Thursday, June 09, 2016

Ghost Church


Some of you may recall when our Ministry of Education was headquartered in an abandoned high school on SE 12th, since gentrified and restored to active use.

A similar property, not quite as abandoned, has attracted Ministry attention in Sunnyside, right next to the school my daughter attended, and what used to be the flagship Methodist church in the area, now largely forsaken for lack of parking.  The Southeast Examiner published news of plans to make it a community center, but no details of the plan were shared.

I sent some emails around about the Code School idea (CodeCastle?), a combination of classrooms and maker spaces, a community nonprofit.  Could we set it up with Google fiber?  What partners would go in with us?  The place needs some work.  Glenn and I had a meeting with one of the proprietors and were given a tour.

By way of background, the Ministry of Education was an OPDX project, an outgrowth of Occupy Portland, which was an experiment in setting up organelles of self government under emergency conditions, such as in detention camps in the Mesopotamia area, where warlords and armed gangs have prevailed over the unarmed civilians.  

During Occupy, I was in talent scout mode, looking for teachers, designers, engineers.  Some of the logistics I saw was impressive, such as the power plant and cooking tent.  We bargained with the city for better bathroom support (the city has that responsibility, with two public restrooms already at the OPDX site, still operational and better maintained as of this writing).

Washington High School proved the logical venue for the Love Song event, informing students about the design science ethos which informs our art colonies.  Enough people have that information by now that I'm not looking for any repeat performance.

The 4D sculpture we promulgate as signature, with all those whole number volumes, is by now free and open source, accessible to anyone within the teaching profession. The Ministry has done its job well.  The rest will be relatively easy.

A Code School needs lots of server space and a way to deploy new websites to the public.  Whether the servers are geographically situated at the school is a separate question.  In this case, the place is built like a fortress and has a Spooky Castle like atmosphere... and a labyrinth!

I'd suggest the Maker Space include work stations aimed at teaching about server racks, bar code and QR code readers, 3D printers and so on. I want to learn too; I'm not claiming to know all this stuff.  I go to Code School in student mode at least as much as in teacher mode, don't we all?

PCC is already offering a non-credit course in Bitcoin.  We'll have lots of space to experiment with crypto-currencies.  I'd think making headway on this project will be a relative no-brainer compared to the Washington High School chapter, at least in some dimensions.

Another idea, not mutually exclusive, is the "interactive museum" meme.  That's not hugely different from a Maker Space if we think of work-play stations (Montessori influence) as interactive exhibits.  Pouring fluids from polyhedron to polyhedron, per our 4D sculpture, could be one of those exhibits.  Maybe OMSI could help us with the design?