• There is no system.

    by  • January 25, 2011 • Everything Else • 0 Comments

    Have a listen to Emilie Autumn’s “I know where you sleep”.

    I’ve had a very interesting series of experiences, living in a hexayurt village for a week and watching, up close, two dozen people adapt to using the hexayurts every day and every night, talk to me and each other about them, and trying to explain why on a regular basis. All this was grist for the mill.

    Here’s the single, simple observation: people stop seeing the hexayurt as anything fancy, curious or remarkable in less than three days. It goes from “kitchen hexayurt” to “kitchen tent” to “kitchen” and nobody really notices than a < €500 building of 20 square meters is warm, windproof, waterproof, went up in under an hour, and is in every way more or less like an actual house. It's just... a shiny building. Windows get added, the door gets fixed, and people are just happy with it. Works.

    My ambition is for the hexayurt to become like a knot. The bowline, say.

    You have a rope.
    You need a loop.
    You tie a bowline.

    You have some sheets of plywood, cardboard, plastic, osb, polyiso, hexacomb, honeycomb, sandwich panel or other.
    You need shelter.
    You make a hexayurt.

    When people say “what’s your business model” my answer will now be “same as the people who invent a new knot.”

    Now let me expand a little from this. It’s now really, really obvious that the hexayurt is going somewhere this year. I don’t know if it’ll move in Sri Lanka or Haiti, but it’s become a trivial component for Burning Man, and now for a very interconnected group of European artists around Changing Tents are also using it as a utility component.

    You can’t get the bowline back out of human culture, and it shows up wherever the intersection of knowledge and need arises. A panel is not different from rope – the same stuff, more or less, and just how you use it depends on what it’s made of, but the same mathematical geometries of knot or dome apply regardless of materials.

    So we have it, and it’s spreading, and I need to stop worrying about it and take better care of myself for a while.

    European state failure work still front burner, mind you.

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


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