Halloween Hack-a-thon!

We had our first unofficial Guild “happening” yesterday at hack.rva’s Halloween Hack-a-thon.  It was a free-form event, so nothing was structured, but I think it was good for the kids to see adults working on their various projects involving electronics, Arduino, networking, and 3D printing.  They were definitely interested in working on those kinds of projects, and it’s that kind of curiosity you can always count on from kids.

Duncan and Ollie work on paper masks as Dustin works on his Arduino LED project.

Duncan and Ollie work on paper masks as Dustin works on his Arduino LED project.

I had the most basic of electronics for the kids: LED + coin cell battery + 3D printed battery holder, so they could add light to simple paper sculptures, tiny haunted houses and translucent ghosts.  The idea was to get them interested in what they can achieve with simple, basic materials.

Miniature haunted houses and ghost.  Simple structures lit with LEDs and coin cell batteries.

Miniature haunted houses and ghost. Simple structures lit with LEDs and coin cell batteries.

We also made paper Dia de los Muertos masks, and I was pleased that the kids selected the masks they could decorate themselves rather than the pre-colored ones that were also available.  I’m impressed with their design sensibilities.

Alyssa's delicately designed mask.  I love the stripes and the subtle color palette.

Alyssa’s delicately designed mask. I love the stripes and the subtle color palette.

 

Ollie and Duncan with their masks.

Ollie and Duncan with their masks.

We had some silent films, Nosferatu (1922) and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), projected in the background for added spookiness, and the kids were intrigued.  More proof that simple exposure is the best (and easiest) way to introduce kids to all sorts of things.   Lots of discussion from the adults about the films, too, especially how effective the German Expressionist aesthetic in Caligari is for creating a true sense of dread and claustrophobia.  Also, an interesting discussion regarding the authenticity inherent in classic films.  (They’re “classics” for a reason!)  For example, the original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) features actual differential equations drafted on a chalkboard while the remake (2008) does not.  This seems like a good analogy for what I’m hopping we can accomplish with RVA Maker Guild–a sense of veracity and integrity in what you do, whatever that is.  Simply put, details matter.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ceclements/tags/halloweenhack2013/

Hack.rva project blog with project links: http://hackrvamakes.blogspot.com/2013/10/halloween-hackathon-2013.html

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