Birth of a nation #futr

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I’m at Fab Lab Manchester having been enticed into a Fab Lab challenge as part of Futureeverything. The challenge is to rapid prototype a product in response to a brief given at 07.00h!

I woke up to find a missed call from Caroline, my partner in crime who wanted to brainstorm the following challenge over the phone… “Make an urban intervention in a digital world”. A fab call to action on a Friday morning!

It is a pretty cool challenge that resonates with a problem around urban space that i brought home yesterday following a chat about bus shelters with a lady from GMPTE in a shipping container on Piccadilly Gardens.  The lady wanted to get in artists to make some public art at a bus stop. And i was saying what if the bus stop is the piece of public art that brings people together whilst people are waiting for the bus. The bus stop needs to be people shaped and responsive. My point was – involve the people in the design of the bus stop. The bus stop is the piece of public art.

And then this conversation picked up with this morning with Caroline’s call to action. So right now we are rapid prototyping an urban ipod hub to bring lone commuters together, face to face, as they wait for the bus on their way to work. We have until 3pm to make it!

Here’s our timetable:

7.00h brief given

8.00h phonecall brainstorm – caroline walks back to fetch me

9.00h conversation and photos on way to Fab Lab at Urban Splash

10.00h internet searching, sketching, looking to get design spec for stand, branches and ipod holder

11.00h pfaffing about, chat with fab lab bloke and getting design onto inkscape, bit more pfaffing working out angles (no protractor) – excitement for maths and calculator usage.

12.00h Pattern cutting on wood

13.00h Assemble

14.00h Finishing Sprint – snagging

15.00h End

The finished thing is called ‘Squirrel Nation’: an urban platform to bring commuters together as they wait at a bus stop.

The finished thing is going to be exhibited in Palace Hotel from 18h00 to 20h00 tomorrow. Had great unexpected and fun day… thank you mcc, pencil tin, caroline, fab lab, futureeverything… i will sleep well tonight – missed the city debate (good job i passed on invitation to speak! not something i relish) but going to futr gig at Victoria Baths, Hathersage road tonight… and chill ahead of tomorrow’s adventure with comixed: enhanced as part of playeverything….


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