THIS IS HAPPINESS
Shortly before the call with John on Wednesday night, many of us were disillusioned with Process M. We hadn’t reached consensus on any of the ideas we’d been kicking around for the last week. We learned from our test executions yesterday that our quotes + image direction had some real problems; painting residents here into a corner to expose a controversial memory or thought or quote was A) contrived and B) would just reinforce the stereotypes of small Southern towns.
In our call with John, he mentioned a building project in which each member of the team builds on what another member has already done—Renga. After our phone call with John last night, we scrapped all previous design ideas. It was back to the drawing board.
Before the call, Sagarika threw out the idea of 8. It evolved into a project by 8 people with 8 constraints. We were all dying to make. To move. To do. We did a test case in thirty minutes involving the process John described but fitting it to the 8 of us. Each of us came up with one constraint and executed the project in a couple of minutes. It was ugly as hell, but we’d done something and succeeded, and each of us had = stake in the process and product. THAT was key.
From there, we thought about doing that project on a larger scale, as individual designers. We wondered: What would happen if each of us came up with a constraint around a common theme with a couple of global constraints? The result was the THIS IS HAPPINESS project. The constraints were as follows:
11x17 in dimensions due at 1 pm (we devised this at 10pm,
so 8 hours later)
(s) a hand made element
(w) an element that references something from the past 24 hours
(d) 2 colors total
(l) must involve something you brought here
(n) must enjoy it
(t) must have type in it
(e) no punctuation
(b) substrate is not paper
Each project was successful and wildly different from the next. Each met all 8 constraints. We learned that we wanted to do something that made each of us happy and made others happy. We decided to open up 8 as an idea for further exploration.
8—THE IDEA + WHAT GLOBAL THEMES IT SATISFIES
We started kicking around 8 as a possibility and ways that we could push what we’d done in THIS IS HAPPINESS. We interpreted 8 in the following ways: there are 8 designers, 8 projects to be executed in 8 days, 8 themes and 8 constraints. We decided the same 8 constraints would apply to each executed project, and that a set of global constraints would govern all of them.
• Project must be implemented/executed in a day
• All 8 designers will be utilized in each project
• 8 projects will be designed, executed and implemented together
• 8 projects engage the community of Greensboro
• 8 of us will enjoy 8 projects
• 8 of us will devise 8 projects that embody design for good that
• All 8 projects will leave their environment better than we found it
(These were devised Project M workshop style)
(l) Must bring 2 people together
(b) Must be a call to action
(n) Element from place where one Mer is from
(s) Must incorporate type
(e) Can’t produce waste
(d) If supplies are available in Greensboro it MUST be purchased here
(w) Must be beautiful where beauty= good idea which is well executed
(t) NO computers used in the design and production of any project
8—PROPOSED EXECUTION + CALENDAR
All of this sounded amazing. But we wondered: if we haven’t been able to do ONE thing together, how the hell are we going to pull off 8 projects in 8 days?
Solution: Each night at 9, the Carnivore (Ellen) will draw the name of one designer who will function as the project manager the next day. The chosen designer will in turn draw one of the 8 themes. The group will reconvene at 9 the following morning to propose ideas surrounding the theme.
At 10:30 am, the PM will decide a direction for the project. The rest of the day’s schedule is up to the PM.
After 15 days, we realized that our initial process wasn’t permitting all of us to be 100% satisfied. But we were still committed to working together.
We needed to think wrong about our process. So here we are.
In terms of the Project M—Thinking Wrong at the Rural Studio book, we wanted the content of the book to be about Thinking Wrong instead of about the Rural Studio. Projects planned and executed under 8 will all inevitably be influenced by our time here in Greensboro, where many of the Rural Studio projects exist. Our global and specific constraints drew from Mockbee’s principles. Like those projects, our projects will be something from nothing, and it is our hope that each will be legendary.