The Elusive Final-Final


In a meeting yesterday with a couple of collaborators, I realized (again) that I have been over-iterating these Near Future Laboratory projects. I make small changes given any reasonable or ridiculous excuse to do so. The iterations and re-workings and editions and variations expresses themselves in all kinds of peculiar ways. For example, this thing here — a small bugaboo in the latest circuit for the Flavonoid board. I’s not a show-stopper. I can fix it in 47 seconds with an X-Acto and 5 millimeters of 30 gauge, but the first thing I do is start a new schematic with the expectation that the next run of boards will have the next version of this design. I mean..when’s enough enough? Part of this has to do with a wide-eyed fascination with the process of making things and refining them and learning along the way. I don’t think it’s about finding perfection for this or that project, but about finding ways to understand and experience the process of making things so that there is more to say about what goes into expressing ideas through artefacts. When I “finish” a batch, it feels satisfying and a bit deflating at the same time. Is that it? A bit like writing about an idea or expressing some sort of social theory through words or writing a little sci-fi novella. What do you do when you finish the draft? I guess you go back over it and polish. Send a few copies off to trusted “gentle readers” for discussion and comment. Sometimes the draft gets hidden away in the attic and forgotten. My dissertation hid away for about 10 years when I literally forgot about it. I’d only find it when I moved to a new home maybe once every two or three years! It’s a bit reassuring to see some similarities in the process of creating artefacts that also hopefully tell stories, like writing about ideas for the imagination. Having something — a thing/object/artefact — that activates the imagination can hopefully be as powerful. Of course, the storyteller has to be a bit magical with their words as well. Therein is the real scary challenge.