09/03/2021 – My Front Yard in Portland, OR
This afternoon was in the low 80s, although it felt cooler with a light breeze. The sun was bright and the skies were clear.
Focus & Intent
This BCI session explored the vast number of different systems I could observe from my natural spot and how I might apply these system operations in a design.
For this third BCI session, I moved to my front yard that consists of a small lawn, garden beds, and a cactus rock garden. The late afternoon sun warmed my face and illuminated the insides of my eyelids. The most prevalent sounds this time were birds calling to one another. One bird would make three quick sounds in a row and then a different bird would call back with one single note. This call and response started again every 45 seconds or so. Little swells in wind rushed by, flies buzzed around my head, and a rhythmic thumping sound persisted in the distance. Sounds felt both near and far, while before everything seemed to happen at a distance. I noticed myself clenching my jaw and holding physical tension as I hadn’t yet decompressed from my work day.
Opening my eyes, I felt overwhelmed by how many systems I noticed. I contemplated the colorful river stones that cover half my front yard and thought about the natural processes that created the stone in the first place, and then their journey through rivers, getting smooth and round, all the way to a human swooping in and collecting them for resale to be placed in this odd little cactus garden in the Pacific Northwest likely far from their origins. I saw the plants all around me and thought of photosynthesis, pollinators, biodynamic soil systems, and the life cycle phases, especially those less familiar to me like that of the cacti that I’ve learned about through observation in this first year in my house. I noticed the blossom-end rot on a tomato and thought about how I impacted that growing system by likely not keeping the soil at a consistent moisture level. I appreciated being at the perfect temperature and related that back to the process of homeostasis. I looked up at the trees and thought about the water being drawn up through capillary action and their slow but steady growth. The garden boxes in front of me represented a continuation of systems related to the processing of a tree into lumbar for human use.
These system operations could be applied to a design where sun is used as the primary energy source, or automated systems can self regulate their internal temperature based on inputs from their surrounding environment (could be particularly helpful for cell phones). The regenerative cycles of plants would be amazing to see in a design where a part that wears down could be fed back into the product and used to come back as new (maybe a recycling feature built into a 3D printer to re-melt parts and create new filament). The self-defense mechanisms of the cacti could be incorporated into protective designs.