Opposable Thumbs Episode 5: Huong Ngo / I Don’t Care You Pick

Opposable Thumbs is a podcast where Rob Ray and I solve a different design challenge every two weeks. Each episode features a guest with a different creative background, and each guest picks the challenge for the next episode. You can listen to all of our episodes here.

I really wrestled with the episode 5 challenge: I Don’t Care, You Pick. My first impulse was to move away from coding, given that I’ve gone that route for each of the last four Opposable Thumbs projects. With this prohibition in mind, I set about reworking Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies into a set of more applied/practical suggestions like:

  1. Try to end the day on a solution rather than a problem.
  2. If you think something might be hot, test it with the back of your hand rather than your palm.
  3. If you have a good idea, it’s probably already been done. This is no reason not to move forward.

I liked where that was starting to go, but I still felt unsatisfied. After all, where were the things? At the last moment, I switched gears and converted an old CNC pen mount into an etching needle attachment. I unearthed an old Processing sketch that made semi-random visuals, then scratched the output of this code into a copper plate with the mill. With help from the excellent staff in the Columbia College print shop (thanks Megan/Chris), I pulled the image above.

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