Hello from California! I’m once again in the Antelope Valley, above LA. I’m spending my writing time finishing the last books in the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork book series, and spending my thinking time trying to make sense of the beautiful (and often situationally difficult) circus of life and momentum we are all moving through.
I expect to be moving back to Boston soon. It feels like home, and it’s where I want to be. I’ve been out here on the west coast for an entire year; long enough to load the system with what it needs to flip. One thing that pleases me intensely about the year I have invested here is that I won’t have to look back on this time and wish I had worked harder. That means a lot to me.
In my spare time, I’ve been learning to surf with a science team I formed to study the work being done in the ocean therapy community to heal PTSD. The people I have met in and through the surf community are expansive, intelligent, made of energy.
learning to surf, Carlsbad Harbor (I’m on the board), photo Eli Mack
From the science to the beads, it’s all important stuff, difficult to summarize. We’ve found so many new shapes and ideas that the work has ranged from exhilarating to overwhelming and back again. And again. Our ideas about structure, signal and form (and our beadworked examples) have been inside the dark labs, the industrial design firms, up on the rooftops, to the sea, and they all just went to visit the Navy at MIT.
The beadwork project has a book launch scheduled for the third week of October, in Boston, and people are coming from all over the world. The only way to finish at all (forget about in a timely manner) is to include the theory of everything on every page. I have found no diagrams that illustrate the way the Universe works better than the sparkling models we can hold in our hand; we can watch reality dissolve into unreality in our fingers, and build in life, predictability, unique experience, and energy storage.
a CGB Universe Machine, as interpreted by Joke van Biesen, the Netherlands
As I think about the secrets of the Universe, it strikes me that an art book is likely the best place to publish any shocking theory; it is both unnoticeable in a larger frame and yet essentially unquestionable in terms of date said. “I built this” is always more convincing with a publication date of the paper describing it.
Asking anyone to do a thing (or worse yet instructing them to do it) is ridiculous if you haven’t done it or understood it properly yourself. I never expected to spend so long on these shapes. I did not expect to be swimming with sharks, pointed at the Moon, or thinking about different kinds of beams of light. I suppose I rarely expect anything that happens; isn’t that the point of all of this?
with Timothy Murphy at Carlsbad Harbour, Sept 2017, photo Eli Mack
I’m learning remote viewing (again for a science team) and I’m working so hard on my listening, which is only a vestigial shred of a sense for me, like someone soldered it into my board askew. I hear so many nuances (and I record so much mind-video of any random proceeding) that sometimes I miss the more straightforward points that people are trying to make.
There have been thrills. Last week, three of us from the Surfing & PTSD Team went to meet Kelly Slater and his crew (!) and see his gorgeous new built wave in the desert.
I have an idea of making some sort of wave for Camp Pendleton that is always on, like the ocean, and that would be a wave that you can form a relationship with, that can sing your own song of coherence back to you if you lost your way, or were badly injured.
Kelly Slater’s wavepool
At the Surf Ranch, we met all of the greats. Stephanie Gilmore encouraged me to keep on surfing, and that kind of made my year.
This past weekend, I went on a whirlwind trip to Boston to meet with the Navy Hack The Machine team at MIT. I have ideas for kaleidocyclic surfaces, aware reefs, aware architecture and lots of unreal folding things that I think would be a great fit for ships and planes. The workshop was a real education, and I met yet another hundred smart, thoughtful people, many of them in uniform. So good.
As part of the meeting, we also had the chance to step onto the newly refurbished USS Constitution for the first time since she went into drydock. It was moving; we were there for a private dinner event, so we had the ship to ourselves.
On the deck of the newly refurbished USS Constitution, missing Sailor Bri on the foretop
As we were meeting in CSAIL, we ran into everyone. CSAIL tends to be a gathering place – there is decent food and great coffee on the ground floor and a parking garage below. Bumping into Jack Wisdom and Erik and Marty Demaine particularly delighted me. Marty’s office is completely stuffed with folded forms, and it’s always a trip to take people in there who have only seen the shapes in beads, physics or mathematics, but not in paper.
Folded paper forms in the office of Martin Demaine, MIT
The week before that, or the week before that, it’s been much the same. There are no postcards to send; the work is intense.
Sometimes, when we play tennis in the mornings, there is a red tailed hawk that watches. I’ve probably mentioned this before, because it stands out in my life as a constant. I’ll look over to the fence and see big yellow chicken feet, impossibly big chicken feet, and there she is.
Also, a hummingbird.