Last week I had the privilege of shadowing Special Jewell as she hosted the Tuesday Haiku Speedbuild at Heron Shire, and this week I’ll be shadowing her at the Thursday event at Afar. I’ve been thinking about the opportunity to be the new host a lot since Special announced that after 4 years as host she’ll be stepping down at the end of February. She’s done such a beautiful job hosting this wonderful Second Life institution that I’m inspired to treat it with a lot of care, yet not so much reverence for past excellence that I’m afraid to let it innovate and evolve.
Whenever something works, we tend to codify that experience because it was so good we want to share the richness with others. Yet as time goes by, the power of that original experience can be diluted if we don’t continually rethink and reinvent it so that it remains always new and alive and vibrant in our time. So with no disrespect for the great work that’s been, and without meaning to be overly pushy about a job that I don’t even have yet, I thought I’d blog a few thoughts about experiments I might like to try if I’m lucky enough to follow in Special’s amazing footsteps.
C O N C E P T U A L . B U I L D I N G
I wrote a few thoughts about embracing a litle more abstraction and a little less literalness in Haiku Speedbuild:
• Haiki Speedbuild & Abstraction
One thing we could try in this regard is to have separate voting for Technique and Concept. Remember those English papers from high school or college with the Form and Content grades? haha, I sure remember my C- / D+ ! 😛 Currently peeps vote for “best” build and from the votes the top 3 builds are determined. While every week is different, I think the stronger technical builds often win, perhaps even if they aren’t conceptually too deep. We might try having the voters give us 2 lists, one for technical excellence, one for conceptual excellence, and then that week instead of the familiar 1st, 2nd, 3rd, we could have Technical Winner, Conceptual Winner, and Grand Prize Winner.
R O A D . T R I P
I love that Haiku Speedbuild travels between Afar and Heron Shire. In such a large, diverse virtual world, I think bringing the event to the many places that residents experience their world is truly wonderful. I’d like to see us expand the locations. We’d for sure want to keep the wonderful locations at Afar and Heron Shire, but we could also add a couple others. If we could find a space somewhere in, for example, the LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) sims, it would be wonderful to let some of our one-hour creativity be inspired by the amazing months-long projects found there. It would be great if we were able to arrange one Haiku Speedbuild a month at a place like Builder’s Brewery that has helped so very many residents acquire building skills. I know that in the past Haiku Speedbuild was hosted at Shin Tao Haiku Retreat, and while I’m not certain of their status today, it might be interesting to try to reunite Haiku Speedbuild with a Zen sensibility at one of SL’s many Zen Retreats or Buddhist Centers like, for example, Kannonji Zen Retreat.
T E A C H . A N D . L E A R N
New medical residents in hospitals have a slogan about new procedures they’ve never done before: “Watch One, Do One, Teach One.” That might be a little scary as a patient to think that the procedure this doctor is performing on you is something she’s never done before and only learned yesterday, but from an educational perspective this is a great slogan. Watch: see how it’s done, then Do: experience it yourself, and finally solidify what you’ve learned by Teaching it to someone else.
If we did have a Haiku Speedbuild at a place like Builder’s Brewery once a month, it might be interesting to try having an optional class the hour before, and then let that technique be the focus of that Haiku Speedbuild. For example someone like Miso Susanowa might teach a class on Twisted Prims, and then that day’s Haiku Speedbuild could emphasize working with twisted prims.
N U M B E R S , N U M B E R S
50 prims, 50 minutes. Anyone who’s ever done Haiku Speedbuild knows these numbers well. It can be confusing to try to get ever-changing information out to a large and fluctuating group of participants, so consistency is really valuable. Still, why always 50 prims? Why not more? Why not less? Why always 50 minutes? Why not more? Why not less? The twisted prim class::build described above is a nice case where the “building” is really about “sculpting.” It’s not so much to nail 50 boards of lumber together as it is to take a blob of clay and really stick your fingers in there shape that blob, feel its flow, shape something in volumetric space. So for that example, a 10-prim limit Haiku Speedbuild might be more than enough prims. Perhaps another occasion instead of one 50-minute build we could have four 10-minute builds, a bit like rapidly sketched frames in a graphic novel. And while we wouldn’t do it often, perhaps there could be a longer version: 2 hours, 4 hours, 10 hours. Yes the 50-minute format is excellent, but if it’s started, completed, and exhibited within a single day, I’d still call that a “Speedbuild,” and it might be nice to occasionally see what creative peeps can do with more extended time, as the inspired events over at VMI (Virtual Museums Inc) have shown.
A U T H O R , A U T H O R
Haiku Speedbuild’s former home at Shin Tao Haiku Retreat focused on the teaching and practice of Haiku. In addition to having each Haiku Speedbuild’s challenge day haiku drawn from the world of published poetry, we might also seek out SL authors to write something for us. Perhaps instead of our traditional voting, on that occasion the work could be judged by a special guest juror, the author themself.
C A L L . A N D . R E S P O N S E
Haiku Speedbuild has always been a “singles” event. I think this fits well with the way peeps come into this world and travel about. But what about trying a “couples” Haiku Speedbuild? And by “couples” I really mean “team.” You might come with someone you already know, or work with someone you just meet at Haiku Speedbuild for the first time. Either way the “game” might be that Person A puts down one prim… shapes it, textures it, whatever they like… and then person B puts down one prim in response to that prim… and so they take turns experimenting, exploring, and creating.
These are just a few ideas that I’ve been thinking about. I wouldn’t want to change too much or too fast, what we have now works so nicely and is so familiar to so many. But I do hope that the occasional format experiment could help this wonderful event reach even more virtual world residents and really motivate them to think outside the box… or, uh… think outside the prim cube! 🙂