What is tinkering?
From the Preface of Getting Started With Arduino by Massimo Banzi, I’ve spent a long time looking for an English word that would sum up that way of working without a specific plan, starting with one idea and ending up with a completely unexecpted result. Finally, ‘tinkering’ came along. I recognized how this word has been used in many other fields to describe a way of operating and to portray people who set out on a path of exploration. For example, the generation of French directors who gave birth to the ‘Nouvelle Vauge’ were called the ‘tinkerers.’
The best definition of tinkering that I’ve ever found comes from an exhibition held at the Exploratorium in San Francisco: “Tinkering is what happens when you try something you don’t quite know how to do, guided by a whim, imagination and curiosity. When you tinker, there are no instructions, but there are also no failures, no right or wrong ways of doing things. It’s about figuring out how things work and reworking them. Contraptions, machines, wildly mismatched objects working in harmony—this is the stuff of tinkering. Tinkering is, at its most basic, a process that marries play and inquiry.” For the wealth of knowledge it brings to this process, I love the library.
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