Behind Enemy Lines

November 25th, 2008 | Category: Marginalia

I just returned to Austin from San Diego, where I was head-deep in the world of five-gallon buckets, toolbelts, aluminum ladders, and drooling paint cans. Yes, construction. You see, my friend Josh Beagle and his partners Ray and Albert are starting a meat-curing business, and I spent the last several days helping them build out their new warehouse facility.

I don’t know all the specifics, but the work room of the facility will be kept at thirty-eight degrees and the curing room will be sixty-five degrees, with humidity control, and will eventually hold five tons of meat. As a long-time vegetarian, I felt like I was deep behind enemy lines.

Experiences like this make me realize more and more that I have an acute interest in processes. Not only creative processes, but also simply how one thing becomes another. It’s something I often tried to get at in many of my interviews, and something I’ve tried to explore with concepts, but it’s often something that must be observed or experienced somehow. Seeing all that goes into a meat-curing facility — equipment, control, space, people, time, etc. — made me think through many other processes, some of my own and some I’ve observed of others, in a new way. Proof once again that new angles on old problems often come from strange places.

I have long advocated breaking one’s routine in order to see things differently and find inspiration, and sometimes it can provide a whole new insight or perspective on the everyday.

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