Wild Tech Exploration Exercises

Published: May 2018


How to fall in love with being and building in and with nature.

building IN nature
building WITH nature
(building FOR nature)
building tools for building in nature

Wild Hacking Code of Conduct
Be kind to your fellow plants, say a word of recognition for what you take.
Leave no trace behind

Exploration Activity Categories:
[B]uild in Nature, Build with nature
[D]igital i/o

Constant Continous Curious Collection (CCCC)

goal: to gather a basic material stock
gear: foraging bags, large pockets, knife to cut, hands to pick, eyes to see
As you move through the wild continuously collect materials. Aim for diversity. Aim for specific traits. Gather what appeals to you. Question why it appeals to you.

Shopping in Nature (at the Wild Supermarket)
goal: to find a material solution for a specific purpose
gear: foraging bags in various sizes, rubber bands or string, large pockets, knife to cut, hands to pick, eyes to see
Move through the environment in seach of what you need. Touch, feel, smell, study… and stay open to inspiration for more unusual options.

What do you need? Material for a circuitboard or a speaker membrane, something to build a table, to poke an LED? As you move through the environment act as if you were in a supermarket on the lookout for a solution to what you need. Come to see everything around you as a potential material you could use to build what you need. Touch things, feel their texture, are they soft enough for poke through, are the rigid enough to vibrate? Collect what you find so that you can try it out later.

Buy Something Beautiful (Pick Something Pretty)
goal: to analyse your own perception of beauty
gear: hand, eyes
As you are shopping in nature, look out for something you find particularly “beautiful”. Then ask yourself why. Write an ode to the beauty of this item.

Dream Dwelling
As you wonder through the wild, look out for your favorite spot to set up basecamp.

Formulate a Question
Pretend you are 5 years old and your head is overflowing with questions about the how the world works. come up with one question you want to ask and ask it.

Focus / Observe /Assess

1x1x1m Transect Cube
goal: to develop observation and documentation skills
gear: time, pen&notepad
Stake out a random cube of land/nature/space. Spend 1 hour observing and documenting what is in front of you.
If you think you have seen all there is to see, try listing 10 x 10 different items:
10 different shaped leaves
10 different insects
10 different colours
10 different scents
10 different lengths
10 different size rocks
10 different textures
10 different sounds
10 different plans
10 different angles
10 different movements

Transect i/os – Building With Nature
goal: to develop a relationship with natural materials as (digital) building materials
for INPUT/sensor switchs: conductive thread, tape, fabric, wire…
for OUPUT/electromagnetic actuators: magnet wire, neodymium magnet
Choose to build either an INPUT or an OUTPUT. Return to your transect cube and build using only what you can harvest from within your cube.

All Natural Interactions
goal: use your (interaction) design skills to design and build a (digital) interaction with nature
gear: whatever materials and tools you normally use to build with
Look around – given the digital INPUTS and OUTPUTS that you know – what can you think to sense and actuate? Get out your electronics and program a setup that reads a sensor’s INPUT and uses it to control an OUTPUT. Get inspired by what ideas and interactions happen next.

See Yourself Building

goal: become aware of your own practice/process in order that you can start to design tools/infrastructure for yourself.
gear: willingness to reflect your own practice
Take a moment to reflect on your own process of building in nature, with nature. Film yourself
Try and observe: What tools and/or infrastructure would make your process more efficient/comfortable/interesting? Are you material-driven or design-driven?…

Draw your Dwelling
goal: to use drawing as a method for analysis
gear: paper, pen
Draw and annotate the space you have set up to work in.

Observe Another
goal: train your observation skills
gear: time, patience, diligence
Observe another person building or interacting with nature. Ask somebody to observe you.
Use note-taking, sketching, photography to capture details you might otherwise miss. Write down questions you want to ask the person you’re observing. Listen attentively to the input/feedback you get from anybody who observed you.

Party Boat
goal: build something crazy and then observe
gear: lots of different actuators and one microcontroller
Giver yourself 30 minutes to build a device that creates as much different stimuli as possible. Then set this device out and leave it running. Observe how animals interact with it.

Our Tools, Our Senses – “Become the tool you wish to be”
goal: experience a tool becoming an extension of your senses
equipment: a tool, a way of mounting your tool on yourself
Our tools not only extend our capabilities, our ability to use them to manipulate our world also feeds back to us making us sensitive to the world in particular ways. Select a familiar tools that you often use and find a way to mount it on your person so that you have it with you at all times.
At the end of the week of having your tool with you, write a poem about your tool.

Anatomy of a Pin
Their enticing sharpness allows pins to pierce through materials, including our skin. As straight lines they are capable of amplifying the movement of a surface they’re connected to, and collectively they accumulate into a soft manoeuvreable fur. With a hole on one end they can pull a soft line of thread through other materials, holding these together to construct three-dimensional forms. Being made of metal they are able to conduct electricity, and can be used to close a circuit to detect touch. As simple and commonly known tools they are transparent and familiar, and we use them to manipulate our world.

Behavioural Assay
Think of yourself as a complex body of sensors and actuators that you can reprogram to behave differently in an attempt to explore you own interactions with the world. Think of something strange (out of the ordinary) to do in order to experiment with your environment. Alter your behaviour in order to explore your environment from a different perspective. For example:
– every time you see something red you pause for 10 seconds and observe all that you can see. – everytime you hear a certain sound you copy it.

Mountain Lion

Exploration Exercise: Observe an Insect
find an insect and try to observe it for 10 minutes. feel free to touch it, displace it, build contraptions to test it’s reactions. document all that you see! Ask yourself: what senses do animal have?

Mapping Exercise

Dinner Discussions
we come back together (perhaps over dinner) to discuss how participants worked, what they observed, unique characteristics of the environments, and what types of tools
(no words, just acting out)

Night-Time Exercise
That night at midnight, participants return to the spot they worked in earlier that day and observe differences in the environments, the creatures nearby

Creative Documentation

Packing List
magnifying Glass
permanent marker

Techniques for building wearables in the wild!!!
All Natural Wearables
Wild Wearables
Wearables in the Wild
Wearing the Wild

Urban/Natural Composites
string & sticks
3D print on sticks, stones and bones
woven twigs

Switch Sensors
Leech Disco
Lash Detector
Tilt sensor
Wind Chime
Leaf wing
Leaf speaker
Leaf motor
Simple FM Radio
EMF sensor

Valldaura - day 3