Thursday, 1 November 2012

weird science do do, OOOO do do do do do

we join our heroine as she tries to force herself to do something.

In August I wrote a post about how I was depressed and struggling to do anything interesting any more. Then I had a sudden burst of creativity and then stopped again. then I went on pills and nothing happened for two months.

Last night I went to the Manchester Geek Girl dinner at Kro as part of Manchester Science Festival. Recently (for ages) I have had the urge to add something different and new to my practice, make things move or light up or something. I haven’t the faintest idea where to begin so I’m just going to every workshop going and gazing vacantly at the Maplin website in my spare time. It was a nice evening and I felt properly humbled at the number of superclever, interesting women doing their science in Manchester. I felt inspired and terrified because they are neuroscientists and engineers and chemists and mathematicians, and I fart about with crochet hooks and still can’t do long division.

The first part of the evening was a talk by Ashley Kent, manager of the Cheltenham Science Festival and science communicator. Her job is to get people all fired up. It worked. The Q&A afterwards was full of genuine clever people asking genuine, clever questions, and being interested in the answers rather than trying to impress their drunk mates with stupid shit (I hate Q&As). A lot of it seemed to centre around accessibility and provision of science for women and girls. It’s a problem, said Ashley. There just aren’t that many women in science yet. She deliberately goes after women to take part in her festival, which struck me as a bit of a Mitt Romney way of going about it, but the difference here is that she is trying to get MORE women involved. I suppose we are more inclined to do things if we see that it IS for people like us, and not just ‘a load of stuffy men in lab coats who don’t like women’ (I’m paraphrasing, I wrote down ‘@ashleykent’ and then stopped writing notes almost instantly). Similarly when she said that she didn’t mind science kits for little girls being pink and sparkly and princessy, because she was happy if ANYTHING got them involved, I thought NO but then hang on. It’s shit that little girls are conditioned to only like pink and glitter, yeah yeah but they ARE, and I guess we may as well use it as a tool if we have to. It’s not their fault. They’re only little.

Now anyway this is interesting to me because where I come from is CRAFT, which is of course a GIRL’S game, and not many boys want to do sewing and knitting and stuff. We all know this. It’s only been one or two generations since that was pretty much the RULE, though. Girls weren’t supposed to do science and boys weren’t supposed to do crafts. It doesn’t mean that one is instrinsically better than the other or anything. It might just take a while for things to spread out more evenly, but that’s okay. When I started going to knit club there were two boys there, and one of them is a scientist as well so there you go. EQUALITY

Anyway I just wanted to write something about science and art, like. That old turnip. I am an artist. When I was at uni I wrote my dissertation on digital art, but I don't think I called it that at the time. The internet was quite new to me at the time (it was 2003, but I am a bit backward – I felt like a big dumbo tweeting from the science gig by text from my stupidphone) and I wrote things like ‘Ebay is a website which you can AUCTION your stuff and people will BUY it off you and they don’t even have to live near you!!’ although hopefully in better English. I was probably still calling it ‘the information super-highway’. I just thought it was fantastic how people could use this new (no Helen) crazy network to make and share work and you didn’t even have to leave the house or talk to anyone at all!! (I think that was the main draw). Why didn’t I learn to code or something then? Probably because I am an idiot and have no idea what is happening ever.

So to sum up I have got excited but still not done anything. Well that’s not true. I went a workshop at Madlab and made a robot with a motor and googly eyes and a pipe-cleaner, but the wire that I painstakingly soldered on fell off after ten mins and I couldn’t get it back in the hole because I’d filled it with glue by accident.

It doesn't do anything.

Maddern's one is called Bruce Willis.

There is no end to this ramble. I’m stopping it here now because I am sick of it now and have a headache.

Bye x

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