What is a hack and why the chat?

[event flyer]

To hack is an ambiguous computing term. Back in the day it referred to gaining unlawful access to someones computer system (now regarded as cracking). In education terms it refers to a novice programmer changing stuff almost at random in the hope they get towards a working solution. But in terms of our event it has far more positive and exciting connotations. A hack is an event, normally relatively short in time. A single day or at most a week where a bunch of people come out of there normal daily routine, congregate in a public space and focus there combined efforts to solve a specific task. It is energising to see what can be achieved when focused on one thing away from the distraction of a typical day at the desk. Typically you will be working with in a theme, but the crux of what you are making is up to you. Couple this with the opportunity to work with new people who’s interest has lead them to the same event as you and you get the picture. Interesting people working together indulging in a monetary lapse of distraction and getting a chance to produce something they care about.

This hack is a little different as we are hoping to bring together a wide range of people with different expertise and experience to bring to the table. The theme is  the tech we are working with, the Processing language. We are lucky enough to have Ira Greenberg to share his work with Processing to get us inspired and motivated for some code making. So the chat is two fold we will be having some speakers talking in a fairly relaxed fashion about their work. But the chat between you and your collaborators is just as important and valuable as what ends up in code. Collaboration is a the heart of this day not code.

Collaborations between art, science and engineering can all to often be a bit transactional, with a shallow understanding of each other. To genuinely collaborate takes courage, humility, respect and an open mind.  One minute you may be the expert sharing your domain expertise in an accessible fashion and relating it to the task in hand. The next minute you may be totally out of your comfort zone trying to follow some one from a different discipline describing how some there wisdom can be brought to bare on the task. Different disciplines have their own culture and vocabulary which can take time time to understand. One of the joys of my role is working with different people. I can be explaining how to interpreted data from accelerometers one minute then being schooled on how a hammer is used in a jewellery context as all I have swung at is a nail. This is not easy so why collaborate?

Ken Robinson talks very well on the defining human characteristics of imagination and creativity, whether we solve our problems in steel & concrete, porcelain clay, code or precious metal we are united by an ability to see a problem and strive for a solution. Great things will happen when we all pull in the same direction and value all the voices at the table.



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