Making Meaning Matter

The Evergreen State College

Author: bendev16

CST :)

“She peered through the window before she went around to the door, the journalist in her wanting to fix an image of the moment in her mind before she moved in and disturbed it. That was the problem with being a reporter — everything changed the instant you started reporting on it. By now, there wasn’t a person alive who didn’t know what it means to be in the presence of a reporter. She was a roving Panopticon.” (Doctorow 414)

  • After Malfouris texts and a personal history of trying to bring my imagination into painting and attempting to express the inexpressible through poetry has me pondering symbolism. Yes clearly symbols are important for pushing the envelope of culture, language, and creativity, but do we take them far too serious? Ultimately symbols evolved for wild or creative expression but it seems like the modern age has become shackled to our own convention and calculation of word reckoning. Which is kinda odd for we all know intuitively existence is ineffably mysterious and our cosmos is far stranger, experiential, and magical than we can ever suppose, so why do we than insist on fitting the fluidity of realty into the pigeon holes of language? Why cant we just be? For to live and to just be is a plenum joy, but instead we have culturally conditioned embedded symbols in which kinda take away from the immediacy of our own consciousness and direct experience, so is it that we fear what will realize if we cease to cling to thought, time and words.

(Iteration #4 Devin Bender)

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CST/11/30/14/Devin Bender

After the readings from this week and my observations from field work a couple themes that seem to be recurring in my psyche is one the notion that during this week everybody’s levels of attention and intention were raised due to the holidays nearing along with our deadlines. The other is of how art and the youths passion towards it will revolutionize and is revolutionizing modern culture, for it is taking us beyond a world of ideological strife, cultural concepts, egoism, and materialist marginalizing science, and making way for a new world of imagination, play, adventure, and a vitalized biosphere.

Image Iteration-Devin B


“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.” (Watts, 15)



My question still remains how can I be a figure that helps connect people back with the sea, basic elements, and the unitive light of nature, while spreading the thrill of the art of surf as well as the understanding that it is such an aesthetic/energetic delight at the same time? This shall be achieved by modeling and creating my own 3d printed biodegradable surfboard fins, which will allow me to give back and become deeper further into the global surfing community and lead a life forever connected to the water.


Fins have revolutionized surfing for over  50 years now, and theses images following in my humble opinion are the optimum fin shape and are very close to the perfect fin that I keep seeing in my imagination.  They should give you at least some understanding as to the certain style of fin I’m trying to master.



This set up is a set of whats called thruster fins, they have always been what I preferred and equipped on a fairly small board.

By the way its dolphins who are the real geniuses of waves.



Another gorgeous reactor fin by Kelly Slaters FCS company.


Photo on 11-17-14 at 5.26 PM

This is my latest prototype, it turned out rather swell but I still have yet to create a design that to me is ideal and that I can trust is brilliant.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.19.31 PM

A more recent design I’m experimenting with shaped more so like a dolphin fin rather than the classic thruster/reactor style Ive loved since a kid.


Photo on 11-17-14 at 5.03 PM

This shape is intended for a wide range of conditions from beach breaks to point breaks.

A new beginning...

New beginnings…


Works Cited:

Watts, Alan. The Joyous Cosmology; Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness. New York: Pantheon, 1962. N. pag. Print.





CST/11/17/14/Devin B

“…(T)he primacy of the inherent bodily orientation in the mapping…. (T)he primacy of bodily experience in the structuring of human conceptual processes.” Malafouris p.64


This quote and Malafouris in general interests me because one I have always been interested in non-dualistic theories of consciousness and cognition. This past week I made my observations sheerly from a non-dual perspective. Malfouris theory makes me wonder if thought is nothing other than past/future, feedback loops of sensory data and other information. Or what about imagination? Im hoping Malfouris will begin to discuss the imagination and visionary experiential spaces will all encounter interiorly. Its one of the most magical aspects of our humanness and we have yet to understand it, and maybe we can’t and its beyond theorization never to be localized only subjectively experienced and explored. Has western culture placed to much of an emphasis on thinking, time, self, and symbols? Not saying there not useful but time is an abstract concept and our symbols are static and rather arbitrary when it comes to trying to fathom the flux mysterium tremendum which has just created a quaking mess, because everybody has been conditioned to play roles and act, forgetting that every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique immeasurable action of the total universe.

CST, Devin Bender, 11/9/14

“But it would be very difficult to draw the boundary between the internal and the external parts of the cognitive system involved, even if one were able to locate precisely where these cognitive processes were enacted.” (Malafouris 71)

This quote seemed very fitting to me well for one because our class is working with technologies that have a good way of blending imagination and the material. Using these technologies you can really see that the inner and outer go together perhaps in ways that are just to complex and works at such an implicit level you can’t really put words on it. I feel like history has been like some metamorphosis for our species, thats leading us to a tip of the ice burg like next stage in evolution. So it will be interesting to continue to see how our collective imagination and the material become more and more blurred and fantastic.

Surfing Finnegan’s Wake-Devin Bender

“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came”. (JFK, 1956,

My question which is how can I be a figure that helps connect people back with the sea, basic elements, and the unitive light of nature, while spread the thrill of the art of surf while helping spread the understanding that it is such an aesthetic/energetic delight at the same time? My idea that Im going to stick with is various surfboard fins. It seems like such a novel idea to me for I’ve always enjoyed the imagination catalyzing, humbling, enlightening, and nerve tickling experience of being in the sea. For my imaging I have done a lot of sketching and researching especially old childhood heroes to try and create a fin design thats a blend of all of there favorite styles. I’ve also found inspiration from orcas mostly, if you look at there fins I’m sure you would agree as well that nature provided them with a top notch fin technology. Great Whites surely impressed me as well but I find myself as of late favoring the classic orca design. Each fin I print will also be hand painted by me, either with an abstraction of colors and patterns or a simple timeless symbol such as the aesthetic symbol such as the “Enso”, or maybe even e=mc2 or James Maxwells wave equations.  Fins may not save the earth or be a cosmic secret unlocking invention but they do have great meaning to me for its always been an activity in which I come back with answers I hadn’t even thought of asking before paddling out. One of my best memories was of a night camping out in Northern California when me and my friend tried to surf under the stars and moon, we were rather unsuccessful but there were moments the water was so still you could see the stars above reflecting perfectly twinkling above and off the water. It truly was enchanting to me and my friend Shanelle. As we sat just purely observing what was, I couldn’t help but be overcome by feelings of selfless joy and wholeness it was like I could totally sense the unknown and unspeakable and was almost overwhelmed by feelings of more implicit levels of reality and I remember thinking the universe or multiverse whatever it is must be a cosmic joke for something to be as perfect as those instances were. Im oh so grateful for these kinda memories I just wish it was easier to explain and stay in that optimally clear timeless and aesthetic voyager like consciousness all the time not just when Im way out in wilderness.  This idea is meaningful to me for I’ve had this weird enchantment towards the sea and force of nature since I was young that only seems to expand the more I grow and learn. Every time Im in the ocean its like I have cosmic consciousness it truly feels like planetary magic to me.  These absolutely enlightening moments I’ve experienced out in the natural world not only are the best of my young life but they also left me with a tremendous passion to really push the environmental activist envelope and do whatever it takes to stop all the biospheric harm and rubbish our collective habits, un-mindful technological use, and industrial growth have caused. This project also has meaning to me for it gives me a chance to give back to all the surfing, wilderness, and aesthetic junkies out there by creating an eco friendly custom surfboard fin designs that people could actually learn to print for themselves. The idea of a fin and the sea overall intrigues my intellect in various different ways, well for one thats basically where planetary creation began for all organisms were all made up of those essential elements so clearly thats why some of us have a great longing to keep returning back to from where we once came. It also intrigues my intellect because throughout history the ocean has had such an archetypal effect in some of the worlds greatest works and thinkers. Everybody from painters to poets “You are not just a drop in the ocean, you are the mighty ocean in the drop”.(”) To historical texts such as the Bhagavad Ghita in which the infinite is basically described as like a unified field or multiverse an abyss or dreaming cosmos or sea of energetic potentiality in which universes are forever bubbling, expanding, unfolding and enfolding out of so various simultaneous realities can evolve allowing for anything and everything to happen. Theres many other greats too inspired by the sea like Shakespeare, Richard Feynman, Aldous Huxley, Herman Melville, James Joyce,  and Terence Mckenna who in this example I think uses the ocean as a marvelous metaphor for receiving ideas, “The creative act is a letting down of the net of human imagination into the ocean of chaos on which we are suspended, and the attempt to bring out of it ideas. It is the night sea journey, the lone fisherman on a tropical sea with his nets, and you let these nets down – sometimes, something tears through them that leaves them in shreds and you just row for shore, and put your head under your bed and pray. At other times what slips through are the minutiae, the minnows of this ichthyological metaphor of idea chasing.But, sometimes, you can actually bring home something that is food, food for the human community that we can sustain ourselves on and go forward.”(, Plant, Planet). The list could go on endlessly but its clear that the sea effects our collective unconsciousness, perhaps because its so essential to life and evolution or perhaps because it makes us ponder mystery and the subtler levels of reality. Or maybe it just purely reminds us of our universe and deep down thats what we are so perhaps thats why the chaotic sea is such recurring theme in past literature and artwork.

Now the slight problem that arises with my project, is that there really is no market yet for 3d printed surfboard fins, so I don’t really have a large spectrum of figures I can reference from and see who they are in conversation with. Which is fine for on top of learning from the dimensions of an orca fin, I’ve been studying some of my favorite childhood surfers to understand the different specks and styles of fins they most enjoyed, with the aim to create one of my own which is a result from all of there various insights from years of intense surf. The surfers I am looking to for inspiration are Larry Bertlemann who basically was a aesthetic god in the water and was apart of surfs golden years throughout the 60s and Kelly Slater who’s like a modern Jedi practically. Ive read basically any material those two have written (Pipe Dreams, Kelly Slater, 03) and they have influenced my imagination greatly just by understanding how they feel in the sea, there both such sensitive,attentive, and sharp reactive people so they make me want to create a fin with just enough flex so the rider has to stay low and there center of gravity is low so than they can really feel the fin flex and give the water attention as you turn.  The more I study and discover the more I’m beginning to feel confident that I’m designing a novel fin technology and developing my own style along the way.

, Plant, Planet

(Pipe Dreams, Kelly Slater, 2003)


CST, 1/2/14, Devin B

“We don’t care about what you did yesterday-we care about what your going to do tomorrow.” (Doctorow)

This quote from our readings seems to resonate with me the most. For when reflecting on my notes from last weeks time strolling around observing and interacting with my fellow students, I noticed a sense of timeless focus where each student was totally engaged in what they were doing in that here and now. Seeing the students forget about themselves, calendars, and clocks is a lively creative feeling.  So it really is cool we have been assigned a project that really requires some mindful work and tends to make time dissolve, which time dissapearing is splendid for the present moment is really what there is and all there is.

CST #4-Devin Bender

“The mind is to the brain as a computer program is to the hardware of the computer on which it runs.” (Malafouris pg. 26)


“We don’t care about what you did yesterday—we care about what you’re going to do tomorrow.” (Corey Doctorow)

After this weeks observations, I started to really pay witness to how the computer is an extension of our minds and imagination. It got me pondering where our evolution with technology might be leading us to some really connected collective omega point or something of the sort? A point where our technologies become so advanced and capable of processing such overloads of rich info that it causes our own evolution to make a mega change just to keep up with the complexity of our own creations. Also while pondering the dynamic between us I could help but feel that technologies evolution has been and can be such a force behind continuing to create a better globe. For technology is only dangerous in the hands of those who feel like alienated egos in a shell of skin and bones . For as the author/speaker terence mckenna once stated;“It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war, create paradise; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it’s not easy.”


Finnegans Wake-Devin Bender 10/20/14

How can I be a figure that helps connect people back with the sea, basic elements, and the unitive light of nature, and how can I spread the thrill of the art of surf while helping spread the understanding that it is such an aesthetic and energetic delight at the same time?  It took me quite a bit of brain storming and imagination exploring to finally come up with a novel and sustainable idea that I can create and work with especially in this world of already oh so much rubbish and trinkets. So one night while listening to the rain and packing some things for the next days venture to the ocean I took a moment to just sit and enjoy the rain drop like symphony going on outside and the rich air sweeping through my apartment, and in that timeless moment I started spacing off at my surfboard leaning up against the wall looking gorgeous and all, and then the idea came outta of nowhere right from left field and struck me and I knew just what I should create and work with for our programs mighty 3d printing project which I decided then was gonna be surfboard fins. Which is perfect because there is a whole wave of youth that are really starting to want to clean up the sea and appreciate surf as a source of wisdom and aesthetic glory. For the late Tim Leary once wrote “you could almost say surfers are outcast mutants, throw-aheads of the human race”(, January 1978)  The idea of a fin is also ideal for me personally because Ive surfed since childhood and its always been such a zen like omega experience of magical clarity and heightened sensations. When Im out surfing or sheerly just playing in the sea I swear its like overdoses of satisfaction.  So I look forward to being able to have the technology which will enable me to give back to the surfing community with sustainable, and artistic fins.

Basically I want to print three different types of fins all for dealing with different waters, primarliy big waves called thrusters, cold water fins, and hard drive fins. Also I’m using orcas, sharks, humpback whales, and dolphins all for inspiration as to how to shape the ultimate fin design, so far it seems like orcas have the ideally evolved fins to try and shape and replicate my designs to be like. Its important to me as well that the fins have an artistic quality and touch, I really would like to put the Japanese aesthetic symbol the enso on each fin or do a little hand brushed calligraphy or perhaps even come up with a cool lightning bolt logo or some fractal designs and abstractions of color.

The fin is a simple and fabulous shape, and although surf is for play I feel creating my own eco friendly fin technology is rather important and at least has meaning to me and Im sure there are others out there who would agree. For surfing is great in the sense that it is for play, for isn’t  life like a cosmic joke anyways? Its a positive that it counters seriousness as well as fear and takes you out of mind and ego dualistic rubbish which allows people to have a complete encounter with life’s mystery where they can forget calendars and clocks and come back to sheer consciousness not the movement of thought. Like when Im on a wave I can’t help but get that feeling of all is one and one is all and that my body is and instrument for the cosmos and my brain a great reciever. In those moments I feel intrinsically pure and electric as can be and wholly receptive taking in all the incoming data and stimuli, but more than that it gives me sensations of sheer wholesomeness with the inexplicable which is great for to know the always so is to be illuminated.  The next few weeks I have with this project I look forward to quite so for its going to involve a lot of my own personal study as I set to design the supreme fin and continue to gather information on orca and other marine life’s fin style. Its going to involve a lot of experimentation to master the craft, and Im going to have to experiment a lot with tinker cad as well with enso and calligraphy painting.

“Not to sound too deep or weird, but I think that the times when you really appreciate surfing are the times you’re really sort of becoming one with nature. Surfing’s as raw of a sport as it gets”.(

After surfing the internet trying to collect some info as to who else is doing a similar project,  all that  I was able to discover was just a handful of people who made attempts on thingiverse. Which I suppose is a misfortunate fortune for me, due to I won’t have many people to connect and learn from, but this also means there basically is a wide open market when it comes to 3d printed surfboard fins, so hopefully I can craft a novel design and style that I can share with others in which they can than create with there own printer and means, and hopefully one day will all be able to just 3d print and customize our own boards right from our casa.

“surfing is an aesthetic style of the liberated self, and thats the hopeful model of the future” (quote source unknown)

Week Three CST-Devin B

“Deciding what to make is always harder than making it.”

(Makers, Corey Doctorow, pg. 89)


This past week I seemed to notice there was a higher level of focus and inspiration in the lab than weeks prior as students were exploring the contents of the psyche for grand ideas to stick with for the quarter. You could feel waves of enthusiasm throughout the applications lab, and as I continued to stroll around and visited with students most seemed to be simply experimenting but also really were clicking with the software and had a good sense of the idea they want to bring from imagination to life. So hopefully our class will prove to be exemplars of how to mindfully use the technology by creating objects that are one creative and aesthetic but also are useful shareable and empowering.

Cultural Studies of Technology



Devin Bender



“You’ve got no business feeling poorly, young lady”, she said to herself. You are as well set up as you could have dreamed, and you are right in the thick of the weirdest and best time the world has yet seen”. pg. 17


You might wonder why I chose this quote or how it is relative to my observations from the field work done in the lab earlier this week, but I feel it was an excellent quote to share due to as I was chatting with fellow students and watching them gain new information and begin the printing process I couldn’t help but feel a sense of optimism for mine and future generations, for with good fresh new ideas and mindful use of technology to enrich and preserve wilderness the youth have a chance to be pioneers of a marvelous future on the globe. I mean you do have to admit if you step back and look we are very much so in the midst of a crucial dramatic interesting and mysterious age where yes there is plenty of evils and too much egoism but on the other hand there is also massive amounts of novel information towards existence and the cosmos from a plethora of genres from the sciences to art all while technology and change are accelerating at faster and faster rates pushing us to stages of more and more connectivity.