We (Karen, Mike, and Luigi) explored cause and effect today as we started a two-day build of a metaphorical chain reaction. Using Bruno Munari's drawings as inspiration (including his drawing of a machine for sniffing artificial flowers), we organized the work tables into a snake-like chain for the group to build their metaphorical machines. Ultimately, these will be linked together and set off as the finale of the workshop.
Getting ideas from past projects, a few new building materials, and a variety of evocative objects that we revealed especially for this activity, the monks jumped right in and started designing and building. There is little hesitation with this group as they each gathered a wide variety of materials and carried out a series of rapid prototypes - making observations, and discussing each of these with their partners.
Ultimately, ideas began to form, and challenges emerged that seemed too compelling to ignore. Each pair of monks made good progress in the short two and a half hour session, and it was difficult to get them to take a tea break (and we were quite late for lunch).
The ownership of ideas seems strong with this group, but, the ownership of the artifacts created during previous activities seems less important. Past project contraptions (like the automata, and Mylar Reflection machines) have been quickly incorporated into this final activity. Often, the machines from past activities are dismantled in order to utilize a cam, linkage, or machine system in their current projects. We were a bit surprised when we learned that they were taking apart machines that were not theirs to begin with, and when we asked the monks if this was OK, they looked at us with a sly smile and said "of course". There seems to be little need for them to own the artifacts of their learning, and as one mentioned "we carry our thinking and ideas with us much easier than our contraptions".