/s they want to contribute to. So each of you gets one or more mentors. Simple. And respects confidentiality.

Re IP and Copyright. Think before you put images of you work onto the net. For this you can make a secure site with login access and share the password with your mentor. Take a look at Yahoo Briefcase – this comes as part of the deal if you have a Yahoo account. You can upload files there and share info. Comments can be on blog.

Then again if you want to put your images on the blog – so that your work gets widely known – that is a good way to think too.

New movie in town – Tarnation. Seen it?

Simulation Game – Our own business

This was one of the most exciting outcomes of the discussion. Each of you can go off and become a business. Many of you liked this idea:
1. Some of you want to construct one business. And thats – 13 – businesses.
2. Some of you find this idea confronting. And would like to simulate a ‘working within a big co’ situation.
Both these have merit. But interestingly a few of you said – we may not have to do the jobs we are doing – and that is interesting too.

4 months in business and
doing 7 competitions and
watching 36 movies and
meeting 13 new people and
a few other things that you do- – you will stop doing – and will do it differently. Because you will be going through aprocess of becoming creative.

Spoke to Mick about your idea of going into business and he was very excited – and said that is how things used to be in the old days. Students got together and hired a space and worked from there. Some of their work was for uni some of it was for money. And it was fun.

To become a business is a game. And it can be simulated.

Now what you need to think about it is how to be a business that does truly radical and creative things. And doesn’t just service clients. Now it is getting interesting.

Surprise me and I will bring you more creativity things.

20th July update

Much better session. I realise that you may have strong deep seated – assumptions and expectations – of what I ought to be saying and doing. You probably still brinng to the class the strong feeling that there is a “right way”. You are still incoherent and lie when you say “I dont follow whats going on”.

Not much in the way of exposure to Cinema, Literature, …. Gertrude Stein drew a blank. The avant garde may be seriously confronting.

Looking back:
1. We know what the questioning technique is. We know how to do a group discussion.
2. We realize that creativity is a big thing – and we dont know much about it; Bionics, Analogies, …
3. We did one small exercie in boundary shifting.

-ves:
1. Too easily tired – physically tired – with mental work.
2. Very poor stamina.
3. Enthusiasm flags.
4. Not contributing enough.
5. Lapses into silence.

Class of 27th: The Emperor is not wearing any clothes!
Aka – Design for Industry (DFI) stories, Mapping ‘waht is design’: engineer to artist, single to collective.
And: Paper Lamp for Fringe

Housekeeping:
1. How to work with Mentors: Was inconclusive – but interesting things emerged.
2. Construction Waste proposal: A proposal needs to be made and this muct be naive. See below for the parts of the proposal.
3. Fish bowl: Not taking off.

"We don’t know what’s going on"

P: How are you going to respond to the statement that the students dont know what’s going on?
S: Thats a tough one. But it comes from a position where: one, I am supposed to know what is going on; and two, there is something goin on which is mysterious. First one ‘one’: The students have a chart where they will say what they are going to do in the semester. And they haven’t done so. But I am not pushing them – though I am encouraging them – to fill out the chart so that I can discuss their ‘fillings’ of the chart with them. This would be the place where I would be able to explain what may be useful for them to do. But they have’nt come to the table (so how can we talk) – so as I wait I will do exercises with them in the way ‘Scott KWAC’ at camp would do it for corporate executives. Hey lets do a session on ‘creative thinking’ – ummm say by making a paper lamp. But hang on there are many ways to do paper lamps – some ways are conventional ways and some are unconventional ways. “So go of for 20 minutes and do it your way. Ah! but thats a conventional way. Here – come and try freeing yourslef of your ‘boxed in’ ways of thinking. Use the questioning technique and break free. Propose the ridiculous and take it seriously. (The conventional is reactionary – look up this r word in wiki paedia – the mac interface for the blog does not have links -I will do this later today from the office). You are not supposed to be reactionary; people who want to go back to the older ways and want to keep things the way they are. You are supposed to challenge existing ways of seeing things.” And so I talked to them after the first time they did the exericse – and they laughed and thought it all a big joke. And I wasn’t very charitable in my feedback. But how do you say – what you have done is bad thinking. Remember this – and don’t ever think in this fashion in this class. You cant say it. Not without being confronting. So you say – here have another go. But first limber up – get out of your comfort zones. Now sit down try and think again. What is it: so much paper, an enclosure, something that is outside of you – ah you are getting somewhere. Why is it that way – to save the flame from wind (great), so that it can be carried on a dark night for statanic rituals (fanstastic), so that it doesn’t burn you (ummm interesting S&M possibilities here)… What else can it be – 20 meters of paper ( imagine what you can do with it), all around you, … What should it be – “Let us go then you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky – thru certain half deserted streets, the muttering retreats — with a procession of lamps”, …. Simple isnt it? And Kate then said ‘hey lets enter it for fringe’, good on you kate I say – ‘go on blow the competition away with your ideas’. But no they say they do not know what is goin on. Right – are they schooled in a particular way of extreme conservative thinking. I dont think so. They are wonderful people – who may be trying too hard to guess what I want. When in fact I want them to guess what they want.

Now for ‘two’: The questioning technique (from ILO) and many others like these are the stuff that ‘scott kwac’ knows about. They are problem solving or creativity techniques. What I am doing is brining them into the class room. This is conventional stuff – and the web is replete with hundreds, nay thousands, of such ways or methods. The library in the ‘management’ section is full of books on creativity. And this is what people who work in companies get taught. And go to camps like Kinglake for their training sessions. And this is where the Corporation comes alive. Corporations privilege thinking. And radical thinking. They put a huge premium on creativity anf innovation.

P: Are you goin to link this back to the ‘corporation game’ to explian it to them?
S: No I should’nt. I will destroy their initiative and their ability to learn. They have to come up with the “Game”.

P: What if they forget about the game? They forget about it in one week.
S: I will step in and give them a huge set of links on “Simulation Games” And rob them of initiative, and destroy their motivation. And say the Learner Centerd Project is a failure. I will go off into the wilderness and look for radical thinkers. I will give up on the conservative mind of the urban aspirational people on this planet. But no I will keep waiting – and as I wait for them to come through I will say: ” I am HR, I am Scott KWAC, I am a trainer, I am your supervisor – and I am goin to train you in techniques of thinking”. And maybe many weeks go by – but somehow I doubt it. There may be a spark that may coe alive.

What will happen tomorrow

Well things will happen. We have to do creativity. And there will be that. You will be able to touch it. Circle it and claim – ah yes I have seen it. Then boundary shifting. Then the way companies build good thinking.

But will there be stuff. Will you come with stuff? Or will it be just me again?

Just hope there are surprises in store for me. If not, well – disappointments like this come with the job I guess.

Competitions and Dates

REECE 31st oct
Living City Aug 19th
Volvo TBC in Sept
Fringe August 6
Sea Art Sep 23rd
Osaka Oct 1st
Taiwan July 21st

More details and links coming up.

The First Phaedrus chat

P: So how was the session?
S: Too much negative vibes. And to add to that I kept them late, I delayed them, in the evening. And they probably cursed me for it.
P: So what are you going to do?
S: Should I give up? And do a ‘project’ where they can sefely go ahead not tampering with their minds. Just doing some work and I will promise not to look at how they think – but will look away from them and look only at what they produce. I will accept that Education is not about their learning to learn – but is the cafe model of production and consumption. Dont go into the kitchen! Just come in, eat what we serve and value us only for what we serve. Judge us. Focus, Focus, Focus – only on outputs. Dont go into the process. Dont discuss creativity. Discuss solutions. Like it is some bizarre mathematical game. UGH!
P: You were doing quite well till the end there. So you cant go on in the way you portray. Would it help if you laid it all out. Like you have done for the films – just give them the menu – and let them chose what they want to eat. But I see your point – you dont think there is any point in the eating. Or the decor. It is about the food – and what is food. Like you say – is snake also food? And your students are saying no – we dont want to go there. Only lolly is food. Hmmm. But you have time.

(to be continued)

Phaedrus was this character in Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Where he speaks of the real university. And it has these interesting parallels with us: In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, is not about orthodox Zen Buddhism. Neither is it much about motorcycle maintenance. In this (obviously) autobiographical first novel, Pirsigs struggles with (amongst other things) the origins of Quality (Yes, he spells it with a capital Q). Is Quality merely relative? Is it just a matter of opinion? Personal prejudice? If it is, then is the Mona Lisa merely an over rated piece of doodling? Pirsig thinks not. Quality is absolute and has its origins at the highest primary level. And it does not go unnoticed that many of Pirsig’s sentences will retain their meaning if the word ‘Quality’ was exchanged for ‘God’. From Silverfish books.

You surprised me


First Steve: That was a good contribution – how we switch perspectives/ paradigms – when we move through the door of a hospital. Thanks for coming in so swiftly – you could have shrugged – and said ‘I dont know what you mean’ but you didn’t. Good on you Steve. So here is your reward – Actor Network Theory research has a treasure trove of studies looking at this shift and it is an interesting take on ‘ways of thinking’. Happy reading.

Than Anara: You came in quite razor sharp – and cleared the air of what I was trying to say. I am often aware that I do not communicate effectively with people – ‘why is he so difficult to understand’. But you gave this an interesting twist – by understanding the two categories (high road and low road), the two ways of thinking (the functional/lamp and the formal/paper)- because it was clear to you. But in the break you had said you found it difficult to follow what I was saying. So what is going on? May I venture a guess: What I say may be clear, but unacceptable so the students are forced to say ‘we dont get it’. I seem to be throwing content away. I say Paper Lamp – and when they think of how it will work I say “no, that is not it at all”. So thanks. Am also intrigued that you are familiar with Tarkovsky. Also Bondarchuk? Eisenstien? So here is your gift: Bakunin is one of those russians who changed things Permanently! Like Tarkovsky and Eisenstien. And he is the text you need to navigate your way through dissent.

As Vonnegut says … po wee tweet …

Cinema Resources

Andrei Tarkovsky

These are some of my favourite Film makers/ Great Directors. I am old and these are directors of yesteryear. But they changed my way of thinking. I acquired many more categories – I became open to many new things. Hope this is a thrilling journey for you too. But again you may find much to ridicule in this – will you. Somehow I doubt it – you have the instinct for self preservation true, but you may be willing to give yourself the chance to move on. And be open. This is astounding stuff. Happy Viewing.

Andrei Tarkovsky
Sergei Bondarchuk
Eisenstien
Luis Bunuel
Jean Luc Goddard
Fassbinder
Werner Herzog
Andrej Wajda
Costa Gavras
Jacques Tati
Roman Polanski
Ozu
Akira Kurosawa
Ingmar Bergman
Satyajit Ray

And here are some web sites on Cinema:
Senses of Cinema
Zeroland
Bittercinema
Masters of Cinema

That is one thing:But that is not it at all —-
Another is how many films – you said 13 films in 13 weeks. It was so surprising that you did not say 130. Can you not have a feast? Do you not have the ability ( you creature straight out of clockwork orange)to watch more. Do you not have the ability to be joyful? Is education really supposed to be the most boring thing you can ever encounter on this planet? Come on give your self a chance – get a life. The question will remain – hopw many films can you put into the next three months we are going to be together?

What films is another thing altogether: You want to stick close to the script – you bird whose cage has been opened refusing to fly away. Go I say and nyet, nada, nash, nein you say. ANY FILM – anyhting at all. So long as it is not english. Check out our own Moffat.

Either way and what ever. Do surprise me with your sheer enthusiasm.

So What Happened on 18th

The general feeling I carried away with me as I left the class was one of negativity. More on this:
1. I will create a Phaedrus like dialogue.
2. I will put resources for each category in the contract. What the heck I say – I give up.