Monday, January 25, 2016

From a construction site to makerspaces

Me playing with a bucket – Malchen, Germany 
From as long as I can remember, the construction site for the renovation of my parent's turn of the century German timer framed house was my playground. There, the piled up wooden planks formed serendipitous caves that became imaginative make-shift shelters. Plastic buckets filled with water, sand, or scrap materials became rhythmical instruments. The stumbled upon crooked nails and hand tools became ways for building remote controls for communicating with outer space.

The construction site, what later became the yard of the house, was a ground for endless journeys of imagination and seems to have been the headquarters for planning adventures among the neighboring children and me. From here, we set off to the nearby forrest to concur the fleets of foreign waters that were represented by the trees a hurricane caused to fall and shuffle one on top of the other. While perhaps the stuff of nightmares for a caring parent, one of the greatest adventures of my earlier years was setting off with a group of friends to the other side of the village to slide down the sand dunes of a large scale construction site. 

Besides imaginative, adventurous explorations and serving as a space for connecting with others, the site allowed me to find my play space within the larger context of an adult construction site. I learned how to differentiate adult tools, such as buzz saws and cement machines, from more child-friendly materials, such as buckets, water, and sawdust. I was tasked with important decisions, such as seemingly selecting the color of the plaster of the house.

It is challenging to pin point in a few sentences what made the construction site special to me, how it conditioned my learning trajectory, personal development, the way I am or going to be. What I know is that the experience of growing up in this unique environment was particular. The opportunity to try myself out, to connect to others, to use as a jumping off point for developing ideas, to truly listen to the oddities of materials are things I am truly grateful for. The creative play I was able to experience perhaps inspired my love to exploring new things, taking off for new challenges, setting my own goals, and perhaps even conditioned my interest in making to learn. I believe the site gave me the chance to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, being at home in makeshift environments, and to see the potential of the unfinished.

No comments:

Post a Comment