A Scene Like Clockwork

I’ve been navigating complex thoughts and emotions about our DIY music community in light of much needed social shifts as we rout out long-standing injustices regarding status, power, and abuse on a national scale.  Vast concepts like safety, forgiveness, retribution, and sustainability have swirled through conversations and personal reflections.

A concept from my professional career has offered thought-provoking insight in the form of an unintentional analogy.  As an engineer that works in and around manufacturing facilities, I see a lot of machines day in and day out. The bare-bones idea of a machine is to transmit a force or direct its application. Usually this takes place through a careful gathering and placing of different components like in a clock, or reel-to-reel tape machine, or 6-axis custom built German CNC machining center.  Some machines operate with high-efficiency and beautifully smooth repetitive motion while others drag along creating unnecessary noise and heat. In either case, each component of the machine is placed intentionally for a specific purpose, which it surely could not achieve if it were not for the existence and placement of those other parts that work in conjunction with each other.  Each part supports and amplifies the effort of the other parts of the assembly.

From time to time these machines cause injury. Parts that cause harm are removed,  evaluated, sometimes repaired, sometimes discarded, sometimes redesigned and re-implemented.  Long-term health of a machine requires a dedication to constant improvement through proactive and reactive changes.  Consider design changes that have taken place with car machines over the years. Some parts look like and function the way they have for many years, like a steering wheel, while other parts have changed over the years and look nothing like they did in previous iterations.  All for the sake of safety and efficiency while directing the effort of its individual parts into an incredible unified accomplishment.

I won’t attempt to force any specific conclusions from this analogy, but I hope it provides a tool of thought for those also navigating these issues.