Category: Future


Several years ago I took an art course in creating memory boxes in the Joseph Cornell style. I was lucky to be able to attend a Cornell exhibit in Washington DC around the same time. His work in using found objects to create vibrant memories and metaphors still intrigues me today. Check out this unique website that captures his life and art in a metaphorical box.

During week 3 of the #edcmooc class, I was trying to think about what image I would put up on Flickr. I always have many images and metaphors floating around that make me think of learning and networking, but I was stuck on the future images and metaphors that I saw in weeks 1 and 2. They seemed so harsh and hard – the machine – the robot – the borg of the future. I may have missed it but I did not see the tremendously exciting future that may come into being with the marriage of biology and computing where the results are more natural – green – growing – connecting like neural networks or trees and vines. And that reminded me of my future memory box – it has no real name but I think of it as the future urban city where plants and machines are interconnected. When I created it, I tore apart an old computer and intertwined it with the beauty of growing plant life and the mysteries of the universe. It is interactive in that there is a transparent gate to the city and the metal hand that moves around the box to welcome and perhaps confound visitors when compared with the funky green hands that represent humanity in the city. In the picture below, the gate is down and the path is open for all to enter.

I have found new meaning in my nameless box. But now I want to pull out all my found objects  (the flotsam and junk of an urban society) and create new boxes  based on what I have been experiencing in #edcmooc. That will not happen before the class is over – I need time to process and touch and move and group the found objects into whatever comes out of  my experiences. But what fun to relive the #edcmooc experience and learn what I missed as I create new future memories.

Future Memory Box

Future Memory Box

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Looking forward to new adventures

I never thought I would say this, but I’m looking forward to the end of my government career.   I’ve discovered so many possibilities and new adventures available in the world today that it will be easy to leave in four years. I have loved my time with government.    I’ve been very lucky to work with or meet with really smart people who were trying to solve problems every bureaucratic organization faces. Not everything was rosy but on the whole I felt that each day was a new adventure and I was able to grow and learn from those around me. But I no longer feel that way as I continue to see the same types of problems reassert themselves and the solutions seem to be variations of those tried in the past with limited or no success. I was hoping to share my knowledge/lessons learned in the last years of my career but even that seems limited. I’m available as always but many in my office would rather try it their own way without recourse to lessons learned. And perhaps that is okay with new points of view potentially bringing new lessons that will lead to solutions. I certainly hope so since this is important work.  But it makes it easier to leave old pastures for new vistas.

So what adventures am I looking forward to most in 2016 when I retire?  The world is changing so fast that it is sometimes hard to imagine what might be possible in just four years.  But I am hoping to do more with my artwork.  I love doing mixed media pictures like “Funky Junk”  and junk sculptures like “Blue Birdie” (see pictures below).  I don’t know if they are very good, but I get a lot of pleasure out of creating something fun and unique.  I also want to write about things that inspire me or that I find funny. I don’t intend to write books but I would like to blog more.

But there are so many other adventures that I want to participate in. I’d like to be involved in some way in the new massive open online courses perhaps as a coach or teaching assistant. There are amazing communities growing up around these courses and opportunities to grow and learn and share. I started attending online courses at Coursera in August. I’m writing other posts about these experiences but it’s definitely a new adventure. I’m also thinking about volunteering for the Smithsonian – I love these museums and perhaps I can give some time to help them continue to grow. And I want to continue my quest for better health. I’m not going to set a goal for running a marathon but I’d love to gain the strength to do so if I wanted. And I’m inspired by what Team Rubicon is doing to help others using the skills they acquired in the military. I don’t have the strength to help in the same way, but perhaps there are other ways to help those in need. With all these possibilities and more I’m looking forward to starting new adventures.

Synchronized Breathing Final Framed Cropped 0102012020A        Blue Birdie Classic

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