This Patriotic Rube-Goldberg Machine Proves Creative Problem Solving Is Possible During Tumultuous Times

11.08.16 4 weeks ago

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If there’s any time our country needs to communicate with one another, it’s now. What with the impending election day results, the I’m With Her camp versus the Make America Great Again camp, and every other crazy thing going on in the news, some good old-fashioned unity seems to be in order.

Which is exactly what Jason Naumoff and AJ White, partners at the bicoastal participatory design firm New Creatures, were thinking when they devised their latest project: a Rube Goldberg machine that wrapped around the country and brought together artists, makers, and students in order to highlight issues relevant to the cities they work in.

“‘Common Ground’ was basically a collective, collaborative installation experiment that we’ve been thinking about for a couple of years,” Naumoff told us. “With the election and everything that’s going on in the country right now, it seemed like a really appropriate time to try it.”

The mechanics of the project came together fairly quickly. Naumoff and White contacted artists in five different locales around the country — Oakland, Phoenix, Atlanta, Detroit, and the state of New Hampshire. Some he’d worked with in the past; some, such as the seventeen-year-old domino artist from New Hampshire, he only knew via online presence.

One group was even composed of high school students. “No one turned us down,” Naumoff said.

Lily Hevesh

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