Vox Pop

Development — Software, Personal, or Otherwise

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Introducing Huxley

Tomorrow's Past Futures, in Lego.

"Finding Huxley" is an reoccurring segment I hope to do on Vox Pop Design. It will examine today through past science fiction's depiction of the future. It is an evaluation of tropes through physical (but minified and Lego-ized) space. Its deliciously messy (as one's imagination often is). And that's OK. As professor and media expert Jeff Jarvis says:

"If we don't imagine many futures, we can't build any." Jeff Jarvis

If you've read the interview I did with API2Cart, you might have caught that I enjoy building with Lego. As I stated there:

"Attempting to recreate form and function is a wonderful way to understand the stories behind our everyday spaces."

During a previous job I would often use the stairwell. Traversing that multiple times per day resulted in questions on how that unadorned, dark, and rather drab yet functional space related the perceived environmental health.

I believe in learning through doing. But I'm not likely to build a stairwell for a multi-story office complex. I loved playing with Lego as a kid. However, like many, I set it aside as I grew older. It wasn't until I had kids of my own that I began to pick up the odd bits and pieces. So I started working through the spacial relations in Lego. The stairwell lead to a building, and the building lead to a Lego City: Huxley.

Where Orwell feared the crushing fist of a totalitarian regime, Aldous Huxley, in Brave New World, presented the dangers of the velvet glove. The book describes cultures lulled into such comfort and security that they ceased caring about basic injustices committed in their name. Naming the city "Huxley" seemed appropriate. I find building cathartic. Noodling with plastic bricks in the name of "comprehending" how we might solve the world's problems is much easier than solving them outright (but perhaps just as expensive).

"World building can be extremely cathartic, especially when you can stop villains/evils that you are helpless against in real life." from Twitter


Huxley has gone through many revisions.

Huxley in early 2015
Huxley in mid 2015

While the fake city was growing at a rapid clip, I had to relocate to a different real city. The Lego buildings didn't survive unscathed.

Huxley, September 2015

With much of Huxley (literally) in pieces, I began rebuilding with a critical eye to building more realistic facades, front and back —

Rear enterances.

— the application of light —

Lighted system of backlighting for effect.

— and the usage of color, going from the stereotypical grays of the mind's eye to the full spectrum of a street's frame.

Lighted system of backlighting for effect.

The result is more. It is not about more building, but more understanding of the spaces I traverse.

Lighted system of backlighting for effect.

More to come. If you'd like to follow along, I've post regular updates to various sites: