Friday, February 6, 2009


So as I sat down in 21M.733 the other day (that's MIT speak for the scenery design class I'm taking this semester), our professor was talking about the reflection essays that are due with each of our projects. With each final design we'll be required to submit a 2 page paper about the process we took in developing our project. In lieu of this, she told us that we can keep a semi-daily journal of our thoughts and ideas throughout the course of the semester. Someone asked how she preferred these journals- bound, stapled, woven together with llama wool, or whatever- and someone else blurted out "can we blog it?" She laughed and said she supposed so, and I thought...well seriously, how can I not?

So first let me address this question: why should you, as a random person who stumbled upon this page (like so many undoubtedly will) care? Because this will not be a normal blog about art. No, this will probably be a very sarcastic and bumbling blog about art. You see, I, my dear readers, am an engineer. A mechanical engineer at that. That's where the word engineer even comes from: engines. Thermodynamics, kinematics, control systems- these are the things I do. Not that I do them well, but I do them, at any rate. How did I end up in a scenery design class, of all places?

Well, all MIT undergraduates are required to take 8 semester of humanities, and create a concentration within one subject with 4 of those classes. I happen to be concentrating in Theater Arts (just filed the form this morning, in fact). Well, that might sound kind of artsy (notice the word "arts" in the title), but to date I have taken no less than 3 different acting classes. You might have gotten the impression from my writing style that as a rather loud and let's say "outgoing" personality, this was no great leap for me. People have been telling me about how dramatic I am for years. But now, in my last semester, having more or less exhausted the acting classes (which fit into my schedule around other, I apologize, more important requirements to be fulfilled before graduation in June, at least) I stumbled across 21M.733.

I'll be honest- at first I thought it would be interesting because we'd be building sets- I can wield a power drill as well as the next person, and the exact geometry needed to fulfill a certain movable compartment and the specifications of the hinges needed to hold the minimum weight are all things I can handle. But I soon discovered that we wouldn't actually be building sets- just designing them.

We'd make models- like out of foamcore. Well, okay, that's not so bad. Or drawings. Or watercolors. OK hang on a second...watercolors? I don't think so. Unless they're paint-by-numbers, this is so not happening for me. Next week a model is coming to class so we can work on gesture drawing. Um...what?

This has all the potential for disaster, hilarity, or both. I'm sticking with it, for better or for worse. Maybe I'll even learn something.

Stay tuned, it should be interesting.

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