I immediately felt the potential explanatory power of the first description of a dynamo I came across: A dynamo consists of stationary magnets (stators) and rotating magnets (rotors). The rotating magnets spin with energy gleaned from sources like burning gasoline, wind turbines, hydroelectric dams, or batteries.
In an attempt to learn as much as I could about dynamos, I started ordering kits for building them. This video contains several kinds of dynamos I put together…a playful exploration that feeds into the Artistic Dynamos in Communities discussion that follows.
When applied to humans, a person converts the energy in his or her body to actions that communicate in particular ways. People draw on their communally-constructed, stable systems (like stationary magnetic fields) to craft malleable communicative acts germane to particular times and places (like rotating magnetic fields). When these actions result in meanings that resonate with a community’s conceptual, social, and physical infrastructures, sociocultural energy results. Taking the metaphor one intriguing step further, when artistry inheres a communicative act, the rotor spins faster, making even more energy. Researchers in sociophysics contend that social energy like this is not merely a metaphor, but actual physical energy that can be measured (Schweitzer 2018). I call these social machines Stable|Malleable Dynamos, or Artistic Communication Dynamos.
Would it be possible to estimate how much energy a particular artistic enactment contributes to a community’s vitality? Such a measure would include at least these parameters:
- Stable/Malleable frequency correspondence, resulting in social feedback resonance
Equations like these might help focus our thoughts: Joules – k = ½ mv2; Kinetic energy = .5 x mass x velocity; Potential energy (joules) = mass x acceleration due to gravity (9.8m/s2) x height. PEg
Implementation Science, Scalability, and Resonance
The young field of Implementation Science researches how to measure social program success and their capacity to scale up, i.e. be applied to different social contexts. They even talk about “voltage drops” when the spread of a seemingly good method falters. I think Stable|Malleable Dynamos describe elemental pieces of human interaction, such that they can be applied in any community; Implementation Science might help us identify the factors necessary to scale up.
- Al-Ubaydli, Omar, John List, and Dana Suskind. 2019. “The Science of Using Science: Towards an Understanding of the Threats to Scaling Experiments.” The Field Experiments Website.
- Schweitzer, Frank. 2018. “Sociophysics.” Physics Today 71:2. physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.3845.
- “The Field Experiments Website.” www.FieldExperiments.com
- Ubaydli, John List, Claire Mackevicius, Min Sok Lee, and Dana Suskind. 2019. “How Can Experiments Play a Greater Role in Public Policy? 12 Proposals from an Economic Model of Scaling,” Artefactual Field Experiments 00679.
- Wiseman, K.B. and A.D. Warner-Czyz. 2018. “Inconsistent Device Use in Pediatric Cochlear Implant Users: Prevalence and Risk Factors.” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29299970