This photograph (and the ones below) show how I’m going to use my bedroom wall to capture aspects of Wonder Land. This photograph shows my initial map of Wonder Land and the notes I made yesterday. The following photographs show the headings of the business plan; I’m going to use different coloured wool for each heading to connect stuff up.
I joined The Gym in February. The Gym is a low cost, 24 hour access gym located on Brighton seafront, next door to The Sealife Centre. Incidentally, it occupies a space that, twenty years ago, used to contain an indoor adventure playground for children called Pirates Deep (the link goes to a forum where Brighton football supporters remember having fun at Pirates Deep as kids; rather worryingly, they laugh about being violent so that’s a consideration I need to be aware of for my adventure playground). My son was a toddler then and, although parents weren’t supposed to climb over the playground with their children, I used to pretend Alex was stuck so that I could go on it too. The Gym is nothing like Pirates Deep; rather than fun (my idea of it anyway), it’s a place of serious work.
Utilising Eric S. Raymond’s number one principle in open source software building – “every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch” – to begin my project of deciding whether an adventure playground for grown ups is viable, I made a list of things I don’t like about The Gym. I go there because my goals are: to be able to move my body around freely and with enjoyment – so, to be able to run and jump on things (parkour is looking interesting); to be able to run away for a long time, if necessary (end of the world scenarios feed into this one (I also know how to suture after a dream where I removed two bullets from a man’s hip but couldn’t work out how to sew up the holes so when I woke I researched it)) so to build up stamina; to be able to do one chin up (my flatmate makes them look so effortless and I want to not be a weedy girl!); to fit into my old jeans comfortably (so I don’t have to buy new ones).
It’s just over a month since I joined The Gym and I haven’t been there in a week and a half. My last two exercise sessions have involved me riding my bicycle several miles and back, then at home doing press ups, sit ups, leg raises, glute bridges, tricep dips and Russian twists (with a heavy cooking pot instead of a med ball). It’s free and for most of the workout I get to see countryside or seaside. I’m considering quitting my membership. I would much rather go to a place where the equipment invites me to play and have fun, whilst working out. Wonder Land climbing frames, slides and other structures could be planned with fitness routes in mind (like bouldering, where there are easy, intermediate and hard routes) and with free play.
This is my itch with The Gym:
- ideological – more about how your body looks than feels (this is backed up by the posters advertising personal training to look good for the summer: “get a beach body!”)
- not conducive to making friends: people wear earphones, TVs are on with annoying mainstream music, people are ‘traumatising’ their bodies to get fit so the focus is on that, there’s one table with four chairs on the ground floor although chairs usually have towels on them
- not aesthetically pleasing – bunch of uniform machines in rows
- chore to go there (as a result of the above)
- it smells of mould
- £40 for a personal trainer to design a program
Therefore, an adventure playground for grown ups would be more inspiring: it would be fun whilst working out – circuits could still be designed but by the individual – information on hand to provide building blocks for individual programs (like lego). The internet can, of course, be used for this currently, but at Wonder Land, individuals can update the information as they become aware of the latest research, just like individuals adding patches to deal with bugs in the latest version of a Linux program.
Today I watched Depression, the secret we share, a TED talk by Andrew Solomon (it was on my Facebook feed). He shares some stark truths about depression and how it is to be depressed, alongside some ideas of what could help to relieve it. The relief from depression seems to be the best one can hope for rather than the cessation of it. What do other cultures do around this – do they have depression? Solomon has a book (of course) about depression but reviews on Amazon stated his writing was very subjective, albeit eloquently so, and I was guided to a book that is more matter of fact: Lewis Wolpert’s Malignant Sadness, The Anatomy of Depression, which I will pick up from the University of Brighton library at Falmer when I have more oomph.
Perhaps turning towards something worthwhile is a way of curing depression. One of the things I like about Linux, as an operating system, is that it is open source and, therefore, subverts the proprietary way capitalism works. The paragraph about open source code pasted in my notebook in the photograph above comes from Get Back In The Box, Innovation from the Inside Out by Douglas Rushkoff. I cut a lot of the pages of his book out and pasted stuff over the rest; it was the book I used to record my process on my last project. Some of the pages of the book, which is a book designed to help businesses reconnect with what they do well rather than focus on profit, provide me with some good quotes and inspiration, like this one about open source code. I downloaded Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar, read it avidly, and copied the points he made about building something with open source principles. Of course, he’s talking about building software programs, but I’m going to utilise it for Wonder Land, which I would like to be open source. I’m going to use his points to think about and take actions on aspects of Wonder Land.
An initial drawing of a map of Wonder Land – adventure playground for grown ups – in preparation for a meeting with Sam of Bee Purple, University of Brighton’s entrepreneur advice centre. I came away with ideas for making a visual business plan and am going to use my independent project, which is the final project of my second year Moving Image degree, to create a model or process map or something that helps me and people who come to see it (so it will be exhibited somewhere) decide whether it’s a viable project. I have another meeting with Sam booked for 28 April 2014.
I made this after being prompted by a task in The Artist’s Way. I collected brochures and fliers from The Basement in Brighton and used a So Brighton magazine. It shows my past, present and possibilities, my values and things I don’t value any more, some coping behaviours and themes. I had fun putting it together and now I’m going to put it on my wall.