Making Meaning Matter

The Evergreen State College

Author: solyar14

CST Bonus

“The theoretical power of MET lies precisely in providing a new means of studying the complex nature of interactions between the internal and the external resources of human cognition as well as the role of cultural practices in the orchestration of human cognitive processes.” (Malafouris, 38)

“Is this the (apparently inescapable) cutthroat/back stab/patent-that-shit aspect of this new technology an extension of the individuals’ mind, a reflection of the system in which it operates, or a sort of combination?” (Zev)

Through my observations, and through many class discussions, it seems to me like when we engage with technology we inhabit the machine, and the machine inhabits us. In a sense technology is a reflection of human consciousness developing and evolving as a whole. Right now we are evolving so quickly that we have trouble comprehending and thus, “humanity’s creations had evolved past their inventors.” (Doctorow, 102). I observed how quickly a group of students were able to grasp new software’s, and I think that that in itself shows how our brains through time have become programmed by our programming.

“This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium -that is of any extension of ourselves-result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.” -Marshall McLuhan (Steph’s paper)







Yarden’s Sh-sh-shrine

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Print time: 7hrs

I wanted to create a something that reminds us of our connection with the earth,  and that provides inspiration for an energetic practice like meditation, yoga, etc. My initial idea was to create terrariums, which brings nature into the home, but I wanted to take it further in the energetic practice aspect. After much thought and meditation, I realized what I wanted to create was a shrine. Shrines are  fascinating to me because they are an ancient symbol, and these symbols are some of the most sacred material things in existence to many people today.

Shrines are interesting because usually in shrines contain Gods, or Goddesses, or symbols to bow down to or worship. I wanted to create a shrine that simply reminds us of our connection with earth, and that emanates positive vibrations to inspire energy practice. In the lap of the figure, I will place some natural materials, like plants, or crystals, o maybe even a candle.

I have not printed it yet, but hope it will turn out beautiful!

Yarden CST wk 9

“Hence, with nanotechnology, matter has become programmable only to the extent that nano systems actualize new atomic functions whose future potentials are unpredictable because their movement and position in space cannot be anticipated and thus measured a priori.” (Niet Normaal Foundation, 157)

The article Synthetic Nature, A Nanotechnological Future, from  Yes Naturally opened my eyes to the idea of matter, and  the relationship between natural and synthetic matter. Through time and evolution it seems that our beliefs around matter has changed and become something completely tangible.  People have tapped into the atomic world and now are manipulating it, and in a sense a playing a prime creator. I see how humans are a part of the earths evolution, and how there is nothing unnatural about the way the evolution occurs, but I can’t help but feel discomfort at the idea of a synthetic future. Because we are a part of evolution, does that make our chaos and corruption acceptable? There are many visions of the future that have potential to manifest, but which ones do we really want to see happen?

Are we treating ourselves like the machine we create? Are we programming ourselves?

Practice Iteration: Title Here

anoushka shankar


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WhAt HaPpEnEd nExT:

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Hindi Sufi Shrine, India
connecting with higher self
terrarium hanging
Image I captured in a mini temple in Laos.

My photo of the forest.

My photo of the forest.

Yarden’s BR Image Exploration


My photo of the forest.

My photo of the forest.

How can I help connect myself and people with the earth and our energetic selves?


In my project I want to explore ways of connecting myself and others with the earth around, while exploring and connecting with our inner nature. I think humanity would benefit from re-connecting with the earth, and I think the first step is to re-connect with ourselves and learn how to explore our own energetic pathways. We are a piece of the earth and one with the earth, so we can understand everything about earth by re-discovering ourselves.  The challenge for me was creating something material and physical, as most energetic practices are non material in essence. As I progressed and peeled away at my ideas, I found that what I am making is a shrine. A shrine creates a space to bring our attention to, and holds the energy of any intention we project. It can be used for any purpose, and my purpose is to create a meditation space where I can practice that is growing some plants that I can tend and nurture, as I nurture my own body and mind.


All over the world people create shrines, and in many places the objects in shrines are the most valued and respected. I want to move the vital objects in shrines away from material, and back to earth. For my shrine, I wanted to create a whole little ecosystem of plants, earth and water to be my points of value, while the case will be material. Here are a few glimpses into shrines from around the world.

Here is a christian shrine taken in Mexico.

Here is a christian shrine taken in Mexico.


Tham Phra Nang, Fertility Cave, Krabi, Thailand

Tham Phra Nang, Fertility Cave, Krabi, Thailand


Hindi Sufi Shrine, India

Hindi Sufi Shrine, India

Steve Jobs Tears and tributes around the world as Apples legions of fans mark the death of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs Tears and tributes around the world as Apples legions of fans mark the death of Steve Jobs


Image I captured in Thailand of the famous white temple

Image I captured in Thailand of the famous White Temple, Thailand

Image I captured in a mini temple in Laos.

Image I captured in a mini temple in Laos.


After exploring shrines around the world, I decided to explore in the woods and take photos of plants I may want to add to my shrine. These are some photos I took and developed myself.








While frolicking in the woods taking photos, I decided to call my mom and ask her for photo taking advice. She used to work as a professional photographer and film developer. She suggested treating each photo as a gem, and instead of taking photo after photo quickly, take time and care for each photo and kind of pretend to be using film. She explained that when you paint or draw, you start with a blank canvas and create from there. When you take photos, you start with a full canvas, and are creating by extracting. While talking to her I found a spot where it looked like someone had created a little shrine awhile ago, and not to far away from the shrine I found some burned our candles. I decided to re-make this little shrine and take some photos of it.

Here is the shrine how I found it.

Here is the shrine how I found it.


Here is the shrine when I added some leaves, pine cones, and my amethyst.

Here is the shrine when I added some leaves, pine cones, and my amethyst.


For the shell of my shrine, I will 3d print myself seated in meditation posture, and in the lap of the figure the plants will be growing. Instead of my head, I will place the head of the Buddha, but have his head 2 faced, looking forward and back. Here is the Buddha I extracted from thingiverse, and also the 2 headed Buddha that I will glue together.

3d print of Buddha head

3d print of Buddha head


The image focus of the project helped me visualize and make my idea more concrete. It also helped me gain experience in photographing, light room and digitally developing photos. I feel more connected to my project, as we discover and explore different pathways to experiencing our projects.



















CST post week 8


“Human animals like watching non human animals.” (Foundation, 165)

“From the first cities onward, urbanization has been accompanied by processes of catching  and containing animals, both physically and metaphorically, within realms dominated by humans.” (Foundation, 166)


How/ why are we  as a race creating boundaries and disconnecting ourselves from each other and the earth?

Throughout the class I have noticed how humans have in time have disconnected themselves from the earth and with others. We keep building walls and segregating ourselves with religion, race, countries, cities, etc. We separate ourselves from plants and animals, and separate ourselves from our food, our water, our clothes, and almost everything we own and use. The thing that it seems we have been connecting to is technology, and integrating technology into our homes, and into our personal lives more and more. In a sense technology has the potential to help bridge this gap and reconnect us with each other and with the earth in a beneficial and positive way. I think for this to happen we need a intentional global conscious change.


CST Week 7

Yarden Solomon

“The task is not to understand how the body contains the mind, but to understand how the body shapes the mind.” (Malafouris, 60)

“Sometimes he grunted or scatted along with his playing but more often he grunted out something that was kind of the opposite of what he was playing, just like sometimes the melody and rhythms he played on the piano were sometimes the opposite of the song he was playing, something that was exactly and perfectly opposite, so you couldn’t hear it without hearing the thing it was opposite of.” (Doctorow, 172-173)

Throughout these weeks, I’ve been noticing a duality in the world. The duality in body and mind, material and conceptual,,light and dark, moon and sun, male and female, positive and negative and so on. It also seems like many of the questions we work with understanding have more then one answer and take many perspectives to grasp. In my mind, I imagine this concept as a shadow. When light is cast on to any material object, in it somewhere contains a shadow. We could apply this concept to everything, and notice that for everything there is an opposite thing,a counteractive, a shadow.


Yarden Blue Rabbit 2: Bringing Spaces of Peace

How can I help connect people with their higher selves through meditation, yoga, and/or any kind of spiritual practice? 

connecting with higher self


 I envision a peaceful world where people are happy, healthy, and and in harmony with themselves and others. I believe that human consciousness can be restored to a more positive, loving vibration by connecting us to our higher selves, and higher ways of being. We are already masters of our universe, we already have the full potential to be great people and live in peace, but  most of us get caught in some of the many negative and destructive forces in our environment around us. There is many healing paths to take that will significantly benefit ourselves and the greater good of our universe, but I believe some paths are more powerful and easier to access than others. In my life, I have experimented with some of these spiritual pathways, (paganism, wicca, buddhism, taoism, hinduism, vipassana, TM and various yogic techniques and styles) and found them all profound in different lights. But, one aspect that all of these practices shared was an emphasis on meditation. I believe a meditation practice  is key to improving one’s way of living, and is key to enlightening the masses.  This practice can occur in endless shapes and forms, and the type of meditation I am referring to is non-religious. Here is an example of a well-thought out description of meditation that I am referring to.


“As for modern developments, in trying to formulate a definition of meditation, a useful rule of
thumb is to consider all meditative techniques to be culturally embedded. This means that any
specific technique cannot be understood unless it is considered in the context of some particular
spiritual tradition, situated in a specific historical time period, or codified in a specific text
according to the philosophy of some particular individual.” (Taylor, 1)

When asked the question, “In a world of so much stuff, what idea is worth making?” I realized that when you make something, you are really spreading it out beyond yourself, and out into the world. When ideas become material, it is immediately easier for people to access and share. I want to spread and share my passion for meditation and yoga, and help people create a space in their homes where they can feel connected to their higher selves and practice their meditation.  Thus, I want to make a geodesic shrine.


geodesic terrarium


The concept of shrine is embedded in many religious and non-religious communities globally. Shrines are ancient spaces of worship, prayer, and self-discipline, that are in temples, monasteries, and homes of people. Shrines symbolize the higher self, Gods or Goddesses, and connect people with something that is important to them and their community. In the eastern world, shrines are still heavily a part of people homes and culture. In Thailand, people build spirit houses in their homes, businesses, and even parks and sites, where they place food and water in respect for the spirits that live there before and now, and for the Buddha. In the Mongolia section of the Material World, the most valued possessions were the “TV (Father), Statue of Buddha inherited from grandfather (Mother).” (Menzel, 45). In the India section of the Material World, the most valued possessions were the, “Print of Hindu gods seen in Big Picture (Father), Sculptures of gods and goddesses of power and strength, who will protect family and home.” (Menzel, 71). In the Bhutan section of the Material World, the most valued possessions were, “Religious book (Father, Mother, 1st daughter)” (Menzel, 78) These are just mere insights into how important these shrine spaces are, and how strong these spaces are in culture. I find it interesting how in the West we have somewhat lost creating these spaces within our homes, and only seek these spaces in the form of churches, temples, or natural settings. Creating a sacred space within our homes, can also help create a sacred space within ourselves. 

christian shrine

christian shrine

shrines jpan

japanese shrine

shrine india

indian shrine

Thai shrine

thai shrine

shrine buddha

buddhist shrines

People in the West are becoming more and more interested in meditation, and scientists alike are interested in its effects. I stumbled upon an article that expands on the role and history of meditation in the West. “Meanwhile, the popular revolution in modern culture grounded in spirituality and consciousness is having a growing impact on traditional institutions such as medicine, religion, mental health, corporate management strategies, concepts of marriage, child rearing, and the family, and more.” (Taylor, 6) There are numerous studies on the benefits of meditation, and numerous meditators who spent their lives spreading this practice. Science is a useful tool to understand things, and it is amazing how we can “prove” experiences to be “real” in a scientific manner. Science is a language in itself that helps us communicate to the world. In the article is a summary of studies done on TM meditation and its effects:

      ” Studies then began to show effects when TM was applied to medical conditions such as asthma, angina, and high blood pressure. Personality variables became a focus of research. These included measures of intellectual problem-solving ability, thinking and recall, creativity, field independence, sense of self-esteem, and self-actualization. Researchers then moved into applied social situations, looking at the effects of teaching TM to the police, the military, and such populations as juvenile offenders, incarcerated adults, high school students, and athletes, as well as managers in the corporate environment. Meanwhile, more subtle biochemical measures of blood chemistry were also undertaken. These included endocrine levels, effects on neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin, and the measurement of altered cell metabolism. TM was also examined in the context of various psychiatric disorders.” (Taylor, 10)


S.N. Goenka is one of the best modern day examples of a person who created meditation spaces and made it accessible. He created centers all over the world that teach a variety of Vipassana meditation courses. The centres are run completely volunteer based, and all of the courses are paid strictly by donation, after the course is complete. I attended one of his 10 day courses, and found it astonishing how many people were given access to this knowledge that would have not been to otherwise. “If we are to benefit from the truth, we have to experience it directly. Only then can we know that it is really true.”  (William, 15) He says that we must find our own truths and experience them to gain knowledge, and I want to help people create spaces where that is possible.

I want to create my own shrine that is a type of terrarium. I want the shell to be a 3d printed geodesic dome, because the sacred geometry behind the domes are striking, and they are one of the most environmentally sound structures. R. Buckminster Fuller was the strongest innovator of geodesic domes, and on his website he states, “The spherical structure of a dome is one of the most efficient interior atmospheres for human dwellings because air and energy are allowed to circulate without obstruction.” (Buckminster Fuller Institute).

     In my shrine, I want there to be plants to represent the growing and nurturing of myself and the world, and I want to be able to tend my shrine and there to literally be life inside of it. Instead of Gods, Goddesses, symbols, words, or pictures, I want to bring the attention back to mother earth, and the life around us now. There are is an epidemic of urban gardens, and people wanting local food supplies and farms, and I feel in myself to bring the garden home. “Results suggest that community gardens were perceived by gardeners to provide numerous health benefits, including improved access to food, improved nutrition, increased physical activity and improved mental health.” (Growing Urban Health: Community Gardening in South-East Toronto) 

Asking myself again and again what I want to create in the 3d printer, led me to questioning what I want to create in this world. Researching others and how they created spaces for meditation practice, and seeing through my travels how these spaces were valued made my intention concrete. I started with wanting to create a terrarium, and now I want that terrarium to be a shrine in my home, and I want to inspire people to create sacred spaces for themselves.



Murphy, Michael, Steven Donovan, and Eugene Taylor. “The physical and psychological effects of meditation: A review of contemporary research.”Published by the Institute of Noetic Sciences (1997).

Menzel, Peter, and Charles C. Mann. Material World: A Global Family Portrait. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1994. Print.

Hart, William. The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987. Print.

“About Fuller.” Geodesic Domes. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2014.

Wakefield, Sarah, et al. “Growing urban health: community gardening in South-East Toronto.” Health promotion international 22.2 (2007): 92-101.





Yarden CST post week 6

Yarden Solomon

(Kettlwell and Suzanne)

“God I miss it,” he said. “Oh, Suzanne, God, I miss it so much, every day.

Her face fell, too. “Yeah.” She looked away. “I really thought we are changing the world.”

“We were,” he said. “We did.”

“Yeah,” she said again. “But it didn’t matter in the end, did it?” (Doctorow, 169) In this world of constant innovation, do the innovations in the end matter? We want to create, but is it about the end product, or about the creation process itself? In this class, we are spending most of our time on the process of discovering our project and what that means to us, and learning the journeys others took to reach their destination. In Makers, one of the intentions Doctorow may have had in failing Perry and Lester’s project,  is showing that we grow most from the journey, and it is the journey that matters more then the end, material product.

Yarden CST wk 5

Yarden Solomon, CST post week 5!

‘”…I think everyone’s waiting for the next big thing.”

“You think?”

This week in our maker space there was a much more active and positive energy. People were 3d printing excitedly, I noticed  huge transformation in projects and ideas, and a new found confidence and optimism. It’s interesting how creating things gives us a strong sense of purpose and makes our lives more meaningful. People find such an importance in innovating and creating that they often feel “useless” without it. I wonder if this is something that is taught to us, or if animals and plants also have this inner drive to create and make.

“Perry, New Work is the most important thing that ever happened to some of those people. It was the high point of their lives. It was the only time they ever felt useful.”‘




Blue Rabbit Project: Making Mini Worlds


How can I make people feel more connected with the earth, with creativity, and with themselves in an easy, practical, and sustainable way? 


In a world of so much stuff, what idea is worth making in a 3D printer? This question threw my mind into loops and holes and took me into a new world of thought. I jumped around and toyed with many ideas, but I knew I wanted to create something that reminded people, or helped people realize their connection with nature, their connection with themselves as energetic beings, and connection with each other. I want to demonstrate in a beautiful way how we have moved into a makers world instead of a growing world, and how we need to balance our creations and our earths creations. Somehow, in the midst of a walking meditation in the woods with David Loy, I arrived at my idea, making terrariums. 

Hanging terrariums

Terrarium in a Light Bulb

terrarium mushroom terrarium little world terrarium pentagonal 

  In a world of so much stuff, I think art should always be created, especially sustainable art. When I look into a terrarium, I look into a little world, similar to a snow globe, and feel myself a creator of the world, but also know that the plants are growing themselves and that I can only seed or transplant them, but I cannot physically create them. In my project, I want to create a series of three different terrariums; The first terrarium will be completely filled with plants and pieces from the earth, to shape a romantic natural setting. The second will be a mix of earth objects and 3D printed objects, to form a setting that we are more terrarium roundaccustomed too; the mix of plants and our man made objects. The third will be a terrarium of entirely 3D printed objects, creating an artificial and hopefully futuristic scene. Looking at the sequence of the three terrariums, I am hoping the audience will experience the beauty of the natural world and the man made world, and see we must stay in the middle terrarium, where balance between us and nature is present. 


  Terrariums are a practical, easy way to bring plants into our homes with very little maintenance. The more people are able to work with the earth and connect with the growing nature of plants, the more they are able connect with the growing nature within themselves and within the earth. With a terrarium, you don’t need a garden, or a certain climate, or in the case of air plants, you don’t even need soil. For the basic terrarium all you need is a container of any size, soil (except for air plants), plants, water, and a spot near some sunlight, and boom! You have a little ecosystem growing! In some cases, people even put lizards or small animals in their terrariums.


  The way I am going to construct my terrariums  is by 3D printing the outside container, adding the soil and plants, and then 3D printing the objects inside. The first won’t have any 3D objects inside, but the container will be 3D printed. The second will have plants and 3D printed objects inside, and the third will be completely filled completely 3D printed objects atop soil. The great thing about terrariums is you can make them entirely out of found objects, but the 3D printer allows much more freedom and creativity for this project. I have not fully decided upon the exact scenes I want to portray in each terrarium, but I going to allow that to grow through practicing what I could actually make in the 3D printers. 


 Rudolf Steiner said. “Art is one of the healthiest, most direct ways to arm and strengthen ourselves against the harmful influences of modern life.” (Art as Seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom. Lecture)  In the book The Secret Life of Plants, Peter Tomkin says, “The true matrix of human life is the greensward covering mother earth. Without green plants we would neither breathe nor eat.” (Tomkins, Intro viii) Scientists, philosophers, shamans, healers, and many more people agree that working with the land in any way increases healthier lifestyles, but not everyone has the time or space to work with, or even be near the land. For centuries people have seen art and creativity as a way to develop and heal, but not everyone has time or access to the arts. Terrariums are an easy way to blend gardening and art together, and can be done sustainably using recycled materials. While researching my project I found a Meditation and Ecology Center in Richmond, BC that is, “dedicated to inner and outer peace through meditation and to caring for our internal and external environments.” ( They are a multi faith organization that helps people better themselves through meditation and gardening. Their leader, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, has a poem on their website that described what I want my project to bring for me; a practice of meditation and transformation, while representing my idea in an artistic fashion. I want to show people an easy, practical, sustainable way they can incorporate this into their homes.


Ecology of the Soul


“There is a perfect balance in nature. Our
world, our environment, and nature itself form a
living interdependent system.

The perfect balance of nature which has
maintained life on our planet for millions of years
is being threatened by the very technology that
has transformed the world.

Concern for ecology has become one of the
main preoccupations of the world. Through the
simple process of meditation, we can bring peace
and ecological balance, not only to ourselves,
but to the whole planet.
It is my dream to bring about this harmony
on our earth.”

–Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj


  • Website Title: Meditation & Ecology Centre
  • Article Title: Science of Spirituality
  • Date Accessed: October 19, 2014


Tompkins, Peter, and Christopher Bird. The Secret Life of Plants. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. Print.

Steiner, Rudolf. “Art as Seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom.” Switzerland, Dornach. 14 Dec. 1914. Lecture.







3D Doodling

alex grey creating“Standing there amid the whirl and racket and undulating motion of the jungle gym as it reconfigured itself, she felt like she’d arrived at some posthuman future where the world no longer needed her or her kind. Like humanity’s creations had evolved past their inventors.” (Doctorow. 102)

This week what struck me was the strive for perfection in the makers.  As people tinkered away they struggled with the translation of the perfect image in their mind to the software. It seems that humans have always strived for perfection and improvement in their world, and this strive is one drive that causes humans to make. Making anything in a sense is a strive for perfection, or the perfection perceived in the minds eye. Everyone has different ideas of what perfection is, but in the world of technology, it seems to me that we are getting rapidly more advanced and thus closer and closer to technological perfection. I wonder if in our time humanity will create something that can surpass the perfection of of humanity itself.




Broadening Mind, Broadening Material.

‘”OK, that’s really cool, but I have to ask the boring question, Perry. Why? Why build a toast robot?”‘… “What I’ve got here are my own constraints. I’m challenging myself, using found objects and making stuff that throws all this computational capacity at, you know, these trivial  problems, like car-driving Elmo clusters and seashell toaster-robots. We have so much capacity that the trivia expands to fill.”‘

Observing what the makers of class were inventing on tinkercad was a bit like stepping into someone’s mind. Never before have I experienced a way to express  a 3D construction so literally as tinkercad allows. The fact that I could imagine  an object, and within minutes have the object represented in front of me with  exact precision blew my mind, and I could sense an excitement and playfulness  around the room. I saw people creating coins that somehow reflected  themselves, like using favorite symbols or numbers, but a question that surfaced  in discussion with the makers of the class and in Makers, is that question why  we create. Why do we put our minds, or ourselfves  into material objects. One  answer that we arrived through discussion, is humans innately want to improve themselves and the world around them by challenging themselves and exploring where the limitations of
the mind and the material may be.