Kavad 4.0 — Foamboard model

My friend Chris is very fond of the principle of “Least I can do” (belated happy b-day!).  By this, he means what is the minimum amount of effort needed to learn something or create something successful?  Again, I may not have the idea expressed exactly the way he would express it himself, but the overarching idea is, “what kind of effort do I have to put in in order to generate a useful result?”

My friend Daniel also says, “Build the whole thing, and see what you learn from your mistakes.”

My friend Scott also says, “A picture is worth a thousand words, but a part is worth a thousand pictures.”

With these three principles in mind — least effort, learn from completed prototype, and part=1000 pics, I dedicated one piece of foam-board to build a complete version of the prototype of the kavad I intend to build:

 Take a look!

A couple of things come to mind now that the first full-size-ish construction of this kavad is complete.  First, I have to measure and cut my pieces much more carefully.  As much as I might want to use the edges of the foam board as serious guides to cutting, the truth is — they’re not at right angles to one another, which means I can’t assume that the pieces I cut using that guide are going to be correct.

Second, I have to know the rough shape of all the parts, so I can lay out the board correctly ahead of time. This is going to involve a lot of straight-edge-and-compass work to get right, if I want to get that precise — if I’m thinking of it as a magical object though, I’ll WANT to get that precise (aren’t all stories magical in some sense?).  One possibility is to build it as a teaching tool, to teach RO-style Hermetics at festivals and workshops and suchlike. Having the geometry of the object be very precise is one way to accomplish that goal, and it can also be part and parcel of the story of the object itself — the way number and order underlies all stories, particularly stories about the nature of the universe.  Another possibility, given my recent rant about teaching creativity, is to use that kind of precise geometry to help talk about the role of previous discoveries of other creative humans in present-day creative thought.  There’s also a possibility that these two functions can be combined, so it’s useful in two different aspects of my life.

If I go with one of my other ideas, “the story of America,” though, I can use the geometry of the object as a way to talk about the Freemasons in America, and their importance to the Colonial and Federal eras.  Sneaking in a bit of the alternate history, in the way that Gordon … suggests? advocates? outright shouts-from-the-rooftops? … implies? (What IS the correct verb here?) is a useful component of a modern education not ruled by the ivory tower and the corporate board room.

The idea of combining Hermetics with a 3-D model/shrine to the creative process, though, really floats my boat today. So we’ll see, as I continue with this process, what continues to come forward.  It is clear that I have to make some decisions on the schema of imagery within and around the kavad in order to move this project forward.  I’ve dug a notebook out of my stash of art supplies, and I’m beginning some preliminary sketches.  But it’s a funny thing — you can’t know what images to sketch until you have a sense of the size and shape and location of the various parts of the physical box; and you can’t complete the design of the physical box until you have a sense of the story; and you can’t have a sense of the story until you have a sense of the box and the images to go on the box…  It’s all very chicken-and-egg, nonlinear, and complicated.  Back to work on the prototype.

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