Tags: evolution project

8 May 2007, Comments Off on It’s not the Tragedy of the Commons, it’s only Lego

It’s not the Tragedy of the Commons, it’s only Lego

Author: Helen

I took two little boys to the National Gallery on Anzac day, where Olafur Eliasson’s cubic structural evolution project 2004 was on show. In case you think that’s a serious sounding exhibit to take little boys to, it’s a travelling Lego city, which just keeps getting bigger… and bigger… and bigger, as it travels the world. To a little kid, it’s just more Lego than they’ve ever seen in their little lives. And they get to build some of it.
Image from http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/olafureliasson/
It’s extremely beautiful.

Here’s how it works. The kids wait to get to the lego. They have kid herders to let them through, a few at a time, and tell them when their time’s up. Here’s why it works. The grownups are the boss of the kids. The kids know there are rules. No one kid, or group of kids, is allowed to monopolise. Otherwise, their mum or dad has to take them out. End of story.
Image from http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/olafureliasson/
Apparently, for one school in the US, far from our brutal ways, it was all too hard. It’s the subject of a fascinating Lego post on Troppo. The commenters, like me, all disagree with the way the teachers handled the Great Lego Social Experiment, but for different reasons. Lego fans, go over there and read the whole thing.

A genteel old man who’d evidently been up since dawn at the Shrine, complete with tweed jacket and camel trousers, stood for ages gazing at the lego city. It’s never too late to channel your inner little boy.