9808A: Laughs, Lessons, Learning

Bill asked us to write a “wrap up” post about the class (9808A), so that’s what you’ll be getting with this entry. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll be able to fit Harry Potter in at some point, too.

Bill, if you’re reading this, thank you for this class. Yes, I felt lost a lot of time, but I learned so much. As we were once wisely told (in the class. By Bill): “You can be good at anything you’re not afraid to suck at.” Deep.

But seriously, how true is that? If you can overcome your fears of being vulnerable, looking like a fool, and messing up, you have the chance to learn so much.

What I liked about this class was the lack of pressure to impress. Yes, our work was often revealed in front of everyone in the program (all 10 of us. Not too scary), but there was no fear of judgement. We were encouraged to do the best we could, try out new things, and hope we don’t fall on our faces. I’ve never had a class like that before. It has always been, “This is how you do it, introduction, body, conclusion-GO!”

I learned about programs I didn’t know anything about (some I didn’t even know existed!), like google sketchup, Max6, and HTML. I would in no way consider myself an expert in any of these areas, but at least I now know it’s possible to become an expert. Or at least competent.

For once, I actually feel like I have an advantage in the work place. I not only have ideas, I have at least a vague notion on how to make them a reality. AND I have the drive to do so. Knowing I can make exhibits fun, make history fun, is inspiring. I want to know more because it presents so many possibilities.

With journalism, I could have all the story ideas in the world, but they weren’t necessarily bringing anything new to the table and they weren’t particularly “fun”, in my humble opinion. News can only get so creative, you know what I mean?

You can bet (your bottom dollar, as Annie would say) I’m going to complain, struggle, cry on the phone to my mum and grow more grey hairs than I already have taking “digital exhibits” next year, but I’m determined not to give up. I want to see my ideas come to fruition. And I’m not afraid to suck at it – BRING IT, Bill!

Taking Creativity to the MAX(6).

Yeah. I went there with that title. Because I’ve been thinking about this program and trying, with my limited knowledge on what wonderful Narnia-esque wardrobe doors Max6 could open, to think of something ahhhmahzing to do with it. Possibly something Narnia-esque, now that I mention it…

I’ve come up with two relatively vague ideas:

1. Something related to the Holocaust. No, don’t worry, there’s more to it. I’ve got a little more than that stewing in my brain.

An anthropologist (whose name escapes me at the moment) came to my old school (Carleton University) and gave a talk on the Holocaust. She told us how in Germany, many professionals must learn how their professions contributed to the ostracism of Jewish people during the war. A potent example was hairdressers learning how the shaving of Jew’s heads (men’s and women’s) served as an identifier of “difference”.

This message was incredibly powerful to me. I like the emphasis on demonstrating how every person, profession, trade, contributed to such an atrocity – ensuring as many people as possible remain accountable for those events and learn from them even today.

So. What has Max6 got to do with this? Well, what if people could go to a museum, enter their profession in a computer or database, and be taken on a virtual tour of the impact they could have had during the Holocaust? A little dark, yes, but I believe it is important an opinion of, “that happened so long ago, what’s it got to do with me?” doesn’t prevail in today’s society. If we’re to learn from history, it needs to be relatable.

With the help of Max6, the 3D graphics and animation necessary for this idea become a reality. I’m in no way suggesting the creation of gruesome images of concentration camps etc. I’m not trying to scare people away and/or attract creeps who are into that stuff. What I’m suggesting is an interactive learning experience that demonstrates the impact one person can have in the unfolding of a historical event.

The actual creation of this is obviously (if you’ve read my previous post about Max6) beyond my technical scope, but I would imagine I would need to learn more about 3D graphics, audio (to keep it realistic or attract interest) and imposing images into the patches. No easy feat. Which is why I’m perfectly okay with being the “brains” behind the operation. For now.

2. My second idea is a little lighter and a lot less related to history: what about a 3D, interactive tour of Hogwarts Castle? I know, I know, Harry Potter has somehow come up in almost every post so far, but is it my fault it relates to every and all aspects of life? I didn’t think so.

Perhaps it could vaguely be tied into history with references to fables through the fantastical beasts in the stories…

For this, audio would be essential. As would the 3D graphics and the ability to incorporate movement. And again, all this is beyond my technical prowess. I bet if I were a wizard, I could do it… What would JK Rowling do?!