Monday, October 15, 2012

Seeding Auckland Day 2

Day 2: The first ever Seeding the Cloud walk hosted in Auckland - it was fantastic, such a lovely way to experience the city and hang out with new people.
Before arriving in Auckland I timetabled some walks to occur in and around Ponsonby. I thought of these walks as training sessions. I would take people through the process, share my systems, techniques, tooling, rationale, etc in detail and overtime and through my detailed instruction I hoped to build a small army of supporters eager to take the project on and interpret it within there own setting.

As with the workshop I a day earlier I provided participants with a starter pack, although in this instance the tools were to be carried (safely and rather heavily) in a pack on my back.
The walks were scheduled to last for a couple of hours for a small group, no more than five participants (three is ideal). I generally set our with no particular course in mind, and together we look for, pick up, sort, drill and thread the fragments of plastic we find.
There are many challenges that present during these outings, however the variables are what  make the process continually interesting for me. In my role as host and trainer I have to take in to consideration how everyone might fair if the weather is too hot, cold, windy, or too rainy. I often begin by asking who has a coat, an umbrella, hat etc.
Initially I lead the group, instructing them on the pace, what we are looking for, I even suggest how and where to look. But as familiarity builds I find the group begins to take on making some of the decisions and those with local knowledge begin to share it.
As with all material supply there are quality and quantity issues to over come. If there is too much plastic we don't cover much ground, not enough plastic and we have to walk too far. These simple factors add to the drama of the process. Will it work or won't it, how much time is required and how much distance is travelled to achieve our necklace. Unfortunately in this training session we don't tend to finish our thread.
I have found its important not to try and preempt the experience, far more fun is to be had by just going out and seeing what happens. If I were to prepare by pre-walking an area to see how much plastic is around or to check out the cafes in the area to see which one might have suitable tables and relaxed staff it would make for a predictable and potentially boring experience. I have to trust that we will find plastic fragments and a place to work where ever we go. If there isn't much plastic, that's good! We just have to walk a bit further and look a bit harder.

I would like to thank my three intrepid and enthusiastic Seeders who joined me on this particular day Allan, Lucy and Fran!!

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