Making to Mongolia - In 2015, three classically trained industrial designers had a question - was there a universal language to making?
The Hop, Skip and a Jump team drove 14,000 kilometres as part of the Mongol Rally through 16 countries in search of an answer to this question.
What the Hell is a Mongol Rally?
If you're unfamiliar with the rally, think of it as a modern-day Cannonball Run. It spans across parts of Europe and Asia every summer. It's run by an organisation called The Adventurists and is essentially a choose your own adventure style journey from Goodwood (UK) to Ulan Ude (RUS) via Mongolia. Yet, aside from the first golden rule of having fun, the main aim is to raise money for charity.
The plan was simple.
None of the team spoke any languages other than English that would help along the way. Collectively the team can't read the Cyrillic alphabet, or any Chinese, Arabic or Greek characters. However, what we did offer was design thinking and doing to prompt novel conversations. Since we believed this was important - in an age where the way things are made can have dire social and environmental consequences we're searching for an alternative narrative - one which is nimble, improvisational and responsive to the place in which it happens.
The route was complex.
Crossing the border of 16 countries required an agile approach to planning and re-planning on the fly.
The machine actually made it.
Such an adventure involved acquiring the most ill fitting vehicle possible. In this case, a very sturdy Purple 1990 Nissan Micra named 'The Chuckle Bus' for unknown reasons proved to be a more than adequate steed for the journey. Aside from a small tire issue in Mongolia.
What did we learn?
That a humble act of combining English and Japanese engineering can go along way (14,000km to be exact - R.I.P Chuckle Bus), that telling an interesting story can often open previous shut doors (looking at you Turkmenistan) and producing a digital campaign on the road with very limited internet connectivity is a difficult but worthwhile enterprise (email campaigns and video blogs don't just happen) when you can raise A$8,785 funds for worthy causes.
As for the universal language to making question that was posed at the beginning, we continue to reflect on it.We never got a solid answer as yet.
Maybe when I do, that will be the end of us. Bye bye. Time for the farewell tour.
But one thing we do know for sure, life would not be as joyous had we not decided to look for it in the first place.
So here’s to that.
3D Printing Systems
Bronwen & Peter Haywood
Sarah Jane Haywood
Clare and Steve Desira