What does Perpetual Motion, Sisyphus, and the Anti-Vaxxer Movement have in common?

My time in New Zealand is coming to its end! Already we are so close to the end of the semester and this blog,  albeit forced,  has been a learning experience in patience, creativity and keeping my mind open enough to learn.

This semester’s work is coalescing in what I feel will be a powerful project in visual public discourse.  The assignment I am introducing to you now requires that we make a public piece about an issue of social importance to myself and my partner.  I’m very excited about this!

I am happy to announce I will be working with my partner, Jing, to make a perpetual motion machine similar to the Sisyphus Machine in the video below.  But this box is not simply a toy.  It will be a powerful statement.  Using what we have learned from Mirzeoff, experts in visual communication, and our extracurricular passions thus far, Jing and I will use this machine to make a valuable point about human intervention in nature.

This blog will be regularly updated to reflect the project as well as educate people further on the subject so that we can help inform the public as to the roles of science and medicine in the world today.  Look forward to the following:

  1. We will outline how we got the idea in this blog below.
  2. Our next blog will include research on the anti-vaxxer and anti-biotic rejection movements we have today and why they may have occured.
  3. Then we will post a detailed step-by-step description of the boxes creation.
  4. Finally one last blog that will serve as our public artist statement!

Where did we get such an idea?! 
Prior to joining design school Jing was a pre-med student with an avid love of human physiology, science, and biology.  My freshman anthropology teacher was also a medicinal anthropologist and I developed from her an interest in human evolution and anthropology of medicine.  As an activist and a trans person my own healthcare is also in danger in the united states because I am on Medicaid.

So when Jing brought up the issue of anti-biotics breeding super bugs, evolution marching forward because people don’t know how it works, and scientific research always needing to be cutting edge, I immediately jumped to the rejection of these ideas in the public space; most predominantly in the anti-vaxxer and anti-biotic movements.

Jing and I wanted to illustrate the idea that science and nature tend to perpetually leap frog.  If we are to stay ahead we must always be jumping; every day pushing science higher like Sisyphus!

We talked for hours about how we would illustrate these ideas on the sides of the box similar to the Sysiphus machine.  We want to simultaneously show humans success over dangerous diseases and what losing ground in those successes means on and around the box.  So for each side we will illustrate a concept:

  1. One side we show the discovery of penicillin.
  2. On its opposite the atrocity of plague, yellow fever, and Hepatitis.
  3. We will show on the length side of our box the evolution of humans riddled with death a people fail to realize evolution is a story of bottle-necks.
  4. On the back side we will tell a story of success over the past several generations due to vaccinations antibiotics.
  5. On top of the box will be the machine and the world from the perspective of a virus or bacteria.

We hope you look forward to the development of this project and hang tight while we create it over the next few weeks!  (that’s such a short amount of time!)

See how the Sisyphus machine is built!

Work Cited:

Jason. “Sisyphus LEGO Kinetic Sculpture.” YouTube. JK Brickworks, 27 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 May 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKrHTYqm8pw&gt;.
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. How to see the world. London: Pelican, 2015. Print.
Savage, Adam. Adam Savage’s One Day Builds: LEGO Sisyphus Automata! Tested, 14 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 May 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U46Yo_6z_F4&t=1090s&gt;.

 

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3 thoughts on “What does Perpetual Motion, Sisyphus, and the Anti-Vaxxer Movement have in common?

  1. Pingback: Behind Pandora’s Box: Why Anti-Science Can’t Stop Science – A Polymath's Guide to Communities

  2. Pingback: Rome, Built in a Day: How We Made a Sisyphus Machine – A Polymath's Guide to Communities

  3. Pingback: Nevertheless She Persisted: The Cycle of Science and Nature – A Polymath's Guide to Communities

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