Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Motivation - Caine's Arcade

Why do we make things? Sometimes, of course, through simple necessity.  
But Caine's cardboard box arcade appears to be made for many, complex, reasons. He may well say it's for fun  - although he certainly appears to be taking the process entirely seriously. Some of the 'motivators' going on here seem to be:
  • the urge to build in the physical world the things we imagine
  • the sheer pleasure of absorption in a task -' flow' if you will. 
  • the challenge of 'I wonder if...' 
  • the availability of tools and materials - time, space, scissors and cardboard boxes   
  • a sense of pride in overcoming constraints and problems - you'll have to "just build" a claw machine. 
  • the engagement of elaborating and developing an idea - Caine's calculators for 'security'
  • expressing and sharing the joy of something you love
  • the desire for authenticity - the real deal
  • to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve 
  • somewhere to exhibit your work
Two things about the film delight me especially. First, that despite, and through, the messy physical reality of a pile of cardboard boxes, Caine's ideas shine. That the adults - his father and Nirvan Mallick the film-maker -  appear to genuinely admire his imagination and don't patronize him.
I'm considering showing this to all my classes next half term and asking for their reactions. I'm also seriously wondering whether it would ever be possible to create a school environment where this level of ambition could be realised. For a professional educator to witness Caine's depth of commitment in their classroom would be to touch the Holy Grail - though, like Lancelot, I am allowed the occasional glimpse.
The nearest I've got recently is Kawser's little animation below. I just happened to pass by when he was playing around with one of the hand stickfigures I'd made and suggested that he could easily animate those experiments. The following is the result. By far the liveliest and most original of the animations created in that project. And completely unlike anything I had envisaged...