September 8, 2011

Daily livin'

Our first “official” collaborative projects began this week working with Simparch at Clean Livin’ on the South Base of CLUI. Matt and Steve (the duo behind Simparch and Clean Livin’) presented our group with some general ideas of projects that they wanted to see realized on the compound, which we used as a starting point for a collective brainstorming session.

We soon found ourselves with a long list of ideas, from technical improvements to their various composting and water systems to strategies that would keep their Target Museum guano free, while allowing the bats to maintain their habitats there.

Eventually we whittled down the list to four do-able projects based on our available work time and individuals’ interests: redesigning the grey water system, designing and building a solar oven, building a portable shade structure and digging a hole for their new 550 gallon water tank. We broke into three groups, each heading a different project, and all agreeing to put in time with the hole.

As my team gathered and started creating a design for the shade structure, I realized that I was a little rusty with my collaboration skills. As a graduate student whose time is mainly spent on solo work, working with four other artists (all highly creative and with varied points of view) in a limited time frame and with mostly found materials, presented a new set of challenges beyond the actual execution of the project. However, being able to work with Matt and Steve, a great example of what successful collaboration looks like, I like to think that, as a team, we managed the ups and downs of collaboration throughout the week as well as we could. For myself, I know that what I took away from this week extended beyond how compost water systems work and how to countersink a screw. (Although, it was exciting to learn these things.) I leave CLUI this week with a new understanding of what collaboration looks like: flexibility, an open mind, skill sharing, surrender and perhaps most importantly, a respect for each other and our ideas. - Elena Lopez

Ryan, Melodie, Jen, Elena and Matt tackling the portable shade structure, or tetra-tipi.

Test drive.

Celeste and Eugene cutting pieces for the hexa solar cooker

Jane and Jami figuring out the best way to redirect the gray water and make the system more user-friendly

Reflective-tape arrows indicating direction of flow

Jane and Nina working on the grey water feature

Grey water cascading into mulch/garden bed

Nina and Jenn installing a tension line to support grey water

irrigation line from the tower to the compost pile.

Jenn and Jami's grey water compost soaker.

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