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DesignInquiry Station: Pause, Ponder, Play

What are the “stations” of our work, interactions, and play? When our networks are not only local but also regional, global, and frequently “virtual,” where is activity situated? Do we yearn for both fixity of place and transitory freedom? What are the tensions, if any, between these extremes? The more that mobility is privileged, does place matter less? How might stations—their locations, design, histories, and potential—benefit and/or hamper relationships and professional practices?

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Try This! Where does this phrase exist? At the table. In the kitchen. In the studio and in the lab. This phrase contains a fundamental set of inherently optimistic requests. Explore! Test! Analyze! (and at the table) Enjoy!

We seek to use this years DI topic as a means to create stations for cooking that make this very same request. These will be objects or tools made during the week such as a clay oven, a dirt or ground-oven and perhaps a still in order to subject participant’s heirloom recipes to a set of constraints. Those at DI will be asked to bring their heirloom recipes before the start of the conference and will then analyze and modify their materials and practices specific to the cooking stations as well as mentalities and/or histories associated with the region. The co-creation of these cooking tools will be play in it’s raw form, cooking in novel and unconventional means, the challenge of problem solving and then sharing the results. These sets of objects as well as the restrictions of being on an island with limited supplies will generate a set of problems to be solved due to the resources available and conditions of the place. The isolating and restrictive effects of island lifestyle will have a direct effect on the development of tools and techniques. In the spirit of Daniel Defoe we will ask participants to problem solve creatively. We will collectively analyze results as well as question the desire to replicate out of nostalgia and memory.

We occupy and often are overwhelmed and controlled by the stations in which we work and play. These nodes or stations are fundamental and integral in the creation of our work and social life experiences. It is significant for creators to construct our experiences and others with stations of work, interaction, and play.

We’d like to present on the first day so that we can build at least two or three of these tools throughout the week. Both Matt and I are preparing short 5/10 minute lectures to introduce and complement the discussion process. The construction of stations, cooking and consumption of resulting endeavors will be interactive involving those who wish to make and cook with us as well as those outside who would like to contribute to the analysis of results. Documentation will also place a significant role in what results. We see this as separate from the daily cooking activities at the conference but hope to share the results at several meals.

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