“With one group of students, the teacher provided strong “scaffolding” — instructional support — and feedback. With the teacher’s help, these pupils were able to find the answers to their set of problems. Meanwhile, a second group was directed to solve the same problems by collaborating with one another, absent any prompts from their instructor. These students weren’t able to complete the problems correctly. But in the course of trying to do so, they generated a lot of ideas about the nature of the problems and about what potential solutions would look like. And when the two groups were tested on what they’d learned, the second group “significantly outperformed” the first.”—
Why Floundering Is Good
Trying to figure something out on your own before getting help actually produces better results than having guidance from the beginning
Horizon/ grey gum/ wombat/ mossy rock/ sandy shore/ echo chamber/ ampitheatre/ canopy/ bull in field / dirt track/ mud under foot/ squelchy boot/ early morning/ dark dinner/ windy road/ front gate/ neighbour’s fence/ signpost/ bitumen road/ dotted line/ speed limit/ traffic/ roadhouse/ roadtrain/ cow on truck/ advertisement/ portaloo/ paid lunch/ smooth ride/ counting down/ highway patrol/ airport/ sky road/ headlight/ lights ahead/ fast food suburb/ highway’s end/ defined block/ street map/ sprawling grid/ adjoining house /red light/ neon/ shop front/ immediacy/ mass/ choice/ train/ tram/ bike/ cab/ car/ horn honking at the out-of-towner (“I’m sorry but I’ve been in paradise for a week and it’s taking me a little while to adjust back to this reality we have built”)/ last turn/ crowded street/ cement carpark/ empty house/ home.
There is a strange sensation that comes about with something like this, a ‘creative development’.
I feel like it should be called an ‘emotional development’, or I should tell people I’m embarking on a week of ‘emotional creativity’!
I find myself connecting with a bull in the field, or being moved by a joey playing with her mother, or the yellow leaf that sticks to the top of my shoe with the autumn dew. Eager to connect, I hone my listening skills and get lost in the stories, skills and conversations of the people around me, and yet I notice I am also retreating further and further into myself; a communal hibernation. Reaching out and reaching in.
My task was to brush up on bridges. I learnt a thing or two about dead loads and forces, arches and suspension and the pros and cons of iron v steel.
But while I can appreciate architecture for its beauty, I am unwilling to invest in learning about it as a science, or mathematical equation, or to study the specific way you construct these magic stepping stones. For me, it is not its engineering that is of most interest, but the energy it generates when it is in place. What is a bridge? Just an overpass? What is it about bridges that have captured people’s imaginations and defined cities throughout the ages? Such pride comes from a bridge! They are an example of functionality and art combining to create a piece of infrastructure that can be more than just a road over water, but can enhance the environment in which it is transgressing. Creativity meeting Practicality. Aesthetic meeting Efficiency. A bridge is already a bridge.
The always reliable Dictionary.com page says that a bridge is two things :
1. a structure spanning and providing passage over a river, chasm, road, or the like.
2. a connecting, transitional, or intermediate route or phase between two adjacent elements, activities, conditions, or the like:
A structure and a route. Stability and journey. You cross a bridge, you bridge the gap. It represents division and also unity. I live on the other side of the bridge to you/ I will meet you on the bridge.
Its mystique comes in its impossibility. How is it possible to build it, cross it, reach the other side without it falling apart?
The structure itself symbolises all these things for us too. How can I do the things I want to, get to the place I want to be; what if I fall in a heap along the way?
Through reading books on bridges I learned one thing tonight: it is a slow process, this bridge building. It takes time and effort to get to the other side. Whether it be by wood or cement or stone, there are factors that come into play – external and internal – that will define the kind of bridge you build, the kind of life you make. It unfolds stone by stone, plank by plank, step by step.
I think it would be rad if we gave people the chance to take the time they need to start building and crossing their own bridge, one dance move at a time.
it was the first work day for us who arrived at bundanon for week 2 of this creative development. and it was good.
we were presented with sketches of where the guys were up to. and it was good.
we had our thoughts and feedback. we had our questions. and everything was open for discussion. and it was good.
it’s 11:11pm as i type this exact line, and amazed as i am at this moment of cosmic timeliness, i am also quite exhausted, in a most fulfilling way. today has indeed, been a good day. there is an an ease in the way we work together. one found, quite entirely naturally, and immediately. there is a shared curiosity and excitement towards this project. there is a quietly understood respect for our individual work. and there is a genuine interest in each person. this is a working relationship most desired isn’t it?
my guess is, because there aren’t really rules here.
or rather, the rules are not conventional, and definitely not familiar. more so, it’s that the rules can, and will change.
at the end of today, i find myself leaning towards the stream, extremely curious about the yarra, and rivers in general. in singapore, what used to be rivers are now concrete structures that are really for the purpose of drainage. many rivers have been “re-configured” in the process of urbanisation, going underground, and becoming invisible, and almost “non-existent.” and yet, for some of these places, there is a flow of energy where water run, i am almost adamant of this. and so roads are built in congruence with that flow, giving direction to the way we travel. or not?
what is the purpose of a river in an urbanised city, i ask again.
i suspect i will need more reading to help the mulling of this question. and that is good.
What do you get when you combine a a farm, lack of shoes, and two seemingly mischievous schoolboys? Some kind of bizarro Max and Andrew Radio Program!. Although originally intended to have little to no mass market appeal, is posted here for your listening pleasure. I think this may have been what those two old dudes from the Muppets sounded like when they were younger! Enjoy…
I tend to live my life a little haphazardly. Project to project, I make my route up as I go; dots on a page, or bends in the river. I’m not into planning every minute detail of my life, listing goals and scheduling a time for them to be achieved. I often book flights a few days before I take off, which is expensive, but knowing what I’m doing at 8.50 on Saturday morning six months in advance scares the hell out of me. I work hard and live large in the day that I am in, without regard for the hangover the next morning or the world that I didn’t get to see in that day. I will work through that hangover, I will see some more of the world tomorrow. This is a lifestyle that is not ideal for those in our society who have stable jobs that require a regular routine.
But then, I’m an artist…
Three weeks ago The Shore / The Boat / The Stream / The Bridge was a show I wanted to see and a launch party I wanted to go to. Now I’m two days away from launching myself head first into the project, taking on a performative and an administrative role. The show is being born as I type. A crew of inquisitive artistic folk are munching on questions and digesting possibilities. The show has, as it’s priority, one of my favourite things in the world: a curiosity for the world we live in. It asks us to reevaluate our place, here in Melbourne, our home or adopted city: how do we live here? Do we build bridges, do we cruise playfully downstream, do we stay on the shore? What compels us to cross, what keeps us firmly on one side? And, what does the person sitting next to you in the boat (the tram, the train, the office cubicle, the café table) think about all this? If my view is only my own, what can I gain from listening to my fellow passenger along the way?
theSBSB is drifting gently along at the moment in Bundanon, charting its path as it goes and exploring all possibilities before steering it back home to Melbourne. I can’t wait to jump on board!
In a world where we all want something, but don’t always know how to get it you’ll have the chance to see the world from four perspectives - The Stream / The Boat / The Shore / The Bridge - and add your thoughts, your voice and your hands to the action. Sometimes connected, sometimes divided, you’ll have some questions to answer and decisions to make.
Water flows through the city. Where did it come from? Where will it go? Will you go with the flow?
Dates: 19 – 27 May 2012 on the hour between 11-2 and 3-5 (no performances Tues 22 May) / Duration: 75 minutes Ticket prices: $25 Full / $20 Concession (+$2.50 booking fee) Bookings are essential:www.nextwave.org.au Meeting point: Southbank Wharf, next to Southbank Pedestrian Bridge For more info: www.theSBSB.com / Twitter:@theSBSB
Please note this is an outdoor event - please dress appropriately for the weather.
“Olsen (2009), in his book ‘Don’t Be Such A Scientist: Talking substance in an age of style’, tells us that there are ‘layers’ of communication, rather like a pyramid. A the top of the pyramid is the ‘mind’, which is arguably where most scientists and policy makers spend most of their time. They communicate learnedly with each other in a careful, heavily footnoted style. The next layer down is the ‘heart’: the locus of love. The third layer is the ‘gut’: the locus of fear.”—Leith Boully & Karlene Maywald, Basin Futures: Water Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin, 2011
Firstly, in April we have our final creative development.Bundanon Trust has accepted our submission to work for two weeks on the former property of Arthur Boyd near Nowra, NSW. We have to get there, feed ourselves and take some materials to play with.
Finally, in May we have the premiere season. Again, this is currently un-funded and by this stage we will have each put hundreds of un-billed hours into the project. We’ll need a bit of cash to get our hands on things we can’t make, borrow or scavenge from a skip.
Here’s an indication of what we need the cash for…
Water safety gear like life jackets, marine lights and a horn
Fabric & materials to construct props and complete the site design
Permits and licences to legally use the sites and allow people to participate in the activities
A boat to row our punters across the Yarra
The $2,500 we are looking to raise won’t actually cover all our costs, but it will be a significant contribution to the realisation of all our work. Sure, we are keen to see our project come to fruition because we’ve put plenty of our time, effort and personal resources, but mostly we want to share the experience with audiences - your support transforms private exploration into public participation.
Keep visiting www.theSBSB.com for further info about what we’re up to. Or, contact Dan or Lauren directly on dan@theSBSB.com & lauren@theSBSB.com to discuss our plans in detail. Otherwise, check out the rewards on offer and join theSBSB crew!
I’ve been doing a lot of research over summer. It’s nerd work, but time consuming enough that it won’t be possible later on - I feel like it’s all laying a good ground work for our upcoming creative developments too.
Late last year LC and I went on the Walkin’ Birrarung walking tour run by the Koorie Heritage Trust. It starts at Enterprise Wharf (now next to the Melbourne Aquarium) and takes you along both banks up to nearly the Southgate Pedestrian Bridge. It was one of those occasions as that I came up short - again and again - unable to answer some of the elementary facts about the place where I grew up. The tour gave another overlay (probably actually an underlay) to places that I so often see and walk on. Tullamarine/Tullamareena’s story shocked me the most. A terrific tour - a must do.
Coming from a natural history perspective Presland outlines the regions development over time, from geological events, evolution of animals and plant life, to human usage (both indigenous and colonial) and illustrates the reasons why the city of Melbourne we see has developed the way it has.
Particularly relevant chapters for us include in depth writing on the stream systems of the Maribyrnong and Yarra and their tributaries. Basically, the Yarra as we know it today has been modified and “improved”, to use the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works lingo, from Dight’s Falls in Collingwood all the way to the bay. Occasional streams, such as the William’s Creek or “Townend River” flowed from where Melbourne University now sits, down Bouverie St, Elizabeth St and into the Yarra.
Contemporary freeways follow the valleys and stream paths of Yarra tributaries Gardiners and Koonung Creeks and Maribyrnong tributary Moonie Ponds Creek.
But, most important of all to the colonisation of the area was the rock ledge that ran from about Queen St across the Yarra, which incidentally accidentally gave name to the Yarra as we now know it. The falls separated fresh water from upstream, from the salt water downstream, making the ideal site for the new colony. In several ways, the site of beginnings and ends.
Next on the research list is Of Borders and Thresholds: Theatre History, Practice and Theory edited by Michal Kobialka (thanks to Jana Perkovic), reading up on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (and perhaps attending a community consultation), Judith Brett’s Quarterly Essay Fair Share: County and City in Australia and even a bit of creative development to make some of these hieroglyphs come alive…